23 June 2011

Warning Label

Last week, Steve A. of DFW Point to Point posted about locking his bike

The interesting thing about his security system is that it's actually more solid, or at least more effective, than it would appear to be at first glance.  He does concede, however, that the bike is 40 years old and is parked in a place where most people know it's his.

On the other hand, Steve's security system (or any other, for that matter) has nothing on this:

From: Stick Figs Warning Stickers
This sticker was listed on eBay, along with others from Stick Figs Warning Stickers.  As much as I enjoyed seeing it, I have to point out two problems.  

First of all, as I am a writer and an English instructor, I notice that the warning contains a comma splice.  If the comma were changed to a colon, and the "s" at the beginning of "Stay" were capitalized, the text would be fine. 

The other problem is in the drawing.  I have no problem with the art:  It makes me think of Keith Haring, possibly on crack, in a dark alley.  But if the standing figure is swinging the bat in the direction shown in the drawing, how would the other figure fall (float?) in the direction it's going?  Did the bat strike the bike and make it (him?) pop off the seat and into the air? If that's what happened, how would he (it?) fall backwards?  

I admit that I took Physics before many of you were born, and some things about it have probably changed.  But the movement in the drawing just doesn't make sense.  Still, I like the sticker, even though I'm not a violent person.

Well, I never used actual violence to stop a bike from being stolen.  I did, however, use the threat of violence to prevent  a bike theft--or, if you want to be more dramatic, to stop a bike thief in his tracks.

One warm evening about twenty or so years ago, I went to the Paris Theatre, which is across the street from the Plaza Hotel.  After seeing a film--I think it was "My Left Foot"--I walked along West 58th Street.  A wiry young guy lifted a Motobecane Grand Touring by its fork and rear stays and was turning the frame clockwise, trying to break the U-lock that clamped it to a bike rack.  

In those days, I was riding, on average, about 50 miles a day. (Yes, every day!)  I was also lifting weights.  A female friend used to say that I was always either glowering or scowling.  Whether or not that was true, I knew this much: Complete strangers used to cross to the other side of the street when they saw me. 

And that is what that would-be bike thief did, faster than anyone I've ever seen, when I planted myself, with my hands in my pockets, in front of him.  Even so, he just barely avoided getting hit by one of the taxis that zipped down 58th Street when the light turned green at Sixth Avenue.  I'm ashamed to admit this now, but I was actually more proud of how much I scared that guy than I was of keeping someone's nice bike from being stolen.  Maybe I would've felt differently if the bikes owner had shown up.  

Would I have been as effective if I'd had a warning label?

1 comment:

  1. There is a YouTube video where someone shows how to defeat my locking approach. There was, however, no sticker or other warning label!