Following the success of last year’s Christmas Gifts Special Edition of Single Track Mind, and the check from the American Society of Divorce Lawyers (which was very much appreciated) I was inundated by a request from Mr. Bob “Herbal Medicine” McClintock of Anaconda, Montana, for more tips to keep the little woman in your life happy at Christmas. Faced with a post bag of this size, I felt honor bound to offer more guidance to ensure that your relationship glides along as effortlessly as Marc Marquez’s RC at 17,000 rpm.
One of the issues which can cause friction is that of pets. Clearly, there will be a difference of opinion regarding the choice of animal friends between you and your wife. You will want a little furry pal who will not only be your soul mate and companion but will also be psychopathically vicious when it comes to guarding your race bike.
As an aside, do be a little wary with this policy. I had a friend in Virginia who sent me no end of images of his cute little German Shepherd pup, which had been sold to him by some nice chaps in the mountains who were into the artisan distillation business. They guaranteed the furry ball of fun’s guarding qualities, as evinced by his pony sized parents who took a rather militant line to any visitors who came on to their hillside uninvited.
The vendors were as good as their word and Sheba did turn out to be an extremely good protector of my friend’s 350 Honda race bike. The downside was that she became so possessive that even he wasn’t allowed to touch the bike and so loading up for a race meeting generally took three hours, a lot of Frisbee throwing and a plate of steak. Clearly, you can have too much of a good thing.
By contrast, your loved one will want something slightly more manageable in terms of canine companionship. The problem is that dogs are like kids in that they want feeding every day, somewhere to sleep and some form of exercise. Children will make do with burning calories through vigorous thumb movements on the PlayStation but dogs haven’t yet mastered this skill and so continue to need human input. Clearly, all these demands impinge on your valuable motorcycling time – especially when your partner expects you to undertake any of these onerous tasks.
However, there is a solution for the free-thinking racer – and one which both solves the problem of dog walking and gains valuable points in terms of you being a team player.
First, offer to exercise the dog as a Christmas gift – something which is given from the heart. Now, it’s merely a matter of convincing the dog of the pleasure of one of those extreme exercise routines you see advertised on TV.
Simply coax the pet on to your starting rollers and give them a quick blip. Since the rollers spin at seriously high speeds the dog will benefit from a full cardio workout in a matter of seconds. In fact, you can actually continuing working on your bike and operate the foot switch of the rollers once a minute and the results will be amazing.
You can then return to the house with a fit, toned pooch with the lung capacity of a sperm whale – and all without leaving your garage. Now that is a thoughtful gift.
I’m normally pretty militant about receiving gifts before Christmas but rules are there to be broken for the good of humanity. Having an attractive girl on your arm at pre-Christmas social events is one of these occasions.
In previous STMs I have already discussed the use of race fuel as a cleaning agent and an igniter for reluctant wood fires, but have you thought about this ambrosia as a perfume?
Let’s face it, what is more evocative, not to say erotic, in the world than when you break open that sealed can of fully-leaded 110 octane for the first time at a race meeting and the aroma of the light blue wonder liquid wafts over you. If you’ll excuse me a moment, I’ll just stop typing because I have entered quasi-religious swoon…
Now, back to the main theme. It may come as surprise to you but those fanciest of fancy shops, you know the ones where the security guards meet you at the door and ask if they can help you find the Dollar Store on the other side of town, actually have free samples which they give away for absolutely nothing.
I have to be honest and say upfront that getting the said freebies does require a little bit of thought and planning. If you arrive at the perfumery wearing your original 1972 Bates leather jacket, a torn Cal Rayborn Harley T-shirt, complete with authentic brown patches etched beneath each armpit, and two socks each of a different color you may not be greeted with overwhelming enthusiasm. But, if you dig out your wedding/funeral/christening/job interview/end-of-year appraisal jacket, find a clean(ish) shirt, smile a lot and try to sound convincing about buying that $300 bottle of perfume for Christmas – wonderful things can and will happen.
The first thing you need is an empty fragrance box. There are plenty of these around the posh stores because they house the samples which the sales staff spray around. Look pitiful, and out of your depth – which you will be unless you are in the habit of spending valuable motorcycling money on girls’ scent which the Dollar Store also retails but at $299 less – and you will soon be a re-homing a very valuable item of raw material.
