Essay on uniing

The following is an essay which I wrote on unicycling for English. = I
didn’t want it to go to waste without ever being seen by any uniists besi=
des my brother. Please excuse the serious tone, which in neccesary due to
th= e fact that it was written for a strict teacher. =

                                             -Ben Martin

P.S. Private flames would be prefered.


  • Did You Lose Your Other Wheel?

      Images of a peaceful ride through the park floated through my mind as I
      = went inside to change into comfortable attire. Once I had traded jeans
      for sh= orts and a sweatshirt for a loose t-shirt, I grabbed my unicycle
      and took off toward the park. A short while later I reach the start of
      the trail that leads through Blossom Hill Park. I know the park well
      from my daily rides through it o= n the way to and from school on my
      bike. It holds some magic with which th= e str eets can not compete. The
      air feels lighter and the rolling grass is gen= tle upon the eye.
      Sometimes, at just the right time in the late afternoon, a=

cool breeze flows through and the sun hits just at the right angle to fee= l
warm, but not hot. All of these, however, can not compete with the peopl=
e.At around five in the afternoon, the park is seething with the energy radiated
by the people milling around. Small children playing on the pla= ygrou nd are
a joy to watch, as are the adults watching over them with peculiar=

expressions, half of fear and half of joy. The tennis courts abound with= the
sound of tennis balls and the occasional racket hitting the ground. =

Everywhere there are people walking or jogging, some with dogs, some with=

friends, and some by themselves. Each part of the park is a joy, but the=

whole of it is much more than the sum of its parts. =

    I entered the park with the hope that the experience would be as
    enjoyab= le on a unicycle as it was on bike or foot. A few yards into
    the park, a group of roller bladers came speeding down = the path. Their
    first reaction was astonishment, demonstrated by the utteran= ce of
    =93Woah!=94, =93Cool!=94, and =93Awesome!=94. One of the baggy clothe= d
    boys, obviously the leader, was not content to let anyone or anything
    else hold= the center of attention for long, so he decided to do
    something about it. As= the others admired the unicycle, a smile
    suddenly spread across his face. =

    =93Where is your other wheel?=94 he asked with a smirk.
    A bout of laughter followed and the leader felt good again, his

restored. Satisfied, the bladers continued on their way. What a jerk! = I
thought, and put it out of my mind. I rode by a group of children waiting= to be
picked up after school and was suddenly inundated with questions on my=

uni. =

    =93How do you stay on it?=94 =93Can I ride it?=94 =93What happens when

ou fall off?=94 and =93Did you break your bike?=94 were just a few of the
multitude of qu= estions that the little cretins asked. To make matters worse,
perhaps because the=

children knew that they did not have much time, the questions were asked = at an
unbearable speed. Though perhaps well meaning, their questions seemed
intentionally cruel, especially for people so young to say. In hindsight= ,
their questions were only natural and I probably would have done the same= if I
were in that situation at that age. =

    Since I could stand no more, I hastily exited to the street, which I
    the= n followed to the rear end of the park. Entering the park from this
    side l= ed me by the wooden jungle gym. Suddenly, all activity stopped
    as I rode by= and all eyes turned toward me. An eerie stillness
    persisted as I rode by. O= ne of the little children started to ask the
    all too familiar question about= the location of my other wheel, when
    his mother quickly stopped him. Other t= han that, some concealed
    murmurs were all I heard. As I continued, I heard a=

child ask his mother, =93What was that?=94
=93Just a funny bicycle. Don=92t worry about it.=94 came the reply. So=
me of the other adults grunted in agreement. I was shocked that someone would
act = as if riding a unicycle was an unfortunate malady and unicyclists needed
to = be defended from overly curious children. Resisting the urge to turn
around= and forcibly correct the parents, I continued home. =

    At the time, I was unable to fully understand the reactions of the
    peopl= e in the park, largely because the speed of the incidents and the
    rapidity wit= h which they occurred made incident hard to endure. Now,
    when I think abou= t the whole incident logically, the reactions of the
    people in the park wer= e understandable. I was expecting the reaction
    of the older children from w= hat I had heard on the internet and was
    dreading it in the back of my mind wh= en I entered the park. I was not
    really prepared for the reaction of the youn= ger children, since all
    the children that age I regularly see are accustomed = to my hobby and
    have long since just considered it a mild curiosity. I coul= d relate to
    the curiosity of the children in the school yard and understand= the
    thought process behind their actions. =

    The reaction of the adults was what really surprised me, and I still
    can= not fully understand it. The best theory that I have to explain the
    actions = of the adults was that they were too interested in me to
    continue with what = they had been doing but too polite to ask
    questions, leading to silent staring= on their part. It was almost as if
    I were going by on a wheelchair. =

