Monday, March 19, 2012

Cheez Whiz

I gotta tell ya, guys, this crazy Booger of ours is growing in popularity at such a rate that I'm not sure I can keep up. And before I get started with today's post, let me say this: no matter how high I fly, no matter how great my greatness becomes, I will always remember all three of you guys and don't worry, as soon as I get the Pulitzer I'll send you autographed photos of me hauling ass to the South of France where me and George Clooney and Johnny Depp will sort out All the Trouble In the World and ride bicycles.

As the Trailer Park Cyclist, I am required by the UCI to mention “bicycles” at least once per post. I asked and was informed in a personal letter from Pat McQuaid that no, I can't say “bicycle” four times in one post and make it count for four posts, so there ya go.

“There who goes?” You probably are asking yourselves. Well, you. There you go.

What am I talking about? Who knows? But back to the Booger...

Jared Is A Drug Addled Bully
I strongly dislike bullies. They come in all shapes and sizes and after High School, they take on a darker and more insidious form. In our little corner of reality, bicycle cycling, they can be particularly foul. For example:

Bathroom Scale:   “For Pete's sake, get off me. You're killing me! I can't breathe!”
Closet Mirror:        “Do you realize I can't look the other way when you expose yourself like this?                                 
Your Kind-Hearted Friends:    “But what a great personality!”
Fellow Cyclists:       “Good thing Spandex is stretchy.”

So anyway, You Get the Message and you make a brave and well intentioned decision To Do Something About It. But what? What is the answer? If you are like me, you go into the kitchen and get a big slice of cheesecake and a double dip of Ben & Jerry's and you go sit down at the computer to figure it all out. Then it hits you:

“Bicycles! Of course! I used to ride a bicycle all the time when I was a little kid and I was never fat and life was good and that's it! I'll get a bicycle and start riding everyday and I will once again be thin and popular and happy...”

So to celebrate you pop open a bottle of wine and get out some Cheez Whiz and some Ritz Crackers and go back to the computer to shop bicycles and cycling and then the bullying begins in earnest.

Honey,  There's Some Guy With Greasy Hands Sleeping In Our Bed
First you find out that things have changed since you were a Little Kid. Bicycles now cost a month's pay and require a full time mechanic even if you don't have a spare bedroom. If you want to get back into cycling you will have to give all your money to your Local Bike Shop and start sleeping on the couch because Bike Mechanics require quality accommodations. But, being of firm resolve and not willing to be daunted, you take a deep breath and head on out to Walmart, where every problem in the world can be fixed.

(Side note:  Once, while in the South of France drinking wine and eating Cheez Whiz with George and Johnny, we figured out (after the fourth bottle) that the path to World Peace was to build Walmarts in every city in the world. We figured out that is why all these foreigners are so angry at America. They don't have Walmarts.)

So Anyway...
Where was I? you get to Walmart and the kid in the bicycle sectiion takes a bike down from the rack to let you see how it feels but the front wheel falls off. He chases it down the bicycle aisle (which is in the toy department) but bangs into a shelf loaded with talking dolls and they all start talking at once. Bedazzled and confused, you give up and wander off to the front of the store and there is a Subway counter there and you get a foot long Meatball Sub and a Diet Coke and sit down to cry. You cry and eat the meatball sub and promise yourself that you won't get up and get one of those Subway Cookies but there they are; there they are and that Jared guy probably was a big liar and really got skinny by shooting meth.

The Truth
The worst bully of all is ourselves. We fear failure and in any effort at joy or self help we tend to seek the Path of Least Resistance and that is okay. Water does it and has been quite successful at doing it for Eons but us, We the Human Beans ain't water, we are a sad and self-loathing race that was created in the image of God and then set about Trashing the Temple as best we can. We can't help it, it is called Being Human and food really tastes good (most of the time) and don't even get me started on Beer. Beer is one of the greatest things on the Planet and if God had not created it one of us Beans would have figured it out. Wine too. And Cheez Whiz and Ritz Crackers.  And Peanut M&M's, with beer. (If I never give you another word of bad advice, sometime try a bowl of Peanut M&M's with beer.)

