Wednesday, August 16, 2006


This Saturday was going to be full of derby stuff, as usual. I was going to be at the upcoming bout for the flat-track league in LA. I was going to announce for it, even.

But that's not going to happen.

Instead, I shall be in San Jose at a wake.

A biker wake.

A biker who was one of the husband's and my favorite people.

On the surface he was a stereotypical "biker". You know...used to run with a club, rode his bikes outrageously, had very crass stories, used some legal and illegal substances before getting on said bikes, had a bike frame up and ready to rebuild in his garage at all times, did burnouts on his bike in front of all kinds of restaurants, hotels, dives, and other bikerscum establishments, a fantastic knife collection adorned his living room wall, a pool table was the first thing you saw when you walked in the front door, the type of guy that young mothers would yank their children away from whenever he walked by. His nickname was "Wildman", and he certainly earned it and lived up to it.

Talk to him for about five seconds and one would find him to be one of the nicest, most charismatic people ever. To those he liked, he'd give the shirt off his back(literally), the last dollar in his pocket, use of his tools, a place to stay if needed, and even a hit of nitrous.

We met Wildman around eight years ago up in northern California at one of the internet biker geek gatherings that we went to more often back then. Yeah, he was a hardcore biker on the outside, but a geek on the inside. A biker with internet access, by gawd. The first time I ever saw a crack pipe in person was when he took his out and asked the collective casually, "Anyone want a hit?" This was about twenty minutes after offering nitrous around. My little Pollyanna mind was blown away. Then he did some burnouts in front of the local bikerscum establishment while he was drunk and then sped off into the night. Dayum.

Every December he had a party at his place called the Winternationals. He was a Sagittarius himself, and this party was for those other Decemberists who also had the dubious luck of having a birthday so close to Xmas and other overshadowing holidays. We went for a few years, until global warming made it so that we couldn't depend on the weather not pouring down on us for the trip.

Wildman never got caught doing the bad things he did. Whenever we heard the latest story where Wildman would avoid disaster, the husband and I always commented that he didn't have just one guardian angel; he had a whole friggin' flock trying to keep up with him.

He slipped past the flock on Sunday night. The same night as my grand Flying Wallendas move off the track. At around the same time, apparently. Coincidence?


But still.

He wasn't on the bike when he slipped through the flock of angels. He was at home. By himself. Apparently a heart attack or blood clot. Not a very impressive way to go, considering how large he lived his life.

No one who knows him was surprised to hear of his passing, but it's still incredibly sad. It's always sad when someone who was well-known and well-liked goes. And he certainly was both. In some ways it's amazing he was around for as long as he was...he kept those angels busy.

I'm gonna miss ya, Wildman.


Uccellina said...

Oh, sweetie. Sad.

RedDiabla said...

Very much so.

Stephen Greenberg said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Stephen Greenberg said...

Yeah, Wildman wasn't just an ordinary geek either. He was a trend setting geek, a participant on the Internet when women still thought anyone who owned a computer was a geek. On top of being a hard core biker. On his old internet haunt, he created a list called the "Bitch List", a list which women (and some men) were proud to be on because of the company they kept. To be named to that list was not an insult but an honor.

He was one of the most amazing raconteurs I've ever met. You were mesmerized when he told a story. And he had stories, every one of them a personal experience, every one of them funny as hell. He was always the butt of his own jokes, hero and comic relief. Despite his lifestyle, stabily employed and reliable.

It will be sad to raise many a toast to him this weekend, but he will be remembered fondly as he would have wanted, with uncountable stories where he is the comic relief, at biker parties in at least two states.

Crazy and wild as he was, his loss is greatest to those who never had the opportunity to meet him.

Donna A. said...

What an excellent tribute to him--from both of you.

I never had the opportunity to meet him, but have heard stories about him for years. And this Bitch(tm), #17, will be eternally grateful.

Ride free, Wildman.

George said...

Very nice tribute. I didn't make the service or the wake, but will always remember him as a unique individual. He did it his way, for sure.