Windshields Redux

by bj max

I can’t do this I told myself. But a little voice inside me said “You’ve got to. But I ‘m not a surgeon I argued. I don’t have the stomach for this kind of work.” The little voice spoke again, “Maybe not, but right now you’re the only game in town. So hop to it you weak kneed, milksop, jellyfish. This is an emergency man.”

“Okay. Okay. Just don’t rush me” I said out loud. I reached over and pulled a wicked looking saw from its plastic, form fitting case. It’s stainless steel blade flashed in the bright hot light of the high intensity lamp as I held it in my shaking hand. Rivulets of sweat ran down my forehead, trickled to the tip of my nose and fell, spattering my comatose patient. “Forgive me baby”, I said softly “but this has got to be done.” I closed my eyes, said a pitiful little prayer and switched on the saw.

Five minutes later I stumbled into the bathroom. Nauseated and sick, I leaned over the sink and splashed cool water in my face. Slowly I raised my head and looked in the mirror. “What have you done?” I yelled. “What have you done. You,… you butcher.” I turned and ran screaming from the house and into the back yard. I stopped and stared in horror at the carnage before me, the results of a botched lobotomy. A messy, one and a half inch surgical severance off the top of my brand new windshield. Madness. That’s what it is. Madness.

Why would a nice guy like me commit such a vile and heinous act? Well, I’m kinda’ short for my height and when I sit down on my motorcycle my feet don’t go all the way to the ground. To compensate for this little quirk of nature, I had the seat whacked down a couple of inches. Problem solved. I could now flat foot the pavement making life on the road a little less tense for my wife and I. But as usual, in my case anyway, solving one problem seems always to lead to another.

A couple of weeks ago as I was riding home from the Shriners 35th annual Possum Festival, Mother Nature, being in one of her frivolous moods, decided to dump the Gulf of Mexico on my head. Now I’m not afraid of a little rain but my saddled out seat sat so low I couldn’t see over the windshield and unless you have X-ray vision you sure can’t see through a plexiglass windshield when its pouring down rain. Water clings to the thing like scandal to an Arkansas politician.

As the rain beat down it beaded into an army of glistening, silver droplets that marched to the top of my windshield and, like tough little soldiers, they attacked the chrome trimmed edge as though it were a fortress wall. Struggling bravely against the relentless blast they battled furiously. Hundreds of them were torn loose by the howling wind and blown into the slipstream, their watery little arms waving frantically as they went screaming by overhead. But the main body, with a boost from their buddies pushing up from the rear, clambered over the top by the thousands, came racing down the inside and fanned out in all directions. In due time they occupied every square inch of my windshield, totally blocking my view of the road ahead.

Blinded by the assault, I jumped off at the wrong exit and ended up in a sub division still under construction. The dump truck and back hoe traffic had tracked tons of gumbo into the streets and the deluge had turned it into a thick brown sauce slicker than STP. I slowly brought the bike to a stop, wiped the rain from my glasses and assessed the situation. My only option was a tight, up hill left hander.

With my confidence level at an all time low, I tapped into gear, locked the handlebars full left and eased out on the clutch. Somehow I managed to wobble through that slippery U-turn without bustin’ my donkey and eventually got myself pointed in the right direction.

But I was still ridin’ under the Braille system, a questionable form of navigation at best. In desperation, I stood up. Hallelujah! I could see. I rode the rest of the way home like Matt Mladin on a victory lap.

That was an eye opening experience to say the least and something had to be done. If you ride a motorcycle, you’re gonna’ get wet. Right? And riding a motorcycle blind isn’t the safest mode of surface transportation? So, after wringing my hands and gnashing my teeth for several days I reluctantly made the decision that part of my windshield had to go. First, on the advise of friends, I completely taped over the top five inches of the windshield with masking tape. Then, with a grease pencil, I drew an arc that simulated the original curvature, took a deep breath and commenced to lop an inch and a half off the top.

Did you ever put a reciprocating saw to an expensive windshield? It’s a traumatic experience, I can tell you that and it wouldn’t take much of a distraction to ruin the whole job. For instance, what if your measurements are off a tick? What if you sneeze? What if the Oak Ridge

Boys break up? See what I mean? And, as with any tedious job, you invariably get a fiery itch during the most critical part of the project and have to stop and scratch. Why, you can look at a piece of handicraft and point out exactly where the craftsman got a burning itch. It’s where you find the defect in an otherwise flawless piece of work.

A case in point is Leonardo de Vinci’s Mona Lisa. A little known fact about the Mona Lisa is that Leonardo’s wife posed for this classic work. Now Mrs. de Vinci never smiled. In fact, she wore a perpetual frown, mainly because Leonardo wouldn’t work and hung around the house all day drawing pictures and building little toy flying machines. Originally, Leonardo had intended the Mona Lisa to be wearing a frown just like his old lady. But, at the critical moment when a downstroke of the brush was intended, Leo got zapped by a powerful, sweat poppin’ itch in an unmentionable place and the rest, as they say, is history.

Luckily for me however, my windshield survived the surgery with only a minor bobble or two, now cleverly hidden with a piece of chrome trim. Not a perfect job but still good enough to allow me to see where I’m going in the rain. A lot of folks install aftermarket windshields that are even taller and wider than stock and they seem to do just fine in foul weather but I’m an old Harley rider and I got accustomed to looking over the windshield a long time ago. Could it be habit more than necessity? A little of both perhaps but whatever, I am bound to trimming windshields so I guess I had better learn to do it right.

Merry Christmas, Good People, and Happy New Year.



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