It's been a good ride so far!

Since I was just a kid all I have ever wanted to do was to make people laugh or just smile. As a child, an educator sent a note home to my parents. It read; If your son thinks he is going to get through life making people laugh he is in for a RUDE AWAKENING! He is not living up to his potential. WELL, I'M STILL NOT! But at this site you will at least see me try. From the heart, thank you for even being interested, it means the world to me. I always say, I have not a single fan but many a friend!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fortitude, strength and dignity barely describe it!

The above photo was taken at 4:30 in the morning.  That is my mom, my sister, her seeing eye dog Dorothy and myself.  I had taken a late night flight and arrived only moments before she had to leave to go to the hospital to have surgery to try and beat cancer.  It's a few years now and it looks like it was a success, thank God.  I know, how can I only have pics of my mom and my sister that are a few years old in this day and age when damn near everything we own has a camera built in to it?  I have not seen them in that long.  Yes, I am a monster!  I don't know how the time goes by but somehow it does.  They still live in New Jersey and I have not been back since this emergency trip. 

As you guys know from my facebook post that some bad shit came down on my big sister yesterday.  So here is the deal and it will help you to understand a bit more and then when I tell you that I spoke to her today, she is fine and laughing you will not think that I exaggerated or am nuts!  My sister, Colleen, yes the Shit family has Irish roots, is an amazing individual.  She was born with Juvenile Diabetes and she was born in 1965.  The average life span for someone with this condition, born at that time was roughly about 25-29 years of age.  It's just the way it was back then.  The doctors would say that each day that she made it past that age was a gift.  While growing up, it was a time that you rarely ever questioned the doctor.  What the doctor said was correct and you went with it.  During her childhood we became quite use to my sister being literally at death's door and pounding on it a minimum of 2 times per year.  One was always around Christmas and the other around spring.  Don't get me wrong, there were other times and other years when it seemed that every few months, she would go in to what my mom called "insulin shock" and be rushed to the hospital at break neck speed because the orange juice or the candy didn't bring her back.  You would think that trauma like this would really screw a kid up, but it only made her a stronger, better person.

To make a REALLY long story shorter, let's jump ahead to later in her high school years.  She began to have all kinds of troubles that people with diabetes have when they are 70, not 17.  She began to have kidney trouble, she began to bleed behind her eyes, all kinds of horrible stuff.  As it turns out, that doctor nobody ever questioned had pretty much given her the wrong dosage of insulin her whole life!  Because of that, it had really taken a toll on her young body.  The blood vessels behind her eyes began to either collapse or burst.  They had given her some pain and some pressure but we had no idea at the time.  So here she is, 17 years old driving her bad ass Camaro Rally Sport, Judas Priest blaring on her 500 watt stereo rolling down the highway, lil 14 year old brother in the passenger seat smiling ear to ear feeling more cool than he had ever felt when suddenly she shot to the side of the road and pulled over!  "EVERYTHING IS RED" she said!  I laughed and said, "you are wearing rose colored glasses dumbass"!  But upon taking a second look, she had taken them off!  She would hold her hand over one eye and it would be crystal clear then the other eye and everything was like looking through a red lens!  It was not long after that it was both eyes!

