My father Stan Glazer, promised me that if I made a B average, was a starter on the football team and stayed out of trouble, he’d make sure I got a RUPP MINI BIKE FOR CHRISTMAS. Man was I excited late that summer. I was about to turn 15. And all the cool kids had mini bikes.
They looked like small motorcycles and could get up to around 55 miles per hour on the street. No more pedaling my ten-speed up all those hills to go to school and football practice. Yeah, this was gonna be great. No more asking mom for rides.
And the girls would be all over it.
Some kids even made their mini bikes in metal shop. With ugly, cheap lawn mower engines that sucked but were better than nothing. Yeah, this would be the greatest Christmas ever. I couldn’t wait.
I made the team, played OK, even went to all my classes. No skipping class when a Rupp mini bike was at stake. Near the holiday we got our grades. And sure as shooting I got two A’s, two B’s and a C. Clearly a B average. I proudly gave the report to good ole’ dad. He smiled and said, "Great job son."
With Christmas a few days off, I just hoped it didn’t snow so I could ride that bad boy all over the neighborhood. Show off my prize, you know. After all, I’d earned it, didn’t I?
T’was the night before Christmas and all through the house, nothing was moving, not even my two little, jerk-off brothers. We were all asleep. Well, I wasn’t. I was too excited. Around 4 AM I heard a noise in my room,
You know, the ‘clatter’ woke me.
I opened one eye, looked at the end of my bed and there in the dim light of the moon I saw it. It shined, it sparkled, it glowed,
It was a God Damn Typewriter!
I went back to sleep, surely this was a bad dream, a very bad dream.
I reawoke around 7 AM, hoping for the change out. Nope still a typewriter. No mini bike in sight. I went to the garage, maybe he didn’t want to drag it into my bedroom. Just my old 10-speed out there. Nothing major in the living room. COME ON MAN!
I had the grades, I made the team, I was a good teenager. I got JACKED. Worst XMAS EVER.
My Dad said he didn’t feel it was safe for me to have that mini bike. The typewriter made way more sense. Even though I was a teenager, I wanted to cry.
Know what made it worse?
Later that year my little brother Jeff, who was an A student and starting quarterback his freshman year, as well as a top notch shortstop in 3 and 2, did get a brand new mini bike. And I was not allowed to ride it even though I was pushing 16 and soon had my student drivers card. So I could drive mom’s car sometimes.
But I couldn’t wait. So one day I stole Jeff’s mini bike and went to the practice field to learn how to be a field goal kicker. I even took the neighbor kid with me so he could watch me hit 35 yarders. Yep, field goal kicking, that was the ticket. Then on the way to practice, I crashed the bike on a sand trap on Calvin’s Hill near the school. My leg dipped and hit the ground for a moment. I came right up and never totaled out the bike. My friend fell off and then saw my knee. He pointed to it.
"Your knee cap is gone!" I had clipped the sand at 40 mph and took my kneecap off. Blood everywhere. Cops came and took me to hospital. I got wire put in my knee. Never kicked again. I got grounded, hit and yelled at…the usual.
So much for mini bikes.
Funny, I did learn to type fast. Got up to 90 words a minute by my second year in high school. Later that helped me in prison camp. Because I was the fastest typist at Boron Federal Prison. Yep, it got me to the airbase so I could be free in the days and chase Air Force chicks. Later it helped me write movie scripts and even a book – well, I had help on that one – but it got published and made me some great dough.
Maybe it wasn’t such a bad Christmas that day. I just didn’t see what was gonna happen down the road. Still as I look back, it was a sad, rough day when that mini bike was not there as promised. Even more sad, it’s the Christmas I remember most.
Have a Happy Holiday "And to All a Good Night."