Pictures Not IncludedI appreciate your interest and I respect your healthy curiosity. It's important to act on one's regard for the unknown and for this I empathize (I'm an engineer... being inquisitive is an occupational hazard lol.) I mean no disrespect and I promise I am not hiding anything. If this is a test of trust and I've failed I completely understand, I wish you peace and a pleasant journey; no hard feelings. Allow me to briefly explain...
When I was eleven years old I just like any healthy American boy. Forever competing with my friends and cousins to see who is braver, stronger, faster, etc... I mentioned before I'm an engineer and even at a young age I refused to let go of a challenge. In the spring that year my older cousins and I were determined to try out my uncles new Ducati motorcycle (yes the bike featuring the Ducati Desmoquattro with desmodromic valve actuation circa 1985 for my fellow gear heads...) Upon setting my eyes on it I was hooked. I wanted to ride that motorcycle. I needed to grip those throttles and feel the rush of adrenaline flying down the road holding on for dear life. I had to prove to my older cousins who was tougher, braver, and reckless. The garage was set in the back of the house, the rear of the property shared a common lane way with other garages flanking the ally. My cousin reached for the handle bars and "flipped the switch" bringing the 4 valve engine to glorious life. I knew I was smiling ear to ear and I remember how hard my blood was pumping I could hear it in my ears. We knew it was only a matter of time before the adults heard a commotion and would investigate. I pushed past the others and reached up grabbing the saddle to join my older cousin to join him on one tryst down the lane way, 40 ft down and back, what could be better! I recall shouting in my cousins ear something to the effect of "let it rip!" but I honestly cannot recall my actual words. I don't recall or remember anything between that moment and hospital bed. Amnesia is a wonderful thing, it protects the human mind from so much pain and stress. It should be this way, my last memory at that moment was the rush and exhilaration of anticipating the next magnificent 15 - 20 seconds of flying down the lane way on two wheels and an open throttle.
Events leading up to the crash. The lane way was cement not pavement and it had started raining before our gang had reached the garage. The block was flanked by 2 - lane city streets progressing East or West depending on your destination. The entrance to the lane way was unattended and featured no guide posts alerting the motorists to be aware of traffic or pedestrians. The facts are sketchy. My cousin did apply the brake peddle properly but did not brace or shift weight like you should on performance bikes causing a skid on the wet pavement. The driver of the moving van could not have anticipated the on coming motor bike and could not have been respond in any other way. My cousin and I slammed into the grill of the moving van at 35 mph collapsing the mainstay and forks on impact. My cousin suffered life threatening injuries to his neck and skull. For myself, my body careened off the passenger quarter panel and slammed into a light post. My cousin lived but sustained enough damage to need to learn how to walk again.
At eleven years old I had broken my left leg and jaw. I underwent 5 - rounds of surgery over 8 years to restore my jaw and achieve a normal profile for my jaw and face. The bones healed, and mercifully I didn't lose an ounce of my courage or enthusiasm for adventure. I did learn a valuable lesson in humility and respect for the dangerous. High school is a battle field of popularity and bullying. I never let on about how self conscious I was about by appearance. I was by no means ugly (my mother still calls me handsome... god love mothers everywhere.)
Here is the purpose of my story dear reader. I have a phobia for images of myself. To this day, although irrational and unwarranted, I still envision the mangled and broken result of my misadventure. How my teeth were splayed and my swollen jawline and features announced the repercussions of my reckless decision. Even now, in my minds eye, I still see the injuries as if fresh and distorted. There are no pictures of me that can be found. I'm very much afraid of the camera lens and I never smile. From the outside and for all appearances I'm a regular person. In my thoughts and imaginations a different story. I understand why people ask for pictures and why its important to project an image. I do not ask for your pictures out of cold hearted vanity, it's not that I don't like you or don't care about you or elsewise. I fear the image of myself and since I am unwilling to share then I do not ask for pictures of people I meet either. And if my reluctance to share pictures of myself offends you, my sincerest apologies. I feel confident I am a good person, I belong in this universe, I have magnificent friends here and in real life. I apologize for disappointing you and your request for pictures of me, and peace be with you as you go on your way.
I love motorcycles. I own a T100 mcqueen and as a person who is mechanically inclined I'm in my zone. It's a passion and I think it's healthy to stay in the saddle. As for my phobia of my image and avoidance of the camera lens, there is an end to this story but I don't know yet how it will unravel. Maybe one day I will forget those scars. It still hurts and sometimes I'm reminded of how weak I am. Strength is the product of adversity. And in my struggle I hope I will prevail. As Robert Frost penned in one of my favorite poems:
"The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep."
miles to go..