Back To the Bicycles
Bicycles are a solid and real answer to keeping a fit mind and body but a Bean can go crazy trying to sort it all out. When I started this Booger it was gonna be about my Journey On the Path of Bicycular Enlightenment but somewhere along the way my inescapable Literary Genius took over and danged if I can wrest control from his egotistical hands. But I'm trying and meanwhile I intend to cut back on the drama...wait...give me a minute, the Cops just pulled into the center court. I'll be right back...

Sigh. Okay, it is two hours later and the firetrucks just left and nobody died so where was I? Oh yes...

It Ain't Easy Being Cheesy
The hard part about bicycles is that new ones are pretty costly and the cheap ones at the Big Box are not worth buying. The answer, in my Trailer Park Opinion is to find a used, preferably old bicycle at a yard sale or thrift store and then stop whining and figure out how to fix them yourself. Bicycle repair (like literary genius) is inescapable. But it is easy and along the way you will meet new non-bullying friends and gain a little piece of self respect and that is how it starts. It worked for me. It will work for anybody.

As for you (my three Regular Readers), I realize you guys already know all this stuff. But last night Bill Clinton appeared in my dreams and ordered me to go forth and spread the Word. It may have been all the corn beef and cabbage I had for supper or a trick being played upon my tormented soul by Ernest and Julio; I don't know. But some bullies are scarier than others and when you dream about Bill Clinton it gets your attention.

Print this and leave copies around the office. It may help some poor lost Bean discover cycling. Also, next week I'm going to start running advertising and frankly, I need the money.

Yer pal, TJC the TPC

Whispering Pines Trailer Park and Nonsense Dispensary


  1. Congrats on the sponsors! Dreaming about Bill Clinton....that's deep and disturbing. But I understand the compelling nature Bill can have on one's psyche, so I applaud your desire to inform others of the challenge of getting into cycling. Go used and learn how to use cone wrenches I say!! Glad no one was hurt when the cops and firemen showed up.

    1. Cone wrenches may be the scariest. Or the chain breaker. No, cone wrenches. There is a stupendous responsibility to the use of cone wrenches.

    2. Absofreakin-lutely!! Cone wrenchs still send a small shiver up my spine when working on hubs.

  2. Tim Joe,

    I am all about the used and fix it yourself bicycles. Besides, any activity that gives me an excuse to buy another tool is good. One thing I learned about cone wrenches is that they are not meant for use on ice cream, but with a little patience...

    The last time I got serious about Cheez Whiz was the night before scheduled blood work, when I was told "nothing to eat after midnight" so I sat down with a box of Wheat Thins and some Cheez Whiz at 11:55, making short work of the whole mess.

    Once again, you have labored and produced a literary tour de farce That I have read and much enjoyed.

    Thank you for turning your muse out of the box to run amok.

    From Indiana,

    Bill Hopp

  3. Bill, Wheat Thins are Cream Cheese. The absolute best is those garlic rounds with a dash of Tabasco and a squished (pimento) olive. The problem is those garlic rounds are fragile and crumbly and smashing the olive properly without destroying the cracker is even harder than finding the right amount of torque when using a cone wrench.

    I like your rebellious attitude, though. Be honest: you had one last cracker at 12:01, didn't you?


  4. Cone wrenches can indeed be daunting, when I take mine off the wall I try to remember the words of the wise, and wheel savy, wolverine- "no grind, no slop". As with all pithy gems -simple don't mean easy- but with a little practice and patience wheels roll smoothly. I hope you have all those fine products mentioned in this post already lined up with TPC International LLC otherwise that was just poetic product placement with no payback....which would be um...parsimonious.

    Ad revenue or no, Keep on hittin' em out, turning a wrench and a pedal stroke velo brother, we Beans will keep tuning in.


  5. Ryan, all that product placement is only the beginning. I am now officially a cheap whore. I was looking back over my past Boogers and realized I have been giving reviews and plugs and barely able to afford the items I was mentioning. There is a twisted irony in that. Budweiser alone owes me big time. Like most of my schemes, this one will at least be good for a few laughs.


  6. TJ,

    Wait a second - are you implying that WallyMart doesn't hire qualified bicycle mechanics to assemble it's finely crafted two wheeled machines? I'm stunned.

    Nicely written piece (again).

