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Black leather: Life on the fast track

If I’m lying, I’m dying. Yes, Al’s brother is pushing 80 and is shopping for black leather. I don’t think he’s looking for handcuffs and a whip to go with it, but you never know about him. He’s driving a Harley these days and he says he can’t drive a Harley without wearing black leather. It’s all about presentation with him.

He called the house. He wanted to tell me about Karen, this knock-down, hit-the-wall, gorgeous woman with this out-of-the-world figure. She’s 49, pushing 50. She’s also pushing his standards; he doesn’t date women over 50.

This was his third date with her, and it might be her last. She has one flaw. Read on.

He said he was waiting at the detention center to drive Karen home. She had to spend the night in jail for drinking too much wine and having too much fun with him. Her bail was set at $6,000, but he only had to pay $600 to bail her out.

Apparently this is the story. He made plans to take Karen to a wine and brunch at a fancy restaurant. His ex-wife, who calls him all the time, wants to keep track of him and what he’s doing. Personally, I don’t understand this kind of relationship. It’s one of those on the track and off the track.

He told his ex-wife he was dating this woman, and he was taking her to this restaurant. He told her, “Don’t show up. I see you all the time at clubs, I don’t bother you, don’t cause trouble with me and this girl.”

He said he knew his ex-wife would show up. She always did. He called the head chef at the restaurant, “If she shows up sit her in the other room away from me and my date.” This must mean, his ex is off the track at the moment.

So this woman had brunch and too much wine. When they left, he pulled out of the parking lot on his Harley and she followed him in her car. The police waited outside the restaurant and pulled her over. They handcuffed her and took her to jail.

I reminded him of that beautiful blonde he dated a couple of years ago. At the time she was also dating a cop. He claims the dirty cop was watching for his Lexus and paid off another cop to pull him over. Al’s brother ended up in jail, paid a fortune to an attorney and he had to do 100 hours of community service.

He’s had to breathe into a Breathalyzer before he could start his car. It was only removed a few months ago. He said, “That why I couldn’t go back and help her. They’ve red-flagged me.”

I sat and listened to him on the phone and was awed at the trouble this man brings to himself, just to stay young, on the track and in the race.

After the conversation on the phone, I told Al that his brother went to Karen’s house and she was wearing shorts. When he looked at her legs he noticed she had wrinkled legs and saggy knees. He said it turned him off. He couldn’t help it.

I said to Al, “Your brother’s got a big problem.”

Al said, “Well, don’t tell him. He doesn’t need to hear that. Every man needs to have hope. That keeps him going.”

This was all very interesting. Saggy knees could be a deal breaker? This might be her third and last date with Al’s brother.

Then I said, “Doesn’t he know it’s time to get off the track, get out of the way, and let the younger guys take over?”

“He doesn’t know he’s getting old,” Al said, quickly reverting to NASCAR. “It’s like all these young guys who are driving today. They are tearing up the track. They’re outrunning the old guys.”

I said, “The old guys, meaning the thirty and forty year olds?”

“Yes.”

“I know why? It’s all those video games the young ones have been playing. They have quick reflexes. How young are they anyway?”

“Oh, about 20 or 22. Even an eighteen year old is driving 200 miles an hour.”

Then Al continued, “Well, there’s a guy who is the oldest on the track. His name is Morgan Shepherd. He owns his own car, and works on it himself. He pulls it from his hometown to wherever the next race is. He might be in forty-sixth place, and stays at the back. If there is a crash, he inches up to another place.”

“How can he afford to drive in NASCAR? It takes a lot of money. These racing teams have two or three cars, and a lot of people on the team. How does he stay up with the deep pockets and the young drivers?”

“As for money, he probably breaks even. It’s the thrill of racing. In his younger days he tore up the track. The announcers all like him and talk about him all the time.”

This 72-year-old driver has no sponsors, builds his own car with his own money, pulls it with his own pickup, and drives it himself in the race. This intrigued me. I went to his website.

He’s asking for donations for a set of tires and seeking sponsors for the 2014 racing year. This driver is putting himself out there every weekend. He’s working really hard to stay on the track.

Then we have Al’s brother. He’s wearing tight, black leather pants and a black leather jacket driving a Harley. He sees himself as young, also. He bails out the young women, doesn’t mind spending his money on them and waits outside of jail to drive them home. With those wrinkled legs and saggy knees, it might slow down his hot pursuit. If she doesn’t work out, he’ll find another race and be back on the track by the weekend.

I guess we are all living in hope and trying to stay on the track. Al’s in his brown leather chair, watching fast cars. His brother’s wearing black leather looking at fast women, and his brother’s ex is off the track, wanting to get back on. Morgan Shepherd loves the thrill of just being on the track and is doing anything to stay on it.

Final brushstroke: Maybe Al’s right. “Don’t tell him. He doesn’t need to hear that. Every man needs to have hope. That keeps him going.”

I guess that’s what we’re all doing. We’re living in hope. The younger generation has caught up with us and passed us by. Some have the good sense to stay off the track, and some of us believe we still have what it takes to stay on it.

This story was posted on March 20, 2014.