Andy Ford is mad as a hell and he refuses to put up with you anymore! Andy Ford. Surely you must know Andy Ford!
Well then, you must have at least observed that there is a gentle rhythm to the motorcycling year. In most of the United States there is the season of riding away from care and there is the season of the infuriating political fight. This is winter so this is the season of the political fight.
These fights, you may have also noticed, always endlessly recur like an infomercial on a loop on a television in a third world, airport bar. You don’t have to understand the words to follow the plot. These dramas always cast three roles.
A Little Political Bestiary
Over all, in judgment, sits the politician. And, has there ever been a more despicable species of vermin in all of earth’s history than the modern American politician: Fatuous, cheesy, corrupt, unprincipled, venal, incapable of performing even the most rudimentary and mundane tasks – like sending an email for himself; always wearing a joyless and frozen smile like a month old corpse and frequently adorned by attractive female lobbyists and power groupies. Even politicians know the nation deserves better. But these are the only invertebrates in all of God’s creation who have evolved without a gag reflex or the ability to experience shame so they are the only candidates who can hustle up enough special interest dollars to win an election. Even sewer rats can be made to feel shame but not politicians. So, naturally, politicians are in charge of everything.
Beseeching the politicians at these annual events is invariably a group of rough hewn, homespun and earnest bikers wearing plain dress and properly addressed by colorful nicknames. They seem to be bikers who have been tooling around the desert on their Panheads for the last thirty years and they have not yet discovered America is now a wholly owned subsidiary of China. Consequently, they come to the politicians as lambs come to slaughter. Usually the bikers have some connection to a fraternal advocacy group named ABATE. ABATE used to be an acronym for “Leave Me Alone Or I Will Fuck You Up.” Now it too has evolved – into something more like “Please Don’t Hurt Me Again.” In promotional materials ABATE claims to stand for “A Brotherhood Active Towards Education” which even ABATE cultists understand makes them sound weak.
And arrayed against the bikers is always a “citizens advocacy group.” The group is usually just one guy who calls himself a group. He has never ridden a motorcycle. He has never sat on a motorcycle. He would never sleep with a woman who has ever sat on a motorcycle. He has never given it much thought but he is pretty sure that you start a motorcycle with a magic wand. He is also convinced that he is the smartest and most informed man in the room. He confidently pronounces, “Loud pipes definitely do not save lives!” And finally, he is convinced that if he just works hard enough, he can save the world – from you.
This week in wintry Maine, the citizens group is called “Maine Citizens Against Loud Motorcycles” or MECALM. Mecalm is a guy named Andy Ford. The proposed state law is Bill LD 1675. It is titled “An Act to Reduce Noise Caused by Motorcycles and Improve Public Health.” It is sponsored by Andy Ford’s neighbor, State Senator Nancy Sullivan.
Yesterday Senator Sullivan told the Kennebec Journal that her “constituents,” by which she seems to mean Andy Ford, are “emotionally, physically and mentally affected by motorcycle noise. At the very least, we must do something to address motorcycle noise, and I am hopeful for a solution.”
Then Senator Ford had a little, seven-year-old girl named Grace Nowacki testify on behalf of her bill before the Maine State Legislature’s Transportation Committee. The little girl had to stand on a chair to reach the microphone: Because it made for a really touching scene that emphasized this little angel’s helplessness and vulnerability and also because none of the politicians was smart enough to figure out how to lower the microphone stand.
“When I don’t have a chance to cover my ears, the noise from the motorcycle hurts my ears very badly,” this poor, dear, little child explained to the assembled press. “Sometimes, it takes me a very long time to feel right again after a loud motorcycle passes by.”
Other witnesses testified that loud motorcycles prevent people from having conversations, cause hypertension and force other victims to stay inside all summer long.
The proposed bill would forbid motorcyclists from modifying or replacing their original factory exhausts and would force bikes to have an official annual inspection to ensure that they have not been illegally modified.
Andy Ford. Now you know Andy Ford.