® A Day in the Life: Making Lemonade

The bike was different. A 60s Honda C100, the pushrod ancestor to the better known OHC CT90. This one was rough, well used, nearly worn out. And it was peculiar. Instead of the usual foot shift lever, a hand-operated spindle contraption stuck out in the middle of the bike. It also had outriggers, kind of like training wheels, plus a number of other odd, miscellaneous add-ons here and there. In for a head gasket leak, the 50cc step-through looked like it had been bathed in oil for much of its life. A black, grimy and in places crusty finish obscured every surface. As I completed the job and chatted with the service manager about the customer, I began to be overcome with shame, and with somelike like awe. An ugly bike, sure, and one whose owner I had glibly characterized as uncaring and and at least mildly irresponsible. But I was wrong, dead wrong! This motorcycle, it turned out, was owned, and daily used, not for recreation but for his very livelihood, by a man with cerebral palsy. This determined individual used that little Honda to support himself and his family, despite such tremendous physical obstacles, by holding down for decades one of the largest, longest-running, and most successful newspaper delivery routes in the entire San Fernando valley in Southern California at thiat time. Against odds few of us can imagine, this fella beat down the barriers and was victor over one of life's harshest, most dehumanizing physical challenges, to succeed. And what success! What triumph! Whenever I am tempted to complain; to make excuses for my lack of drive, I think of him, and I have never forgotten him.

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