Friday Ficks: Why you need a white rabbit now

Published on Thursday, 18 February 2021 20:58
Written by Carl R. Ficks, Jr.

One of the most iconic psychedelic rock songs is "White Rabbit," written by Grace Slick and released when she joined Jefferson Airplane in 1966. An exquisite bolero, "White Rabbit" reaches a fever pitch in the fourth and final verse when Grace plaintively wails "When logic and proportion. Have fallen sloppy dead."

Today, logic and proportion have certainly “fallen sloppy dead.” So how do you make sense of the rabbit hole into which you (and all of us) have tumbled?

For me, it is relying on something that has never failed me since I could walk - my bike.

In the early '70's, I bombed around the neighborhood in my trusty Schwinn Stingray, plowing through the woods, thumping over curbs and pounding down the concrete stairs of a neighboring high school. I so often flattened the tires that my father put me on the clock - only one new tire per month.

We moved 70 miles north to Berlin when I turned 9 but I never stopped, and the ride which carried me through the next decade was a 10-speed Raleigh Record. My Raleigh took me everywhere, and jumping on that bike just made sense to me.

I'd ride to my friend Richie's house in New Britain and we'd take off for the day, hammering to Rogers Orchards and then downtown to Capitol Lunch for the best chili dogs on the east coast. If the spirit moved us, and we had enough change in our pocket, we'd finish up back in Berlin at Dairy Queen. By the time I pedaled home for dinner I had at least 25 miles under my belt. Euphoria.

My bike was to me as the blanket was to Linus. My white rabbit. It was also my Wonka ticket, the key to endless treats and today my road bike continues to be that blanket, that white rabbit, and that ticket.

So in 2020 when logic (we have to wear masks?) and proportion (we have to social distance for how long?) fell sloppy dead, I reached for my bike, because it just made sense to me.

I still feel the euphoria I experienced when in the saddles of the Schwinn Stingray and Raleigh Record of my youth. I still find comfort wrapping my hands around the handlebars, working the gears and settling into my pedaling cadence. I still yearn for the rushing wind in my face on the steep descents. I still embrace the endless potential of the bike, where the only limits are my imagination and the juice left in my legs.

My bike just makes sense to me. In these trying times, find your white rabbit - something that just makes sense to you, or something that made sense to you many years ago. It could be a bike, hiking boots, a skateboard, running shoes, a baseball glove or a surfboard. Whatever it is, and if you can do it safely, then get to it because I know it will lead you out of the rabbit hole into which we've all been driven, restoring both logic and proportion to your life in 2021.

Carl Ficks helps athletes and aspiring athletes set and achieve their goals. He once could not run two miles without stopping, but has since run and cycled thousands of miles and competed in dozens of road and bike races of all shapes, sizes and distances, from three to 100 miles. Carl moved to Berlin in the 4th grade but later ran away to practice law in New Britain for many years. He's also a proud member of The Generale Ameglio Society. When you're ready to get back in the game, go to www.carlficks.com .



Posted in The Bristol Press, Column, Editorials on Thursday, 18 February 2021 20:58. Updated: Thursday, 18 February 2021 21:01.