Let the record show that at precisely 12:07pm today, my oldest son said to me, “Dad, will you go mountain biking with me?” A ripple in the space-time continuum caused my vision to flicker. I swallowed hard to keep my emotions in check.
I said, “Yeah. We can probably make that happen. Let me just eat something real quick.” This seemed like good cover, a plausible story. I retreated to scarf a burrito.
It was a hot day, and it was my rest day, but when lightning strikes you ride it like a golden god tumbling down a mountainside. You harness up, fill a water bottle, and head for gnarnia like a forest gnome with a brand new shred sled.
I put my head down on the table and said to my wife, “It’s so hot today,” and she said, “Your boy asked you to ride mountain bikes.”
Let the record show that I was not his first choice. He’d asked a friend to go with him and received the reply, via text, “Nah.” I was second choice. Convenient. Needy even. But I played it cool.
Let the record also show that I don’t mind being second choice. In fact, it’s better than being first, because it implies that he was motivated, on his own, to ride a mountain bike, free of the influence of his overbearing, over-eager father.
Let the record show that I loaded up the bikes and took him to the trail head, that I gave not one word of advice, that I slowed down for him, but not that much. Write down that we took the switchback trail to the water tower, my personal Stonehenge, and that he rode it uncomplainingly and then we skittered down the backside of the hill at full pelt. I let him take the front and followed wherever he chose to go.
My shoulder is not right, and I did not go full blast. I ought not even be riding probably, except that my son asked me to take him mountain biking and this is an unanswerable request but for the action of getting yourself ready to ride a goddamned bike.
Let the record show that I did what was required of me, and I will do it again, whenever I’m called upon, first, second, or eighth choice.