Number 18

Me and my Guerciotti…

Somewhere in the archives is a story about my epiphany after a bicycle race. Before the race, I was dead-set on a Guerciotti.

“That’s what I need: a handmade Italian beauty looking like Michelangelo’s Pieta on wheels. I could be fast, then, like a real racer. As fast as water spewing from a hydrant.”

Instead, I rode a Kobe. A Kobe. Who ever heard of a Kobe? Who’s ever seen a Kobe? It was a Japanese bike made for the California market and for poseurs who lightened their hair with sun and lemon juice. It might as well have had John Deere decals.

I won the race – a twenty-mile time trial – by twenty minutes. Middle-Georgia produces many things but not bike racers. I sat at the finish line and saw Guerciottis come in well after me. And Bianchis and Peugeots and Raleighs. I realized that fancy and expensive doesn’t automatically translate into good, best, or fast. I’ve pondered this truism several times over the years.

In fact, I thought about this recently after buying a stereo component magazine. If I had only paged through the thing, I would have saved six bucks. You see, I have a hankering for classic stereos – meaning 1970s-era components – and the cover of this magazine announced loud and clear as I walked by the shelf at Barnes & Noble that this was the TURNTABLE ISSUE! I had to have it.

I got home, drew a cup of decaf, and then sat on the couch to waft back to 1975 and imagine when I played Dark Side of the Moon or Sabbath’s Volume IV 17,000 times on my cheap ol’ JVC. Let me tell ya: nothin’ in this magazine was cheap. Or inexpensive. Or cost less than a used VW bug. They reviewed five turntables, and the least expensive was $14,000. That’s a fourteen followed by three zeros! Fourteen times one-thousand. Almost a year of mortgage payments for me. I tossed the magazine and shook my head, wondering what has gotten into people.

So, I’m either poor as dirt or smart enough to know when I’m being had. I think it’s the latter. And I found a nice refurbished JVC on eBay – just like I had – for two hundred bucks. Maybe it even has DM scratched onto the back plate. Wouldn’t that be sweet?


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