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Monday, August 15, 2005

All about my Father 

About a week ago, I had a neat phone conversation with my father. There was the usual detail-oriented banter (advice on replacing a car battery, mostly), and we drifted into a conversation about his teenage passion, control-line model airplanes.

What followed (with diversions into some amusing stories of a recent old-timers flying meet) was one of the most remarkable insights into my father that I have had. He lit up when describing his passion in a way few people do. I was fascinated.

There's something to that: I've had some slightly scary conversations with fellow bike racers who admitted that they never felt more alive, or like anything mattered more than cycling. It's a scary revelation, especially if you're a perfectly normal person trying to convince family members that your hobby is just something you do to keep your weekends busy.

Why does this happen? Well, one explanation is that modern life is sufficiently unhazardous as to give us the leisure to take our leisure seriously. For men especially, I think that this sort of competitive, obsessive endeavour (especially when combined with a substantial adrenaline rush) is an easy thing to respond to. It's the same sort of draw as a video game, but with a stronger communal element, more visceral competition, and better graphics. Also, cycling specifically hurts old bones less than rugby (usually), and gives you a better waistline than golf.

Sometimes it's important to keep your passions in perspective, but sometimes it can be fun to take them just a little too seriously. Just don't tell anyone what you're doing.

Also, ask your parents about what they did when they were young. I'm talking to you, Supafamous. Ask your dad about his motorcycle racing.

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