April 18, 2007


A funny thing happened on my way home from work that has nothing to do with design, but is noteworthy nonetheless. My preferred method of transportation involves two wheels, a crank shaft, and a hard leather saddle. I'm an urban bicycle commuter, and I love it. But this Monday my daily commute was disrupted by a band of 10 year old punks.

As I approached Cabrini Green, I took momentary notice of the abundance of people enjoying the beautiful Spring day. It seemed only natural that a group of kids should be strolling the courtyard, smiles ablaze in the sunlight. As they rapidly approached the bicycle path I noticed the smile in one boy's eyes quickly change into wicked determination. In that moment before his dastardly act was executed, I was swept back to a distant childhood memory.

In this memory I was riding my bike to the end of the cul de sac and through a neighbors lawn to a place we called Dirt Valley; a network of twisting, hilly paths tucked away in the woods. As I approached the bottom of the street I glimpsed Sean Perkins, a chubby boy 3 or 4 years younger than I with a broomstick clinched high above his head, and the same look of wicked determination in his eyes. Without hesitation, he released the broomstick, lodging it squarely in my spokes and sending me sprawling across the pavement.

Flash forward—I noticed something white and round in the evil-eyed boy's hand and began to realize that this was no innocent interaction, it was an ambush. Blocked by a solid row of cars to my left, I had no choice but to stay the course. I curled my shoulder down and turned my head away as the boy took aim and pelted the egg with surprising accuracy. The projectile hit me squarely in the leg and sent a gelatinous mélange of yolk and white across my frame, handlebars and shoes. I was egg'd! His band of hellions instantly burst into laughter as I did all I could think of—yelled obscenities and rode on.

Humiliated and slightly amused, I began to think that I was not so different when I was a kid. I wrought havoc with rolls of toilet paper and cartons of eggs. I stole beer from open garages and turned people's televisions off with a remote from outside their living room windows. What right had I to loathe this boy for egg'ing me? It was merely karma coming full circle. Rather than brooding over the event, I've decided to focus my energy on developing creative ways to get revenge if the band of kids ever makes a follow-up appearance. So far my favorite scenario was suggested by my girlfriend: pudding filled water balloons in an easy-access pouch. I'll simply grab as many balloons as I can hold in one hand and with the momentum of my cycle, lob the balloons at the group of kids and laugh malevolently as I ride into the distance.

If you can think of other creative methods for me to foil the band of 10 year old punks, please let me know. If it seems feasible and won't call the attention of their older brothers, perhaps I will put your plan into action.