Sunday, November 20, 2011

Ben Franklin Owes Me

When I was in the 4th grade, I checked out Ben Franklin's autobiography from the Calvert City Elementary School library.  I was fascinated by Franklin for many reasons, not the least of which being that he was a printer, and that always caught my imagination for some reason.  Now, in the age of word processing and desktop publishing, it might not seem as cool to kids as it did to me, then.

But, then again, it might not ever have seemed as cool to other kids as it did to me...

Anyway, at one point in his tale of growing up, old Ben tells a tale of  crossing a pond by flying a kite, then getting in the water and letting the kite pull him to the other side of the pond.  (Yes, Ben Franklin invented kite-boarding...minus the board.)  Now, I'm no swimmer, but I do love to ride a bike.

So, I decided that it would be very Franklin-cool to launch a kite, attach it to my bike, and cruise along like Bronson on his Sportster.

I waited for weeks, watching for a day when the wind was strong enough to pull me along.  At last, the day arrived.  It was March, in West Kentucky.  Basketball was in the air (as it always is, in Wes K-Y), but so was a strong west wind, howling along at about 25 mph and gusting even higher.

I got my bike and my kite, and headed for a straight stretch of road near the Country Club.  I got the kite in the air, made sure the string was pulling tight, and attached it to the stem of Big Red.

Then...nothing.  I sat on my bike, with the kite straining against the string, totally motionless. 

I'm supposing that, if you had a kite with about 100 square feet of surface area, it might pull your bike along.  But, my Batman and Robin paper kite from Ben Franklin's just didn't cut it.

Franklin, you owe me.  Next time, put a better description of your kite in the book, dammit!



  1. And a better kite in your "Ben Franklin" stores!
    I love those childhood biographies of famous men, but don't remember my kids reading them - they must be out of fashion with the education crowd now.

  2. one of the guys I used to work with liked doing kite-boarding...and really just kite stuff in general. I always joked that when his wife got mad, she'd just be like "oh, just go fly a kite, why don't you?!" and he would.


As always, sorry about the word verification. It's a necessary evil, unfortunately.