Next, you need one of the tiny sample vials – and believe me they are tiny. Give them the full story about, “It’s only Christmas once a year (as if once isn’t one time too many) and you want to be sure that you get the perfect fragrance for this magical occasion…” and drone on and on until the sales lady falls asleep or looks for a measuring tape with which she can hang herself to escape the boredom.
Once you’re home get rid of the sample. All these uber-expensive perfumes are foul smelling stuff, so the best thing is to use the sample as deodorant for when the dog has rolled in something unspeakably smelly. There will only be enough sufficient for one dose, but rub the scent into pooch’s fur and it will last a week. What a result!
Now, re-brand the box slightly so that you can show that you care. Just one small tip here. The swish perfume boxes are rather good quality so make sure that you use a decent, indelible marker pen. After all, it’s important to show that you haven’t been cutting corners when it’s a special gift.
Now, check the tank on your bike after the last race of the year and, sure enough, there will be an eye-dropper of fuel still there for use. Careful transfer will give your loved one the ultimate Parfum du Course for all those end of season pub meals and quizzes.
Just a couple of warnings. First, this is hardcore erotic stuff. Beware your wife being mobbed by other racers when they catch the smell which drives them crazy. If things get too heavy, it’s worth carrying one of those small tubes of visor cleaner which will get the scent off in an instant and bring your loved one back to your arms.
Secondly, it’s worth pointing out the dangers of wearing race fuel as a perfume to your life partner. No, I don’t mean the first degree skin burns (which are never as bad as people make out) nor the high probability of skin cancer (which in my opinion is grossly exaggerated). It’s the fire hazard. Go heavy with this perfume and then sit next to the blazing fire in the pub, or the decorative Christmas candles, and the lady in your life really will go out in a blaze of glory.
As anyone in a long-term relationship with a woman will know, it is a myth that the female of species can multi-task – a complete fantasy. In fact, it is men who have truly mastered multi-tasking and this needs recognizing from the start. For example, I have no problem whatsoever asking my lovely wife, Carol, to get everything ready to go racing, whilst I set the DVR to record MotoGP in our absence.
(Above) It’s important to keep the female’s mind fit if they are to be happy and useful at race meetings. (Below) What could be better for Christmas than antique books?
That’s two key tasks being done simultaneously. What could be a better example of the high art of multi-tasking than me doing the difficult job of ensuring that MotoGP is correctly recorded while Carol does all the trivial stuff like making sure that we have enough race fuel for the weekend; checking the tool boxes; packing all my race gear and then loading the car with provisions?
If girls’ performance is not to drop off to unacceptably low levels it is important to keep their minds fresh and there is nothing better in this respect than reading. So, underneath the tree make sure that Santa leaves a little something for your lovely lady in the way of reading material.
In this respect, you can increase the value of the gift with a quiz game. What’s more romantic than cuddling up before the fire asking each other silly little questions?
Actually, almost anything is more romantic than asking each other silly questions. Let’s face it, you’ve got enough pressures in your life paying for engine re-builds, entry fees and race fuel without adding to them trying to remember the name of Christopher Columbus’ ram raiding ship when he stole the Caribbean.
A far better quiz is one where your loved one asks you to remember, in chronological order, where you are riding during the whole season and you ask her the torque settings for every nut and bolt on the bike. Both are fun to remember and both have a real practical value. What could be better than this during the long winter evenings?
Girls love antiques. They really do. A long time ago, when many of today’s antiques were merely old stuff, I had a girlfriend who reduced me to near catatonia with her desire to spend every penny we had on old and broken things – especially when they couldn’t be used. But things have changed so why not achieve two important goals in one thoughtful gift: an antique motorcycle book.
This will keep your loved one’s brain up to speed and give her that piece of memorabilia she has been lusting after. This sort of lateral thinking is what makes us motorcycle racers such special people.
And remember, a wife is not just for Christmas – she’s there to be loved and cherished 365 days a year. As I said to Carol, once I had seen her warm up my ex-works BSA without once stalling it, I knew that this was going to be a marriage made in Heaven’s paddock.