    Keep on riding.

    Steve Z

  7. Steve: If Only. Of all the cheese in my cheesy post, Walmart is the cheesiest.


  8. *sigh* I miss cheeze-whiz, although last time I was back in the old country I found it didn't live up to the memory. But wheat thins, now they are good, and triscuits, I really miss them too. I am happily living Walmart free though.

    I had a cycling event last week and the star bicycle was a Malvern Star steely with the 3d star badge and elegant forks. I think it was small enough for me to ride too and I was swooning all over the place. $20.00 from the 'tip shop'(at the dump). Rescuing a really good bike is way better than having the latest thingo bike.

  9. Good for you, Dee. I look forward to seeing pictures over at your "Cycling Paradise" site.


  10. Cheese and crackers = ride. My life is a balance of calories vs. mileage. (sigh)

  11. I fear my calorie/mileage ration is sadly off these days. Some kind of rhythm of life thing going on. After a couple thousand comfortable miles, the bike suddenly doesn't fit. I'm tweaking and only making it worse...argh!
    Raise bars, lower seat, change seat angle, lower bars, tilt bars, I don't I can't stop looking sat her and have to start over.

  12. and peanut M&Ms! We always have them at the poker game, right after beer and brauts. TJ, your words inspire me to inspire others - so I will!

    Keep the faith!

  13. Brian, last night was ribs and chicken and Miss Jo's family un-bonded recipe Arkansas Moonshine and as far as anybody can remember, we had a good time. At least nobody is in the hospital or jail so it was a perfect party.

    Fill blender with ice. Add half full of Winn-Dixie Banana Pineapple juice. Add three whole bananas and top off with White Lightnin'. Short blend so there is still chunks of 'nanner and ice. Fill coffee mugs and stand back. Works best if dog kisses are mixed in and 'Ol Tim Joe is singing Led Zeppelin songs (a cappella) as loud as he can to establish his role as alpha male bluebird.

    Does a flush beat a straight?


  14. Your post reinforces my master plan for my "retirement" career. That would be; finding 70's vintage steel bikes from your various sources, garage sales, craigslist, etc. Investing 300 or 400 bucks getting them all spiffed-up again and selling them for 200 bucks or so.

    They will have lectures about it in business schools on how not to run a profitable business.

    The only thing holding me back is trying to figure out some sort of bike-ponzi scheme to finance this.

    Wal-Mart bicycle department.....where bicycle dreams go to die.

    Good post TJ, I enjoyed it once again!

    1. Jim, I am assuming you are familiar with my friend Hugh and his booger "Hugh's Blog." He just completed a project that began as a new Walmart bike which he reworked into a very respectable little machine. I think he reported losing only a couple dollars on the project.

      It is indeed a rascally shame what those Walton's are up seems to me they could at least sell quality parts at low prices. The have a fairly extensive line of Shimano fishing gear. Why not cassettes and derailleurs and wheels, etc?


  15. Good Stuff, TJ. I do refute one tiny thing. I was The Chubby Kid in the neighborhood despite riding my maroon Stingray with black pebble grain banana seat all over town all day every summer day. In fact, I can not hid that my mom dressed me in the "Husky" department at Sears. You would think with all that kid peddling and ramp jumpin' I would have been a thin jock, but alas not.
    Hey.... ya want a Moon Pie and RC?!!
    Yer pal - Zig

  16. Man a Moon Pie would be good right now. I like banana. Grandma Comstock had a little wood frame country store in the '50's, a kind of precursor to Seven-Eleven. On the front porch was one of those chest type Royal Crown soda machines, the kind you slid the bottle through slots and out a little locking gate. How many bottles of Grape Nehi did I drink sitting on that porch in the rocking chairs listening to old men talk about cows and rain and duck hunting?

  17. Hey T J,
    Great post! Yeah the money thing is a real bitch ain't it? One of life's necessary evils I guess. Good Luck with the advertising.
    I think the best thing about your writing style is, It does not remind me of anyone else. You are an original, a rare thing in this world. Keep up the good work.

  18. Thanks, Hugh! I consider that to be high praise coming from you. As for the advertising, who knows? Apparently all I have to do is click "monetize" and then start shopping for a private jet. Stay tuned...