The Go-Kart

One of the greatest things to enter my world prior to obtaining my driver's license was a used go-kart.

My folks had a yard that was big enough to turn some laps in the bag yard as long as you paid close enough attention to dodge the pine trees and our German Shepherd.

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It was that go-kart that with my Dad's tutelage taught me a healthy respect for the coil on a two-cycle engine. Yeah, Pop always had a sense of humor, and it tickled him to see me get shocked.

One street over from our family home was the remains of the abandoned high school football field. The grand stands and goal posts were gone, but what remained was a flat wide asphalt oval course that circled the old playing field. That asphalt oval made a perfect go-kart track. On the occasional Saturday, my Dad would allow us to ride the go-kart over there and turn some laps around the old field.

One such Saturday, I rode over to the old field and met some neighborhood kids that also had a go-kart and soon a race was  started. The two go-karts seemed equally matched, so getting an advantage was challenging. Finally on the third lap, I dove to the inside of the asphalt track to get the advantage through the turn. Suddenly I saw a foreboding image in my line of sight - a huge fire ant hill.

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With no time to change course, The belly pan of the go-kart sliced the top of the mound off hurling three-quarters of the mound of fire ants onto me and the go-kart. Suddenly fire ants were up both my pant legs. Both of my legs become a stinging inferno.

I slammed on the brakes, killed the ignition, and hopped of the go-kart. Abandoning all modesty for self-preservation, I kicked off my tennis shoes, unbuckled my belt, and shed my Levis in front of God and half of the neighborhood kids. Kicking, screaming, twitching, I am sure I looked like a combination of someone dancing the "Icky Shuffle" and having a seizure all at the same time.

Because my Dad was so overcome with the humor of the sight, he could do nothing to help me as he was paralyzed with laughter and tears. I eventually was able to rid myself of all of the stinging/biting devils, beat my Levis against a pine tree to get all of the fire ants out of them, and was able to put back on my pants and ride home.

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I lost that race that day, but gave it no second thought. It took a few weeks to live down the jokes at school about my pantless dancing. I learned to watch carefully for fire ant hills when riding go-karts.

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