WHEN I WAS in high school I was on the football team and we were TURRRRRUBLE. Our starting quarterback was in a bunch of AP classes. Our coaches made us listen to "In the Air Tonight" by Phil Collins in the locker room before games to get us excited. I think one guy on the team was doing steroids, but he never lifted weights, he just did steroids and sat around and waited. It was an unlikely football team—a collection of Papa Roach "metal" heads, Copenhagen-spitting good ol' boys whose parents worked in finance, and deflatable, nebbish suburban academics—and none of us were good at football. Still, this group of total fucking dorks were labeled "jocks"—an unfair designation that bothers me to this day. A jock is a bully, a knucklehead, someone who unfeelingly elevates their status above the shuddering masses, at the cost of those masses, ignorant to the fact that their glory is HELLA temporary. A jock is cotton candy, unaware that it's about to start raining.
We get too comfortable with archetypes and throw them around unthinkingly. Portland has jocks, and I don't mean athletes, I mean FUCKING JOCKS. You see them swerving around on their custom-built bicycles, specially fabricated to ape a Jamaican flag color scheme, shouting at pedestrians who dare step in their way, spitting on cars, ruining days. You're jock dickheads and you've tracked your reduced carbon footprints all over my beautiful city's spiritual carpet.
Please don't think I mean every bicyclist, because you know I don't. So many of you are approaching angelic in your steadfast commitment to a better way of living. You wave each other safely through intersections and cruise peacefully through sun-kissed streets and you make me nostalgic for your existence even while I'm witnessing it and I want to hug you. I'm not talking about you. I'm talking about the doorknobs who heckle broken-down motorists with cries of "Wouldn't have happened if you rode a bike!" Y'all are the scumbag progeny of the wrong way to make a point. Your cousins are the Westboro Baptists. Your existence is a Harley-Davidson speeding past a restaurant's patio. The good news is, you can stop—it's best for you, it's best for Portland.
Stop pretending your obnoxious temperament is some noble reaction to the automobile. You're selfish just like the rest of us, cop to it. You wear your exceptionalism like a bulletproof vest, absorbing the shame-bullets that might kill the monster who lives inside you. Yo, that vest looks ridiculous when you almost run over a pre-teen crossing the street. Fuck yeah they were texting, they're a child. You're not. Quit acting like one.
Stop swerving through traffic like you're the main character in a successful TV show. I know it takes a little while longer to get places when you follow the rules, but next time you pedal by one of those ghost-bikes chained to a tragic intersection, take a second to reflect on your vulnerability, not just to gnash your teeth about somebody's Buick.
People will still fuck you if you're nice. It's okay to ride your bike with empathy. I know this shit seems serious now, but in 10 years you won't even remember what your team's final record was—but we'll remember you trying to stuff us in a locker. Fucking jocks.