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  • Writer's pictureD. Randall Faro

Changing Gears

FedEx changed my life. Well, my thumb anyway. Well again, actually my life.

Just over two years ago I had an intimate encounter with the posterior of a FedEx truck. We had a very brief debate on the prudence of my move, but since I was on a motorcycle, the four-wheeled monster (comparatively) brought home the bacon and I was left in the figurative frying pan. My motorcycle unceremoniously flipped me off onto the interstate highway during rush hour, and then flipped itself across the ditch into the bushes where it was pronounced dead. I was glad to be alive, but not so happy with a concussion, sprained back, and a shattered right thumb metacarpal. I remember nothing of the impact with the truck, absolutely nothing. I woke up being cradled by a medtech by the side of the road. I’d love to see a video because I have no idea who did what or why it happened, not to mention the fun of comparing myself to Evel Knievel.

After a couple of hours in the sense-bombarding craziness of our local hospital’s ER, I finally reached the point of being able to tell them how old I was. One nurse: and you were riding a motorcycle? Here comes the life-changing part.

The back has healed, I can now recite my name and age correctly anytime of night or day, and my right hand will never be the same. The consequence of surgery to piece together said metacarpal is somewhere in the vicinity of ninety percent functionality, and permanent nerve damage. The hand issue is not significantly debilitating . . . rather just bothersome when the nerves act up or full strength, which I no longer have, is required. But a more knife-to-the-heart issue has resulted from my Interstate-5 daredevil act.

I have been riding motorcycles for over five decades. Uncounted tens of thousands of miles. Notwithstanding the odd close call, I never had an injury-resulting accident. (I hit a car broadside back in the 70s – his fault – and flew over the hood. Not a scratch on me; the car hood wasn’t so fortunate.) But coming close to kicking the bucket on a busy highway (witnesses said the car behind me swerved and missed me by three or four feet, me being unaware of anything) causes an unwanted reassessment. I say unwanted because I have forever rued the day I might have to call a halt to peaceful cruising on two wheels.

I was actually riding a motorcycle I purchased so my son and I could ride together, so it wasn’t my own motorcycle that I totaled. But even in the midst of a concussion, I was smart enough to know that when my wife entered my ER cubicle, the first words out of my mouth needed to be: “I’m selling my bike.”

Life alterations. They happen. Often beyond our control. Along with watching some blessed buyer ride my beautiful Yamaha V Star away, I’ve had to give up: running, due to internal combustion issues; alpine mountaineering, due to rusty joints; jitterbugging until two a.m. due to a smaller gas tank.

So here’s the thing: it is what it is . . . deal with it. Part of my life philosophy is do what you can while you can. Which I have. Which I will. It’s simply a matter of adjusting mentally and switching gears. So while I’m not saying I’m replacing any of the aforementioned activities with knitting, these life changes call for some innovative and creative new thinking. I’m working on it. And I’m also not saying I’m never ever going to get on a motorcycle again.

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