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Wellsville, Ohio - January 29, 2005

ďIf you keep telling someone not to do something and they keep doing it-thatís brain damage.Ē -Bill Cosby

Iím sure youíve seen or heard that line from Cosbyís description of his children. He keeps setting his drink down and his child keeps grabbing it. He takes the drink from the child, tells him not to grab it, makes the child repeat the instructions, turns around and the child grabs it again. Brain damage. Adults can have brain damage too. In fact, it seems common.

For instance: buy a brand new Ranger, take off the exhaust so itís loud as Ďell. Then put on big tires, a body lift, a locker-and mess with the engine computer-heck with the warranty, and take it four wheeling. Brain damage, right?

Or high center your truck, refuse help and pound the throttle until the front end breaks. Then spend the rest of the day in two-wheel-drive cursing the world whenever you get stuck-all the while compensating for the loss of the front axle with copious application of the throttle. And you have to drive hundreds of miles to get home before Monday morning. Yep, brain damage.

And how about this one: Go four-wheeling with one arm in a cast, a broken collar bone and a sprained foot. Not only that, but your buddy also has one arm in a sling and for kicks you have a gladiator-style climbing contest on an icy hill with a drop-off on one side. In the end, one truck smokes its engine and the other scatters a hub. The diagnoses? Brain damage.

Or try this for size: you get your hands on a beautiful, roadworthy Jeep Grand Cherokee with all the fixings. Mind you, you just got out of a softly lifted Bronco II that would kill you in a giant fireball if you took your attention off of driving for even a blink. So you take this Cherokee and throw the street tires away and put on some Swampers. But wait, they rub. So you pull your truck up to the entrance of a nice hotel (they have an outside outlet there) and whip out the angle grinder. While everyone shields their eyes from the sparks and horror, you make some generous holes in the sheet metal for the Swampers to clear. Then, yes, you spend the next day trying to kill the Jeep with no display of concern for the hundreds of miles of distance between the gully you are trying to get stuck in and your apartment in Jersey City. What do you call that if it isnít a crystal-clear case of brain damage?

Or here is a good one: in spite of all the trouble we had last year at the Snowball, and despite all of the warnings and recommendations about equipment-you show up with stoic indifference in a totally stock Bronco II with snow tires on it. Lockers? None. Lift? None. Big mud tires? None. Winch? None. Brain damage? Obviously.

And, here is another guy that needs his truck to get to work. So what better to do with your daily bread-getter than to drive it to Wellsville and beat the dust out of it! Sure, heís got snow chains on those bald all-seasons, and sure heís got the rear differential welded up, but he sure isnít driving it like he needs it. Belly flopping onto rocks and floating the valves on hill climbs isnít exactly conducive to driving it to work Monday morning. In fact, the transmission went belly up as soon as he got it home. Brain damage? You bet!

And what about a bunch of guys piled into an old beater Bronco with obscenities rendered in magic marker all over the body. Thatís just for starters. Do they have even a pair of pliers with them? Nope! They spend the day trying to destroy the robust old truck-failing even in their attempts to flop it. And when they eventually bust a tire bead, they donít even have a jack! And while they are standing there in the butt-cold with snow falling they are telling us to go ahead and leave them if it gets too late for us. Well we didnít of course since they were using our tools. And besides, who would abandon such obviously brain damaged people out in the middle of nowhere?

So why do I endanger my life by getting mixed up with a bunch of brain damaged people committing potentially dangerous acts out in the boonies where even cell phones donít work? I have no idea. Maybe itís because I took my only currently functioning vehicle; a vehicle I modified to be fantastically unsafe on the street-and one that I have had almost every bolt and wire out on it-I, a person with a record of poor attention to detail; a vehicle whoís suspension I learned to weld on, and drove it, in the winter, 400 miles each way to pound on it like I was planning to abandon it. That certainly sounds like brain damage to me.

This isnít really a four-wheeling group-itís a support group for brain damaged people. If you find yourself feeling a little confused and Ďiffyí, make sure you attend our next support meeting. We wonít be able to find you a cure, but at least you wonít have to suffer alone.

 

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