Last night, Iwanski and I were taking a walk in our neighborhood. As we took in the sights, smells, and sounds of a beautiful, bustling Friday night in Chi-town, Iwanski commented on overpopulation, politics, and the propensity of many people to steal if given the right opportunity. Although in many cases his words were laced with humor, I just couldn’t ignore the slightly negative tone that seemed to be part of everything he said.
I stopped and smiled at him. “I challenge you to not saying anything negative or sarcastic for the next ten minutes,” I said.
“Why?” he asked. “Hey, my being that way is just part of my schtick, part of my humor.”
“Seriously,” I replied. “I’ll bet you can’t go ten minutes without saying anything negative or sarcastic.”
“Okay, fine,” he said, giving in.
Suddenly, almost on cue, a bunch of people on a bicycle tour came riding past us. They were all wearing these really dorky matching helmets, they all had huge smiles on their faces, and many of them were ringing their little handlebar bells when they went past us. And honestly—well, with their helmets, and their bell-ringing, and their gigantic smiles, they all looked pretty geeky.
“Oh, man…are you kidding me?” Iwanski asked incredulously. “I can’t say anything here?”
I laughed. “They look like they’re having a good time,” I said, as several of them waved at us and rang their bicycle bells.
It was almost too much for Iwanski to handle. Through clenched teeth, he said, “Yes, they seem to be taking a lot of enjoyment from their activity.”
I laughed my ass off as the last of the helmeted bicyclists rode by, smiling and waving.
I looked up at the night sky and smiled broadly. “See, God has a sense of humor,” I said. “Thanks, God!”
Somehow, Iwanski made it through the next few minutes without a sarcastic blunder—except when he started to say that a passing CTA bus was “likely full of miscreants.”
And now, every time I think about those bicyclists, I start giggling. I’ll always remember my heaven-sent cavalry of dorks on bikes.