    This incident shows several truths about curiosity and maturity in
    human= ity as a whole. The children, lacking in the social training of
    the adults, expressed whatever questions came to mind. Their openness
    allowed them t= o demonstrate their natural curiosity, which, when
    presented with unfamilia= r stimuli, is quite strong. The many questions
    that they asked could be interpreted as a demonstration of how much
    innate curiosity there is in e= ach of us. =

    The older children showed curiosity, but tried to hide it with insults.
    Their insults came partly out of a realization that someone had noticed
    t= heir attention, which made them embarrassed, and partly out of a need
    to make themselves feel normal. Their actions demonstrate how the stigma
    against openly acknowledging interest in something that is out of the
    ordinary is=

present; however, they are lacking in a proper method to exonify themselv= es.
Another factor that is present is the idea that by acknowledging interes= t in
something else, one is drawing attention away from themselves and thus
diminishing their status. The actions of the adults show how curiosity becomes
buried under a heav= y layer of politeness. These layers may be sufficient for
most occasions, = but can not be expected to function properly when confronted
by something as unusual as a unicycle. Because of this, confusion took over and
staring silently was the natural response. I can only imagine how it would feel
= to have a wheel chair or some other physical handicap, causing people around=
you to constantly be in the gray zone between being polite and asking questio=
ns, never knowing which to do. =

    Unicycling can be a good metaphor for all that is strange in life. It
    brings out reactions in people that reveal how their minds work. It
    can = show how deeply one=92s curiosity has been buried, and the
    different degrees o= f how hard that curiosity has to fight to
    surface. All of these are merely unpleasant side effects of riding.
    The real reason that I ride is for th= e fun and challenge.
    Unfortunately, the public unfamiliarity with unicycling = make it so
    that I can only experience the magic of the park on bike or foot. = In
    the end, I am forced to simply enjoy riding and learn to accept the
    react= ions I get in the park.

Re: Essay on uniing

Thanks Ben, I enjoyed your essay. I’m constantly intrigued by human nature,
especially those humans who are desperate to be considered ‘normal’ by their
peers. I’ve never suffered from this affliction, being content (or maybe
resigned) to be considered a weirdo.

Something I’ve noticed when practising juggling in parks: I can be completely
alone, somewhere quiet and unpopulated. But when a couple of teenage boys come
by, at least under the age of say 16, they will almost always be verbally very
aggressive. ‘You think you’re clever, don’t you’, ‘stop showing off’, ‘huh,
anyone can do that’, are some of the more printable responses. Someone else
doing something difficult seems to be a direct attack on their own status, and
they are heavily conditioned not to be too clever by their peers attacking them
for any ‘showing off’. How one can be showing off to a couple of trees and
bushes I don’t know.

Unicycling gets a similar but different response, mainly because they associate
it with bicycles and that is part of their familiar territory. Therefore some
may be more interested than insulting, because they can suddenly see a
possibility of getting into unicycling themselves.

Tim Sheppard Lilliput Press - Publisher of fine books
in miniature

Re: Essay on uniing

  • Interestingly my experience with unicycling has been entirely opposite.
  • Whenever I ride my unicycle, passer-bys usually look at me with
  • appreciation. Often they’ll wave and I’ll return the wave. Sometimes people
  • really get curious and ask – no, not “Where is your other wheel?” but,
  • “How’d you learn to ride… umm this?” (They are still trying to figure out
  • what to call “this.” I have this kind of reaction usually all the time. Not
    many people accuse me of showing off, but I think they can see I can. It is
    cool to be admired…

cheers Scott

| ill communication
Scott HOne | the phone is ringing …oh my god!
| #7

Chin up little juggler you’ll see that rainbow again. |

Re: Essay on uniing

There has been a long discussion on rejoinders to “Where is your other wheel?”
earlier, and now I feel my experience will provide a different perspective on
this topic.

Interestingly my experience with unicycling has been entirely opposite.
Whenever I ride my unicycle, passer-bys usually look at me with awe/admiration/
appreciation. Often they’ll wave and I’ll return the wave. Sometimes people
really get curious and ask – no, not “Where is your other wheel?” but, “How’d
you learn to ride… umm this?” (They are still trying to figure out what to
call “this.”

If I am in jocular mood, I’d say, “I used to work in a circus earlier.” Their
expression will turn somewhat incredulous as they try to figure out whether to
believe this guy or not, whether he is just joking or if he was a real joker in
his previous incarnation.

If I am serious, I just say, “My friend helped me learn to ride a `unicycle’.”
(Thanks Beirne!). Then usually they follow up with questions like, “How
difficult is it to learn the unicycling?” or “How long did you take to learn
it?” I’d say, “Well… if you are really determined, there is nothing that is
too hard to learn.”

Then again, I mainly ride on campus and out in the “real world” things might be
different. Maybe on a college campus people are more “liberal” and more used to
“weirdo” things. Heck, once I even talked one campus police officer into
unicycling and he was seriously contemplating asking his boss to permit beat on
unicycles as well as bicycles.

Anu Garg /