The Salad: “This idea is stupid, it won’t work.”
Me: “It will work…you’re just a fat-ass.”
Looking back on it, it would probably be the only time that the Salad was right. It was a stupid idea.
But it was not as if he was fraught with a litany of amazing intellectual insights himself. From the shenanigans with the bulletproof vest to the incident where the burn imprint of his ass permanently scarred the seat of one of the go-karts, mayhem tended to follow the Salad everywhere he went.
In a way, the surfing incident was the culmination of a long journey of increased stupidity that all of us had descended upon there at the Houston Grand Prix go-kart track.
It had started when we found the abandoned shopping cart and then decided that we should use a chain to attach it to the four wheeler. I remember going for a “test drive” in this contraption as Ronnie the Fist gunned the four wheeler up a hill by the back track. The shopping cart did not take the hill with the same grace as the machine and instead projectile vomited me up into the air with the greatest of unease. Remarkably, I walked away from this unscathed.
The other fellas took their turns in this contraption, but the shopping cart continued to degrade with each passing round. It met its demise when poor Nugget took a run in it; the back completely falling apart, ejecting the man out behind mostly, and dragging him along the grass. The road burn he got from this was almost unfathomable.
The shopping cart was, for the most part, annihilated. We were able to salvage the bottom part of it, basically just the four wheels held together by the lower portion of the cart where shoppers, during happier times in the carts life, probably stored water or paper towels. It was just big enough for someone to sit in.
And if you were going to sit in this thing you might was well be pulled behind a go-kart like some kind of jet-ski from hell.
The Salad took a turn around the quarter mile in this manner without incident. The cart, however, did not survive my attempts to force Salad up onto the concrete side railing in the pit like some kind of Evil Kanevil knock off. I remember being unimpressed with its design. How did they expect places like Food Fair and Dollar General to make a living when their shopping carts could not even survive a 30mph jaunt around a track. It was sad.
I think it was Ronnie the Fist that came up with the final design.
A large piece of wood was to be outfitted with sled handles and tied to the go-kart like a sled. Ronnie had constructed the sled in the shop and presented it to us. We all thought it looked like an outstanding idea and could not wait to try it out.
The original plan was that The Salad would attempt to surf the track while I drove the go-kart.
We got everything ready by the pit on the quarter mile track. The Salad was in position on the sled and I had the car fired up and ready to roll. I got in and eased the gas pedal down. Nothing happened. We lurched forward maybe an inch or two at most. It was very anticlimactic.
The Salad and I began to argue. He was convinced that the plan was retarded and that it would never work in a million years. I was totally convinced that he was a fat son of a bitch and that the go-kart would need a larger motor to drag his ass around the quarter mile.
Refusing to concede that he might actually be right, I suggested that we switch positions.
He thought that sounded reasonable and so I climbed aboard the sled and he hopped in the go-kart. To ensure success, The Fist pulled up in another car and gave Salad a push. With a smug feeling of satisfaction, I gave a thumbs up as the sled began to move behind the car and pick up speed.
I was right. Salad was a fat-ass. The idea worked.
Sadly, The Salad was also right. This was the dumbest fucking idea known to man.
To be honest, the first three turns of the quarter mile was actually pretty damn fun. I even managed to somehow navigate the “S” curve on the sled. It was the final straightaway that everything went south.
I’m not sure if the Salad disabled the governor and got the go-kart up to a higher rate of speed where the turns could no longer be navigated or if the rope just could not take any more abuse and broke. I guess it does not really matter at this point.
The go-kart track is asphalt like a regular road. The side rails are pieces of steel that have been bolted to tires.
At the magic moment, the sled could no longer be turned for one reason or another. The speed had picked up enough where I had ended up on my knees on the wooden plank, holding onto the handles that Ronnie the Fist had created. I was beginning to become concerned.
The board went directly into the sidewall of the track. It went right under the tires and steel railing. Of course I was too big to do that so I just smashed right into it. Fortunately for me, I was able to absorb the impact with my face and wrist.
The Fist had pulled ahead of the Salad and me and had turned around just in time to watch it go down. I went into the railing face first, one of the tire bolts puncturing my forehead and shattering my left wrist. The impact threw me straight up in the air where I spun around and somehow ended up on my back on the track.
It was so horrendous that as he ran over to me, he was sure that I was probably dead. He told me later that the whole thing gave him nightmares. It sounded pretty heinous. I’m so bummed nobody got this shit on video.
I have no memory of the impact. I do remember flying through the air after the initial hit. I really did not think I was going to survive this, but as I was still lost in grief over the death of my daughter, I was just fine with that. I remember completely relaxing and looking kind of forward to seeing my little girl again.
That is most likely why I am still with you today. When I crashed down to the ground, I was so relaxed that I just rag dolled around and did not break my neck.
By the time The Fist had reached me I had completed taking inventory of just how fucked I was. I was pretty fucked. I knew my wrist was toast. I suggested that one of them take me to the hospital.
We got to the hospital, and of course my head is just pouring blood from the big hole in my skull. I ran up to the counter and leaned over it and said in my old man voice “I think I might need to see the doctor.” The nurse did not find this as amusing as I did.
Later on the doctors would marvel at how interesting it was that I did not get paralyzed or killed. They told me that they would have stitched the hole in my head except that there was nothing to stitch it to. Instead I got a referral to an orthopedic surgeon.
On my 30th birthday I got a brand new titanium plate placed in my wrist. It is amazing that I can still play bass, though sometimes it can get a little sore. I had a big bandage on my head on which I would write cool motivating phrases like “Show me your tits” or “Need Painkillers.”
I still played gigs like this too. I would just reach over the neck of the bass and use two fingers to handle all the frets. It looked pretty dumb, but hey, the music does not stop just because the musician is an idiot.
The whole track surfing incident was a big wake up call for me. I learned that I was not twenty years old anymore. Coming so close to no longer being able to play my instrument was an eye opening experience as well. My days of daredevil dumbassary were over.
It still is just so hard to admit that the Salad was right….sigh.
At least I learned an important life lesson: Don’t surf a go-kart track on a piece of wood tied to a go-kart.
It’s OK to make mistakes if you learn from them, right?