Fast forward a bit and she graduates at the top of her class.  She goes off to college and is number one on the dean's list.  She was truly brilliant and an incredibly hard worker.  By the time she was 18 years old, she was a buyer for a department store back east called Bradlees.  She also began to have laser treatments to cauterize the bleeding blood vessels.  By this time, my parents had long been divorced and the only time we ever saw dad was when he would come down to take my sister for these treatments.  He always hated doctors.  If you remember an old post of mine that I wrote about him that went something like, "IF YOU NEVER GO TO THE DOCTOR, YOU WILL NEVER BE SICK".  This one day that he came down, they were sitting in the waiting room and it was standing room only.  The doctor was not in but there was a doctor covering for him.  He was way behind in his appointments!  My sister just kept saying, I don't feel good about this and that is all dad needed to hear, "let's get the hell out of here" he would say.  But my sister thought, he came all the way down here and if we leave, he would soon leave as well.  She said "no, we are here, let's just do it".  If only she had gotten up and left!  She went in to the treatment room where prior to the treatment, small injections of lidocaine would be delivered in to the retina to numb it for the laser.  A series of 3 or 4 shots each deeper than the last would numb it all the way to the core.  But the doctor was behind, he was in a rush so he pushed the needle in to her good eye, and pushed all of the lidocaine in, in one single shot.  HE MISSED THE RETINA AND GONE STRAIGHT IN TO HER EYE!  My sister felt nothing because he had numbed her but she knew something was wrong by the way the doctor screamed at the top of his lungs "NURSE"!  At the very same time, she heard my father gasp and fall back against the wall and collapse!  Now you have to understand, my father was a detective and the head of homicide for the city of Newark, New Jersey.  When he took the job, Newark had the highest crime rate on earth, it was quite an achievement.  There was nothing that he had not seen, nothing!  That is until it was his own daughter.  My sister's eye had blown up to the size of a lemon and was sticking straight out of the socket, barely hanging on by the retina!  FROM THAT MOMENT ON, my 18 year old sister would be blind!  My father blamed himself for not taking her out of the office of course!  My parents kept the doctors name from me because I was a maniac kid who wanted blood for this.  If he had just taken his time, if he had just checked where he was placing the needle, if he had just waited and done a little bit at a time like he was supposed to, but he didn't.  One month later, that doctor, under such incredible stress died from a massive heart attack and you know what?  HE GOT OFF EASY!  UNFORTUNATELY, THESE THINGS HAPPEN SOMETIMES!   That was the response from the Doctor's office, the attorneys involved and the insurance company.  She has diabetes and they would have happened eventually anyway, she never received a penny for this.

I don't know what I would have done if this was me.  At that age, I think I would have curled up and died or played the woes me card, but not her!  She just adapted.  To show her that she was no different to us, my friends and I would move the furniture around from it's normal location and then hide.  You would hear her scream as she would bang her knees or stub her toes, "Jackie, you mother fucker"!  We would laugh and then later so would she!  11 surgeries later at Will's Eye Hospital in Philly and they were not able to give her any of her sight back, not one tiny bit.  To this day, if she looks directly in to the mid day sun, all she can see is the needle hole of light that passes through from where the injection went in.  Also during this time, from all of the different meds that she was on, she developed a kidney infection from being in the hospital.  It has been non stop trouble from there.  Nearly 20 years now they have been saying that she will need a transplant one day.  It appears that the day is fast approaching and when it does, I will make up for all of the furniture moving and for being a shitty brother.  I just pray that I am a match! 

Rather than curl up and die, she tried all that she could to stay in college but there was no way for her to get there.  She later enrolled in the school for the blind and we all raised money for her to get a seeing eye dog.  She was not giving up.  While there, she met another person who had lost most of his sight from being sick and they hit it off.  After a few years of separation but keeping in touch, they began to date and later got married.  They produced the most beautiful boy, who is growing up to be an amazing young man.  The neighborhood that we grew up in is where she still lives to this day.  She knows each and every street and she walks all over.  Her son, my nephew promises that he won't let anything happen to her and has been in karate for nearly 6 years now and at 12 already holds a black belt!  I believe that he won't let anything happen to her!  This past year, her beloved seeing eye dog Dorothy got cancer and had to be put down.  So now, she is trapped in the house unless someone comes and takes her out.  I can't imagine how she does it, yet each and every day, no matter how sick she is, no matter how bad she feels and no matter how much pain she is in, she gets up, faces the day and ALWAYS puts people before herself!  She is truly an angel walking this earth, I have never known anyone like her and I have known a great many people!  She has held and broken the record twice now for the lowest blood sugar ever recorded without brain damage!  Each time she falls in to one of these comas, she laughs afterward and says, "I could really feel my brain sizzling on this one". 

So this last time was no different, her blood sugar dropped to 24 and after a direct injection of glucose it rose to 36 and that is when they revived her and put her in the ambulance.  Her body temp was below the lowest numbers on a thermometer and it took over 3 hours to raise her temp up to 96 degrees and that is with a hot water blanket on her.  The type they use if you fell through the ice in to the water.  Shortly after reaching 96 it began to drop again.  Yesterday was a real battle for her.  Each time this happens, she can hear everything going on but can't respond, she calls them her "low sugar dreams".  This time, she was dreaming that for some crazy reason, Gordon Ramsey was yelling her name and screaming at her.  She could not answer and didn't know why he was so damn mad.  After bringing her blood sugar up to a level where she was pulled from the coma she realized that one of her paramedics was Australian!  It wasn't Gordon Ramsey yelling at her, but a paramedic yelling to her that she was going to be okay and that they were there!  She laughed her ass off about this today!

