The Bakery: Why I Own a Guitar

I have a guitar that's been collecting dust in the corner for the better part of six years. I keep it for the same reason crazy bingo ladies keep troll dolls. I'm superstitious. I believe that selling this unloved, unused guitar will result in an injury and I would need a new hobby to fill the temporary void left by mountain biking. This new hobby, obviously, would be learning the power cords to Rock You Like a Hurricane.

Why are we so afraid of getting injured? There are the obvious reasons, like pain, inconvenience, expensive medical bills, and bad hospital food. But what else is going on in our heads about it? There is almost a competitive nature to our reports on how quickly we've gotten back to riding post injuries. I've watched people shave down their casts so they can fit their hand on a set of drops and hit jumps in Whistler after much too recent concussions. One friend is the proud owner of a cadaver ligament as his eagerness to ride post surgery resulted in unsatisfactory healing. I like to ask him if his leg feels haunted.

When I broke my collarbone, yes it is ironic that the one injury that has kept me off my bike for any length of time also kept me from mastering any Hendrix, the doctor told me that I would be off my bike for six weeks. Somehow this information triggered an outpouring of boastful reports of 4-week or less recovery times. Apparently there was a race for me to get back on two wheels and I wasn't entirely sure that my underachieving collarbone was up to the challenge. In the same vein I often see status updates on facebook to the effect of "The doctor told me I can't ride yet, but I'm going anyway." What are we so afraid of missing by being off our bikes?