It was the best of times, it was the worst of times: recent additons to one of my many collections

In an earlier post, I mentioned a longish climb (by local standards) that is part of my daily commute. On that climb, I often find myself looking down as I ride slowly, and have thus found money, smashed cell phones and several other items on the road . As it turns out, riding very slowly uphill can literally pay off, particularly when you find a ten dollar bill on your way to work. It was near that climb that I also came up on an amazing still-life not long ago, one which spoke volumes about America's youth and its gregarious spirit. Either that, or it spoke of a depressing night that consisted of cheap beer and an Aerosmith cassette.

As exciting as these finds have been, it's hand written notes that most often catch my attention. I stop when I see any piece of paper, in hopes that it will contain notes like the ones below. These are my most recent finds. I have several more like them, all of which must come from one of several school bus stops along that long-ish climb. Have any of you found any notes or items like this while riding?

Exhibit A:

This person's strategy for dealing with bullies is valid, but I still feel that the approach I took during my youth was far better. I chose to take severe beatings with panache, and thus became my school's de facto, foreign-born punching bag. It may not work for everyone, but it got me through those first years in the United States...and just look at me now!

Exhibit B:

In the world of literature, few first lines have managed to compete with the likes of, "Call me Ishmael", and "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times". At least that was the case until I found this note. In plainly stating "Talking about stuff", Gina leaves the door wide open to any number of adventures that this note may take us on. Sadly, much like the Schleck brothers trying to win anything, the note fails to deliver on its promising start. Unlike a Schleck loss, however, this note does manage to give us something worth mentioning after the fact, namely the fact that it was penned on the back of a very sizable receipt from a local bowling alley. That may not seem very exciting at all, but when you compare it to a boring loss by the Shclecks, it actually seems downright thrilling.

Exhibit C:

Having endured much taunting as a young man (my sizable mullet, gold chain and abundant Brut cologne didn't go unnoticed by my fellow seventh graders), I certainly sympathize with Gracie's plight. They stole her Nintendo DS, which is terrible. I remember when a kid in the school bus tried to take my Walkman, along with the Slayer tape that was in it. So while I understand her anger, I'd strongly ask Gracie to reconsider her friendship with La-La, who appears to be a world-class psychopath with a taste for violent torture the likes of which has not been witnessed since the Saw, Saw II, III, IV, V, VI and/or Saw 3D.

Lastly, I wanted to share this video with you, even though it has nothing to do with cycling. Why? Because like me, you've probably heard that the roads in Flanders are narrow, challenging and potentially dangerous for bike racing. Having ridden my bike there at decidedly non-race speeds, I must agree with that notion. But watch the video below, and fast forward to about 8 minutes to see the other Tour of Flanders. Enjoy.