® A day in the life: His Beauty Was Missed

Balladier Michael Kelly Blanchard sings of a boy he knew in grade school who was disenfranchised in society. I knew some folks like that too. One fella we'll call Roger. Roger dressed kinda funny, even for a mechanic. Too careful, for one thing, bordering on fussiness. Corduroy pants. Collared shirts. Pretty different. Quiet most of the time, too. Short curly hair at a time when everyone's was long. He stuck out a mile. After all these years I remember too how unassuming, how soft-spoken and almost shy, he was. He didn't fit in, in this Honda shop in metro L.A. in the early 70s. But he was showing us his creation, an ATV he had built all himself. This was when ATVs were still very little known. Only one manufacturer even had any back then, and only a couple models, three wheelers with tiny engines. Not the big monsters we have today. And here was this home-brewed hotrod, big engine in a homemade frame. Ingenious rearward-swinging kick-starter mechanism built from sectioned and rewelded gears. Hand-built throttle. Really a creative piece of work. But the sad thing is, no one in the shop recognized the art and craft that went into this thing. We should have been all over it, and we would be today, I am convinced. But we chose instead to dis him, to roll our eyes and grin sarcastically at the proof of his talent as a mechanic, and more. Had to be junk. Why? Just had to be, that's all. Guy's a weirdo. You see, Roger was prejudged before he had even opened his mouth. Because he looked different from us. I remember feeling sorry for him. But I also remember not saying anything in his defense. Another one I can't forget. Blanchard had a name for him: the one "...whose beauty was missed..."

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