I have nothing against mopeds and scooters. From my time surfing the ‘Net, I’ve found they seem to be the transportation of choice in crowded places like Shanghai or Tokyo. In some parts of the world, Colonial Era Vespas have displaced water buffalo and burros as beasts of burden. In Vietnam and Taiwan, scooters are the family vehicle to take the kids out for ice cream or whatever passes for comfort food in Vietnam. Some enterprising individuals even use them as taxis in India.
In the USA, however, if you see someone over the age of 20 and not in college riding a scooter or a moped with a milk crate bungee-corded to the back and the front fender about to rattle off, my next paycheck against yours says 95% of the time, you are looking at a liquorcycle.
Now, before we get to far into the explanation, it’s important for me that you hear the proper pronunciation in your head as you read this. It loses something if you don’t get the right sound in your mind. The -cycle in “liquorcycle” sounds like the -sicle in “Popsicle” and not the -cycle in “motorcycle.” If you say it just right, you get a nice internal feminine half rhyme going. Liquorcycle . . . all together now . . . liquorcycle! You got it.
By definition, a liquorcycle is the mode of transportation adopted by those bottom feeders of society who have been convicted — usually multiple times — of “driving while intoxicated” or “driving under the influence” and have lost their drivers’ licenses as a result. Yep, a liquorcycle is the last refuge of the DUI / DWI convict. For some, it is a badge of honor. These hardy individuals ride their liquorcycles flat out at a mind-blowing 35 mph with their denture-less jowls flapping in the wind in all seasons and conditions.
Back when I had a job and my buddy, Bo, rode to work with me, I’d sit at the local gas station waiting for him each morning. Every morning — rain, sun, even sleet once — the same woe-begotten soul on his ancient liquorcycle would come putt-putting by at 6:40 AM on the dot. In January, it was hard to tell that a human and not a bear was astride a dilapidated red Honda scooter. He would be wearing a full ski suit and seemed to be wrapped in some sort of blanket. If it was raining (January in SC, it rains a lot) he would add an oversized oilskin slicker to the ensemble. He always put me in the mind of a down and out Tusken Raider on Tatooine riding a broken down speeder scrounged from some abandoned Jawa sandcrawler. It was indeed a sad sight to behold.
Now some of my three regular readers might think I’m being a bit harsh on those who choose to imbibe and drive. I’m not. I’m actually pulling punches a little. I have friends in wheelchairs and family in graveyards because of drunk drivers. I actually like the fact that enough DUIs leads to a liquorcycle license because inevitably, the habit will grab them again and they’ll be liquorcycling while higher than a Georgia pine and when they run a stop sign and someone t-bones their liquorcycle, they’ll just bury them where they make the hole. It’s rough, but it’s natural selection in action.
Liquorcycles . . . the steed of champions!
Love y’all. Wash your feet.
When are you going to publish these columns into a book? Now I have to hunt through the archives to find a column (such as Snakes In A Johnboat). Set up your columns into book form and let me buy a copy from an internet publisher!! I already know of 2 people who would get copies for Christmas.
I’ve thought about it . . . a lot actually since I’ve had the time on my hands, but it’s a daunting piece of work to sit down at a blank screen and make it come to life. Pretty much everything I’ve ever written is somewhere on this blog, either in the posts or on the writings pages. Snakes in a Jonboat is one of my favorite stories and it’s all the better because it’s true. Just a little tweaking of the names to protect any future politicians 🙂
Ah come on now, if the shoe fits….
@G. S. I think it was less about offending drunks as it was offending moped manufacturers, but who knows?
For a short time there was an anti-DUI billboard on North Pleasantburg, near where Home Depot is now, that proclaimed, “Nothing says ‘sexy’ like ‘Hey, babe, wanna go for a ride on my moped?'” The picture was exactly as you described – milk carton 30-ish dude with a flannel shirt unbotton with t-shirt underneath, and ball cap turned around bass-ackards. It didn’t stay up very long, which is is a shame. I guess it offended someone.
@Tom: God forbid we offend drunks! I believe political correctness has gotten a wee bit out of hand.
@Cathy: Yep. Nothing like a catchy name to make something really pop out at ya!
LOL I thought I was the only one who thought of them like that. Glad to now have a name for the maligned scooters.