The Helmet Slap
THE HELMET SLAP
Push bike riding around the Swan River was always a treat, especially when it was just mum, my new dad and I. Often we would hire the bikes, but this time, we’d decided to take our own. We hitched the bikes to the back of dads Falcon ‘The Ballroom on wheels’ as mum called it and made our way to the river.
Mum checked my helmet to make sure it was safely secured, while dad checked my brakes and chain. After a few hours (or so it would have seemed to any straight headed, excitable eight-year-old) we were finally ready to kick off.
I sped ahead as always, ignoring the calls from my parents. I knew the route, I would catch up with them at the half way mark, where we’d stop and have lunch and ice cream.
Usually I forgot to take some money of my own; this day however, was different. Unbeknown to my parents I was armed with a five dollar note and an abundance of energy. I raced around scoffing myself with as much candy as possible before lunch.
My parents finally arrived and I flashed a multi-coloured smile, causing the usual “She’s not my kid” look. After lunch dad attempted refusing me ice cream, claiming that I’d clearly had enough sugar, much to my disgust. We began a political argument which ended with an eye roll and one elated child.
Still with ice cream in mouth, my sticky hands gripped the handle bars ready for take-off. I powered my legs and half a kilo of energy burst from me, as I raced my bike along the pathway. Barely out of the car park, my dad let out a yell that was an obvious cause for concern and I snapped my head back to look at him. I hadn’t even realised I’d sped straight across the road until I heard the screeching tyres.
Luckily the driver had seen me coming and I made it across unharmed, though more than a little shaken. I waited for my furious father to catch up, knowing I was in deep trouble. Ranting and raving, my dad reached out an arm and gave me the usual clip behind the ear. I listened in silence, before quietly moving to follow dad the rest of the way.
Mum balanced her bike next to mine and before long my sugar hype kicked back in. “Dad’s really stupid” I piped “He helmet smacked me and I didn’t feel a thing.”
Dad’s bike tyres squealed to a halt, he jumped off his bike and was beside me in one swift movement. He pulled me off my bike, turned me around and planted a well measured smack on my rear.
I rode the rest of the way standing up, avoiding the bumps, in an attempt to protect my tender bottom.
We joke about it now, but I still remember quite vividly the day I learnt which of us was the more stupid out of dad and I.
Who seriously thinks a smack with an open hand across the back of a bike helmet is going to get your point across??
Yeah, well I know that Dad is going to read this later, so I’m just going to admit defeat, because 25 years later and I still remember that getting a point across with a slap on a tender bottom works quite well.
Love you Dad.