Blazing Saddles

Here is another old article from 1992 about DC couriers. Yes they were already writing articles about the end of messengers in 1992. When I first read this in 1993 I didn’t know any messengers outside of my own city and I thought Scrooge and Su were awesome.  Scrooge would become one of my messenger heroes. He’s still awesome.

It’s was originally published in the New Republic and was republished in W. Hampton Sides’ book “Americana” in 2004.

Blazing Saddles

The decline and fall of bike messengers

By W. Hampton Sides (New Republic Vol. 207, New Republic,12-21-1992, pp 16.)

Tuesday through Friday nights, the bike messengers congregate at a Washington dive called Asylum for a little-known event, the “Courier Happy Hour.”At 6 p.m. they come skidding in from the streets, Lycra spider men with names like Beaver, Beetlejuice, and Bam Bam. Concrete cowboys with shaved legs and holstered Motorola radios, scabby knees and earrings, guys who look like some weird cross between Greg LeMond and Sid Vicious. Soon the place is reminiscent of the alien bar in Star Wars, all sorts of interesting-looking beasts and hard-shelled insects hobnobbing in the dim lounge, speaking a strange patois. “Made a major southwest slice, man. Cut a big hole in the traffic in front of this Murphy at Farragut and then I shredded ’em, man, had him eating my dust….”

The conversation often centers on perennial peeves — jaywalkers, elevators, security guards, cops, potholes, tourists, Capitol Hill metal detectors, suddenly opened car doors, or, most common of all, cabdrivers. “This cabbie’s cutting me off, so I kick in his fender. Then the prick flips me the bird. So at the light I take out my radio, ride up to his window, and bash him good across face, like this.”

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