Spring, Sprang, Sprung: On Biking, Cleaning, and Living

Monday was the first day of spring, in the northern hemisphere, that is. How do I know this? Well, I have a goatee again. But I have the goatee because it’s the first day of spring. The seasonal facial hair regimen has been going on for a long time. Which is neither hair nor thair, but it does make me think about the changing of the seasons. Turn, turn, turn. Winter is leaving, spring is here. “Like sands through the hour glass so are the Days of our Lives,” went the tag line for an old soap opera. As mentioned in an earlier post, with better weather comes better bike riding and any number of outdoor activities. Maybe you didn’t come here to here my talk about the weather. Except I’m going to for a bit more.

Gene as Willy biking at work day

Spring symbolizes a time of hope, renewal, and productivity. A time when we’re supposed to clean out our actual closets and our mental cobwebs. Spring reminds me of a little ditty sung by Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka whilst he’s sitting upon a bicycle that is stationary but makes whipped cream for his chocolate candy factory. It went a little something like this:

“In springtime, the only pretty ring time, birds sing, hey ding, a-ding a-ding. Sweet lovers love the spring.”

I’m not really sure what he meant, but if it’s good enough for Mr. Wonka, it’s good enough for me.

A chalk note on a blackboard in Fargo, North Dakota in August of 2016 is how I learned Gene died while I was on my epic trip to the Dakotas, Montana, and Wyoming. I see video clips of him now and again and wonder at how such a sweet man could transform himself into a raging lunatic. He was a great actor and incredible comic talent, that’s how. To wit, from Young Frankenstein, which he co-wrote with Mel Brooks: “It’s FronkunSTEEN!” (By the way, Mel has finally unleashed History of the World, Part II… um, onto the world, on Hulu. I’ve been waiting 42 years for this, so am delaying my gratification a little longer. If the star-studded parody is anything like the original, it’s a must-see.)

As for the cleaning out our closet bit, even that anal retentive Marie Kondo has taken a chill pill and unpuckered herself on the tidyness rules. Having kids will do that to people, I’ve heard. Good for her. This dude has never been much of a neat freak. My new abode, for a time, with the Welsh corgi dog, has a minimalist vibe, and the word tidy was even placed in the lease agreement by my new landmate (landlord/housemate).

This leads me to a quote from another departed comedian, Gallagher, whom I got to see perform live once as a kid in Vegas (I was the kid; he was grown, and alive, because performing dead is serious magic, not comedy). In later years he became a bit angry, bitter, and was deemed politically incorrect (like plenty of comics aren’t). But I remember this funny line he said: “Cleanliness is not next to godliness. I looked it up. Cleanliness is next to cleavage, and godliness is next to goggles.” I could certainly do with getting rid of excess stuff, and baggage. Clearing some cobwebs sounds good, too; the old gray matter ain’t what it used to be. Slowing down is part of life, but in my case, maybe that’s just the perpetual lack of sleep and winter weight I need to drop somehow. Losing weight implies you want to find it, though.

Hey, so here’s an important date: March 6, 1998 was 25 years ago. That’s when The Big Lebowski starring The Dude was released. From the movie, this blog and pen name were derived, as homage. (Please don’t sue me, writer/directors/producers/geniuses Joel and Ethan Coen!)

On a sadder note, for a couple of Austin bicycle riders, there is no future. An as-yet unidentified cyclist was killed by a hit and run driver, and the ghost bike people installed a memorial for him or her. Another, who was idenntified, was crushed by a piece of falling construction. A ghost bike will go up at that site soon, too. Last year in Central Texas, six cyclists died in the area, which is six too many. On a more uplifting note (butt plastic surgery pun intended), the last photo is a humorous note (Laaaaaah!). Like the flier says, “It’s a real website.”

As for springing, spranging, sprunging, bicycling, cleaning, and living. What’s it all mean? Where am I headed as a dude in life? And us as a society, a world? Who the hell knows? But I do know that as I approach 3.5 years daily cycling, and other milestones of streaks, I imagine it’s time I do some of that house cleaning and applying some mental floss.

Yeah, so get your butt on your bike, but be safe. Stay frosty out there, whether you’re biking, walking, driving, scootering, wheelchairing, skateboarding, or whatever you’re doing. Thanks for reading.

Copyright 2023. A Dude Abikes. All rights reserved.

4 thoughts on “Spring, Sprang, Sprung: On Biking, Cleaning, and Living

  1. That Gene Wilder song is actually from Shakespeare – “It was a Lover and His Lass” from “As You Like it”. But you might counter with, “Yeah, well, y’know, that’s just, like, uh, your opinion, man.” Thanks for continuing to honor ghost bikes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Alas and alack. The Dude might say that. but methinks he’d know more about The Bard than I, a mere dude. I think the copyright for Shakespeare has expired, so WW is off the hook. But Bard is now what Google is calling their AI, so William must be rolling in his grave. The beginning of the end?

      Liked by 1 person

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