All I can say is that when the time comes that I need to be the toughest I ever have to be, that I have half the strength, courage and fearlessness that she exhibits each and every single day!  Her battle is not over, it never will be and she knows this.  She just faces it each and every day with dignity and faith!  So now again, today she feels a bit hungover, but she is okay.  Your messages to me were overwhelming and I can't thank you all enough, from the bottom of my heart I swear I am so lucky to have you each in my life!  So say a prayer for the ones you love and hope to God that no one you care about ever has to live like she does.

Until we see each other again,

Keep the wind in your face,
Tits in your back
and The Man off your ass!

Your friend,
Jack Shit

Monday, August 22, 2011

Hardest Working Guys In The Business!

Most times, before we ever arrive at a rally, the WALL OF DEATH crew is already on property.  Often rolling in during the middle of the night!  As we complain about having to set up our tent or blow up our air mattress, the guys have the daunting undertaking of building THE WALL!  I only watched part of this process but by no means was it any less than back breaking!  They are the first to come and the very last to leave!  I had never really gotten to know any of the Wall crew prior to hosting this year at the Broken Spoke Campground and now wish I had taken the time earlier!  NOTHING BUT CLASS!  While on my ride to the Spoke, I had stopped to get gas about 40 miles or so outside of Deadwood and I was beat.  It would be a 687 mile day for us.  I turned on my phone as I had it off to conserve the battery and I had some messages.  One of those messages was from George The Painter and he had a real tone of concern in his voice.  "Hey man, where you at, we are having some insane weather here", "hope you are okay"!  Yes, GTP does have a heart!  50 weight pumps through it, but all in all, it is a heart.  Well that weather put the guys from the Wall well behind in their construction.  If that wall is not operational, they don't make a dime, if they don't make a dime, how do they even make it to the next event?  THEY DON'T!  The following day, they were still building the wall when it was announced that the Rolling Vietnam Memorial was on property, the opening ceremony would take place shortly but they needed volunteers to help construct it.  The guys from the wall stopped what they were doing instantly!  Now remember, no Wall, no money!  Each and every one of them went down the hill, behind the general store and went to work building the memorial wall.  I had nothing but mad respect for these guys before this, now, forget it, I can't put in to words the RESPECT, yes, there is that word again, that I have for these guys.  They put their work down, they put their income at risk and they went to help!  Fuck that's cool as shit! 
There is no insurance company on earth that will insure a Wall of Death rider and that sucks big time.  You guys know what the cost is when you go to the emergency room because you twisted your ankle, now imagine riding 50mph on a 16' high, 30' round wall of a cylinder and having something catastrophic happen!  I would bet the ranch you don't want that bill!  So they have a fund that they keep for when someone gets hurt.  Yes, they take care of their own, they are a family, the way this shit is supposed to be!  We watch these guys jump dirt bikes and we see the X games on tv, but this is the shit folks, this was America's first extreme sport and they are keeping it alive and well..... okay, maybe not well, but sure as hell alive!  Not well you ask?  Nope!  These are hands down some of the craziest bastards that I have ever had the pleasure to call my friends!  The word Death isn't in the name for no reason ya know!  On a side note, NEVER, EVER, go flat track racing, drunk, at 4am with anyone who has DEATH in their name!  It just doesn't work out in your favor.  One of the highlights of the rally and yes, I have a list of them, was following Mikey in his two wheel drive sidehack and the Jeremiah Weed nuts in their dune buggy on steroids and Jeremiah Lightning on his insane sporty off to HELP FLATTEN the overgrown flat track.  Mikey said "Jack, it's in bad shape", asshole me says, "well we should go see, right now"!  MISTAKE NUMBER ONE FOR STURGIS 2011 on my part!  Did you know that inside the oval of the flat track at the Broken Spoke County Line, there is a motocross track?  No?  Well neither did I!  But guess what?  IN FOURTH GEAR, WHILE CHASING THESE MANIACS, I FOUND IT!  I can also say that I now know for sure that the FXR is the most amazing modern bike Harley ever put out and did you know that they can fly too?  Yeah, I do now too!  Your friend Jack Shit nearly had Death is his title too!  One huge jump, one brutal landing and what I swore were two broken thumbs, I had to heed Jeremiah's warning of "this is really stupid man, really fuckin stupid" and ride back to the lot!

