The need for speed isn’t a new thing with me (witness the photo above, at the ripe old age of three). My first motorcycle ride was when I was five, during a trip to Hungary. I was already mightily impressed with my big cousin, Dani, but after a ride on his motorcycle, I became a permanent fixture by his side. He plopped me, helmetless, on top of the gas tank, and off we went. I still remember the exhilaration I felt as the wind blew at my face and whipped my hair around, but I felt safe leaning into Dani with my back. I have no idea what type of motorcycle it was (see photo… Vera, Dani’s wife, Edit, my cousin and Dani’s sister and Dani).
Dani passed away several years ago, a victim to cancer (of the lung, if I’m not mistaken… he was a smoker). I’ve lost many to cancer in my family… many cousins and aunts and uncles on my mother’s side, and my father as well. Some of it could have been avoided, perhaps, as in the case of my father, who got lung cancer as well. He smoked Camel plain, and worked at MacDonald Tobacco, a Canadian subsidiary for RJ Reynolds, as a machine fitter. I often wonder whether cancer is mostly a genetic ailment, or whether it is a by-product of the environment.