Every five years, Milwaukee milks several hogs’ teats worth of dollars from bikers returning upstream whence their iron ponies spawned, and…okay, gotta cut back on the metaphors here.
So day and night, the air is filled with Harleys lustily farting potatoes, so Rose has to put on headphones at work and we have to turn on the A/C rather than open the windows at night. And far be it from me to criticize all those bucks flowing into the city’s coffers courtesy America’s motorcycle-loving gentlemen and ladies, but…sometimes I think the city just went straight to central casting and asked for several thousand biker-looking types.
Because about three-quarters of the bikers look exactly like you’d expect Harley guys to look, and most of that remaining quarter takes its visual cues from slightly less popular variations (i.e., the younger, thinner Harley guy rather than the older, fatter, graybearded Harley guy). And if seeing the same thing over and over again eventually renders it invisible, I think black and orange will be imperceptible to my vision by the end of this weekend.
The funniest thing to me is the cliche about bikers has it that they’re the last remaining bastion of freedom, individuality, and all that, wind blowing on the open road and brushing the dead bugs from their beards…and yet a more conformist, brand-oriented bunch of consumers I’ve never seen. And they roam in gaggles, like a bunch of freshman all Abercrombied and Hollistered, but branded with Harley-Davidson and lifestyle-appropriate hangers-on. (Mr. Daniel, I’m looking at you.) I can hardly blame every business in town for festooning itself in black and orange and cordoning off parking spaces with hastily lettered “BIKERS ONLY!!” signs, since obviously once this crowd dedicates itself to consuming something, it grips it like a pit bull and returns to it like Robert Downey Jr. to rehab.
Thus I’ve taken the liberty of redesigning the H-D logo and rendering it as a flag, to be flown until tattered from the proud sissy bars of Harleys everywhere: