Say, are those tire tracks on your dog?

Well, everything is normal up here in the north. It’s started to get cold already, and by cold for you California types, that means that the average temp each day is right around freezing. The sun still comes out, though I think it’s only for like 2 or three hours a day.

These days I think that North is counting his lucky stars, seeing as how I ran over him the other day. See, I have started to take him with me on short mountain biking rides to help get him some exercize (read: wear him out so I don’t have to pummel him into submission) and he hasn’t quite gotten the hang of it yet. It’s partly my fault since as a pup, I gave him an old bike tire as a chew toy. I’m sure you know what’s coming next. Usually he chugs along the trail pretty good, sniffing here and there, chasing various unseen, but smelt, vermin into the bush. Invariably though, he suddenly remembers, TIRE, and bolts out of the underbrush to attack one or both of the tires attached to the bike. Almost without fail, it is usually the front one, resulting in a near headon collision if I’m not paying attention. Well the other day, I wasn’t. I can honestly say that I am pretty sure that North had no clue what would happen whne he latched onto the front tire with his jaws, for if he had, I guarantee he wouldn’t have done it.

I can’t really describe the look of surprise on his face after the wheel rolled over his head, let’s just say it was sort of that look a dog gets when you pretend to throw the ball and palm it behind your back. Sort of a combination of stupification and amazment. I know deep down he was thinking to himslef, “Ooo, I hope nobody saw that.” Kind of like when us humans trip over that invisible crack in the sidwalk and go sliding down a busy street like Pete Rose headed for home, and then get up like nothing happens, meanwhile the skin (or lack thereof) on our hands and knees burns like it was on fire.

No, I can happily say that North was not hurt by his little tangle with a pedal driven vehicle. I know that his biggest concern was whether any of his ‘dog buddies’ saw it. Never mind that a bike just rolled over him, you still have to look good.

I myself was caught in that complex mix of emotions that often grip us in situations like these. First the intial concern for the well being of the victim, and second, the need to take in larger quantities of air to aid in the huge volume of laughter being produced. There’s nothing like living through a harrowing experience and coming out with a ‘what the hell just happened’ look on your face to evoke laughter in the observers of said incident.

It reminds me of a time when, on crutches with a bum knee, I fell off the front porch at the Youth Hostel, and, as I lay there I turned to see Lappo holding the door for me, with a laugh on his face, only no sound coming out. He had the classic, ‘I’m laughing so hard, I can’t make any noise’ in full effect – something I thought stopped with 6th grade sleep overs. It was then that I knew that this phenomenon occured in adults as well, although it usually took something on a much grander scale to incite it – usually the misfortune of others, or large amounts of a controlled substance.

I, of course, failed to see the humor in the whole incident until later. Lappo on the other hand, got it right away, and of course from then on, always felt the need to share the humor with others. This I didn’t always appreciate, for it made me the butt of the joke, and I also, as most butts of jokes do, ended up looking like a complete mallethead every time the story was recounted.

So, I guess the point is this, North is a mallethead. Although, I knew this before the run in with the bike, the whole episode just reaffirmed it. I had a hint before when he walked into the sliding glass door, but the run-over was irreversable proof. Of course, I take absolutely no blame for giving him the tire in the first place, for you see, I am a mallethead for having fallen of f the porch.

Maybe next time North will stay out of the way of the bike, but coming from a fellow mallethead, I doubt it.