From Kevin Kling's book: "The Dog Says How," published by Borealis Books. Reprinted with permission.

Before the accident everyone had a story about a friend killed or maimed on a motorcycle. After the accident those stories disappear and are replaced with "Yeah, I knew a guy who hit a semi at eighty-five, flew three hundred feet, not a scratch, walked away and became a millionaire." I figure people need to tell these tales. It fights off the dread. If you know someone it happened to, it lessens the chance it'll happen to you.

One time a kid came up to me and said, "I hit my head on a fence post and had to get eight stitches here." He points to the back of his head.

I said, "I have stitches." I start at one side of my head, "from here," I go around my head, down my side to my stomach, "to here."

The kid pauses, "Yeah," he says, "but mine hurt." He's got me there. There's no way to judge another man's pain.