As the week went on I did all I could to make sure that people got to take in at least one wall show and each person that I sent over came right back to me and said "that's the baddest thing I've ever seen"!  They too were absolutely correct!  My schedule was so hectic there that I barely had a moment to get my head straight and I had given the FXR a serious smack down on the flat track.  Well on the part of it that I   managed to find anyway.  The bike was barely running, I blew a fork seal and to make matters worse, the carb was pissing gas out of it!  I had really done a job on her.  With 15 minute breaks between band sets, it is really hard to put your bike back together and with the property being so massive, it took me half that long to walk from one place to another (up until flat track night I had ridden to all these places).  Handsome Charlie Ransom repeatedly told me, "Jack, get that fucking thing over here and let me get a look at it" so I did, then 30 minutes later, I would fire her up and take off, sputtering and spitting my way up the hill!  Eventually, I made it back to the Wall, pulled off the carb and had to run back to work.  Upon my return, I found the entire bike put back together, filled with gas and ready to go.  What an amazing gesture of friendship!  I have got to tell you that being around these guys was amazing.  They truly made my Sturgis Rally 2011.

I can't think of a single night that once the work was done at the Wall, that I did not turn around to be handed a drink or given a hug or to hear my name being screamed at the top of one or more of these maniacs lungs!  They supported me like nothing I have ever seen and I will never forget it!  I was sure as hell not the only one who woke up in the morning more than once with no voice!  I will never forget these guys!  It more or less became a running joke, I would scream "WALL OF DEATH IN THE HOUSE" and they would scream "JACK SHIT".  Incredible memories!

Hands down, one of the highlights of not only the Sturgis Rally at the Broken Spoke but no bullshit, of my life, was when Wahl E. Walker, man I love that name, invited me in to see the show from inside the Wall!  If you have seen the show from the top, you know how amazing it is.  This pales in comparison to being able to see the show from inside.  I know most everyone will never get to experience this and that is truly too bad because it is mind blowing.   These guys are men of honor, respect and loyalty!  They have been at the Spoke for years now on nothing more than a hand shake deal and if you can't RESPECT that, what can you RESPECT?  People who mean what they say and say what they mean, hell, it's virtually unheard of anymore!  This is one cohesive unit, one family and it shows!  Hell, on the final night of the rally, after the food vendors had packed up their tents and trucks these guys even fed me dinner!  Tell me where can you get Spaghetti at a bike rally?  AT THE FUCKING WALL OF DEATH THAT'S WHERE! 

 On the last night of the rally, we were all hanging up on the VIP balcony next to the stage and J. Lightning was killing me with limericks and "poetry" so to speak.  I mean here is this guy who has seen it all, who barely spoke and then in a fury, spit out some of the fastest and funniest shit that I have ever heard in my life!  There are days that I can't remember my phone number and here he is remembering 75 lines from something that he learned as a young guy, incredible!  The entire time there, a documentary was being filmed on the Wall crew and I can't wait to see it, these guys deserve all the good that come their way!

I bet you guys thought that I would forget the FOX IN THE BOX.  Hell no!  What a sweetheart and hard worker as well.  "Don't forget the garlic bread" she said and my night was made!

So next time you see these guys at a fair or a bike rally, dig deep in that pocket, hold your money over the top rail and let them come snatch right out of your hot little hand!  This Sturgis Rally at the World Famous Broken Spoke Saloon would have never been the same without the crew from the Wall of Death.  As a friend said to me 2 nights ago, "I applaud and RESPECT YOU"! 


Until we see each other on the road,

Keep the wind in your face,
Tits in your back
and The Man off your ass!

Your friend,
Jack Shit