Kelly Clarkson rocks!!
Check out her cover of
Walkin After Midnight.
Patsy Cline is still one of my favorite artists and
Video is no longer up.... if anyone knows where this can be located let me know!!!!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Edumacation is fun (and dangerous)

Today we are going to perform a real world analysis of Newton's First Law. Bear with me, it is worth it.

Quite a lot of the stuff we did, in my youth, had great potential for massive bodily harm and/or death. It usually involved alcohol and/or medicinal herbage but not always. It kind of provides the reasoning behind the Jeff Foxworthy joke that starts off with; "Hey ya'll! Watch this!"

No good has ever come out of those words. I have a great many scars on my body. I can account for about 80% of them. Most of the rest can only be narrowed down to a time frame. There are a few I have absolutely no clue about. Assumptions have been made, fuzzy thoughts dwelled on, and in the end I just learned to accept that there are great chunks of my teen years that I will never recall. Probably for the best actually.

We, my compatriots and I, were always up for some sort of neighborhood infamy. We built a ramp at the end of the driveway one hot summer day. Not just an average ramp mind you. It was frickin' huge. We were trying to clear my mom's bushes she had planted at the end of the driveway. They stood about 6' tall. The ramp, at it's highest point, stood about 4' tall. That's big. There were about 8 or 10 of us trying to decide who should be the first victim, err, person to make the jump. We were busy nominating each other when my older brother, Richard, took it upon himself. None of us tried to stop him.

Climbing on my 3-speed bike he headed up to the end of the driveway and down the road. He was bound and determined to reach light speed. He did, but not like you would think.

We all stood out of the way. Many of us knew that something bad was likely going to happen and we certainly did not want to get mixed up in it if at all possible. Well, any more than we already were at this point. Pat stood at the corner of the house and warned us when Richard was incoming. We all took a deep breath as he came screaming into view. The bike was in third gear, Richards legs were pumping like steam hammers, and he was hunkered down over the handlebars to reduce drag. It took what seemed like only a second from him to travel the roughly 40' from the house to the base of the ramp. He was nearing the speed of sound when he hit the ramp.

And by hit, I mean the crunchy kind, not the Evel Knievel kind. Well actually now that I think about it....


The front tire of the bike ran right between two of the boards and started digging into the underlying dirt. At the same instant the bike began to decelerate to subsonic speed. In another half second the front tire began collapsing under the strain and the front forks, yielding to the tremendous forces of gravity, speed, and the obligatory immovable object, quickly bent backwards pulling the bike further into the death wall. The bike stopped.

This is where our lesson for today comes in.

Newton's First Law states simply an object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. Now all things being equal if you toss a baseball, it will continue to fly through the air until the effects of gravity and the atmosphere act upon it to pull it to the ground. The harder you throw it, the further it will travel. This information comes into direct play at this point.

Now, the event in question started with two objects in motion. The bike being object number one and my brother, Richard, as object number two. We have established, using Newton's First Law, that object number one was affected by an unbalanced force, the ramp. But what of object number two?

Well again I refer you to Newton's First Law. Objects in motion tend to stay in motion. So, given the fact that Richard was traveling at near the speed of sound, in a stance on the bike to promote air flow, there are several, very safe, assumptions one can make. The first is that despite the act of an unbalanced force (the ramp) on object number one, it had, for all intents and purposes, no effect whatsoever on object number two. Since the unbalanced force had no effect on object number two, the object will, in keeping with Newton's First Law, continue it's motion at it's same speed and direction (forward with respect to the initial direction of travel).

A body moving at that rate of speed is simply begging for hurt. And he got his fair share.

Object two, screaming quite loudly, cleared the ramp. With no apparent reduction in speed, object number two then impacted the bushes at the end of the driveway at about 4.5' from ground level. The rather poor simulation of superman resulted in a rather spectacular explosion of leaves and limbs, and more screaming. Now that object two had slowed down considerably gravity took over and pulled him to the ground, very quickly. The initial impact was loud. The unmistakable thud of the human body on hard ground is something I, for one, will never forget. The haphazard way he rolled to a stop showed a potential for a large number of injuries.

The quiet that descended over the scene was quite noticeable. We stood frozen wondering if he was dead. I would like to say it was abject fear but I would be lying. Then the silence was broken. Not by cries of agony, or worry, or concern. Rather by the sound of unbridled laughter. Many of us fell to the ground while the guffaws took us over from head to toe. In mere moments our dust covered faces were streaked with tears of hilarity while my brother lay, unmoving, in the hot Georgia sun.

Finally, Richard began to move. He slowly sat up, face contorted in pain, and manged to summon the strength to glare at us all. Some of our group of blue meanies finally went to check on him. As he caught his breath, he slowly got to his feet and checked himself for serious injuries. Finding only scrapes, scratches, and some bruises he managed to offer us, collectively, a scowl of contempt as he went to check on the bike.

The impact of the bike did manage to move a large portion of the ramp about a half inch. Other than the crater made by said impact, it held up pretty good. The same can not be said for the bike. The front wheel was totally crushed, the front forks bent back past the frame that runs between the handle bars and pedals, the handle bars bent in several places, one pedal snapped off, and lastly the frame cracked in several places. We simply salvaged what parts we could from the wreckage and discarded the rest.

Richard fared far better. As I mentioned before just some serious scratches, scrapes and bruises. He was sore for about a week after that and, to the best of my knowledge, he did not volunteer for anything else like that again.

There are many events from my youth like this one. Some of them actually involve me as the guinea pig. Most of them not nearly as educational as this one. Not that lessons in morality or moronity (I made that word up) aren't educational. In fact, many people on the internet could use some real lessons in these two things.

If you doubt the voracity of this statement then I will only point you towards our friend, and resident lab rat, Bert. We have proven that you can not jump off a roof, with a plastic garbage bag as a parachute, and not expect large quantities of pain.

So there you have it folks. Another example of bored teenagers creating havoc on their own terms. Many of you might very well be wondering about parental involvement. We had it and there was, more often than not, some form of fatherly/motherly retribution for many of the things we did. Well, what we go busted for.

I think we need to cover the finer points of a dirt clod war and the unconscious ass wipe. Pat's finest work ever in my humble opinion.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled internet.


Rae said...

It is a miracle that you are still alive and still have all your parts. You are a parent's worst nightmare and an emergency room doctor's dream. LOL But I bet you were sure fun to be around though.

Have Myelin? said...

I am so glad you were not my son!!! But I sure love to be entertained by you, HA!

Denver Refashionista said...

Boys will be boys. You should hear the stories my husband tells.