Born to be wild -- and irresponsible

ROGER SIMON $

January 12, 1992|By ROGER SIMON

Live fast, die young, and leave a beautiful corpse.

That is my motto. I ride a motorcycle. I do not wear a helmet.

Call me Barney Braindead.

I won't wear a helmet because I have a Constitutional right not to.

Where is that in the Constitution? I don't know exactly, but I think it comes right after my Constitutional right to throw beer cans out my car window.

Sure that's in there! This is America, man! You don't like it here, go live in Russia where everybody has to wear a helmet even when they are sleeping.

I'm not making that up! I read that in a cycle magazine and they do not lie.

Whazzat? Do I have to wear a seat belt when I drive a car? Sure. But that's different than wearing a helmet when I drive a cycle.

What's the difference? Well, like a seat belt is a belt, see? But a helmet is like a helmet, see?

Big difference.

In Maryland they know the difference, anyway. That's why I'm moving there. I used to live in California, but California passed this law making all motorcyclists wear helmets as of Jan. 1.

I don't understand how it happened. One-fifth of all the motorcyclists in America live in California. We had power.

Every time those geezoids in the state legislature wanted to pass a helmet law, we'd get on our cycles and ride around the capitol. And they'd give in!

Yeah, man, they had about as much backbone as tofu. And if they started making serious noise about helmet laws, all we'd do is hire a lobbyist to spread a few bucks around.

So why did California finally pass the helmet law? Money. Root of all evil if you ask me.

California finally ran out of the money to pay for our hospital bills. See, if you're on a cycle and have an accident, it can be a one-way ticket to Vegetable City real easy. I mean you go over the handlebars and it's call me Mr. Cauliflower!

And the taxpayers got all upset because they work hard for a living, blah, blah, blah and then had to pay our hospital bills for us.

So the geezoids pass this helmet law because helmets cut down accidents and cut down hospital bills.

So now in California if you ride without a helmet, you get a $100 fine for the first time, $200 for the second, and $250 for the third.

So no way I am staying in California, man! You know how much beer you can buy for $250?

Maryland is the place for me. No helmet laws in Maryland. State legislature votes it down every year.

You get in an accident in Maryland and you can't pay the hospital bill? Taxpayers pay the hospital bill. Or the hospitals pay the bill and they pass the cost on to the other patients.

Why do you think an aspirin costs $4 in a hospital, man? Because the hospital has got to take care of guys like me for free!

I mean is this a great country or what?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I heard they got Governor Pumpkinhead in Maryland who says he really wants a helmet law this year. But I also hear this governor is about as popular as stomach cramps.

They also got this bozo named Nelson Sabatini, who is, wait a second, I wrote it down, "Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene."

So you can guess what kind of geek he must be. Anyway, he has got this bill making all motorcycle riders carry catastrophic health care insurance to pay for their own medical costs!

Motorcycle riders would have to pay $250-$300 per year for this insurance! Man, I can buy saddle bags for that kind of money!

This Sabatini says that in 1990 the average cost of taking care of one of us motorcycle riders when we were hospitalized "exceeded $24,000 per person with many exceeding $100,000."

He also says "in Fiscal Year 1988, 28 percent of motorcyclists hospitalized had no health insurance. This is twice the rate of uninsured in the general population."

Of course it is, man! That's because we are not stupid! If some dumbo working stiff is going to pay the bill for me, why should I pay for it myself?

It costs Maryland taxpayers millions and millions of dollars each year to take care of guys like me. And each year, the state legislators vote down helmet bills and vote down insurance bills.

I mean you look up the word "sucker" in the dictionary and it has a picture of Maryland next to it!

Gotta split.

Gonna roar over to Annapolis with the wind in my hair and scare those geezoids.

And I'm telling all my buddies to move to Maryland, too.

C7 They don't call it The Free State for nothing, man!

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