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Harley's Angels Chapter 05


Most of the Angels have careers paying six figures. They have 401ks and 403bs and stock portfolios and mutual fund accounts. They have financial advisers and lawyers. They had to go to school for not just the first twelve years, or the next four, but the next two or four or six or eight- what all this means is that while they rake in the dough they are mortgaged and loaned up to their ears -money in money out - student loans, mortgages, car notes, second car notes, teen kid car notes, minivan notes, bike notes, multiple monthly credit card bills, college tuitions, orthodontia, multiple vacations, wives, girlfriends...money flows like the tide coming in then heading right back out.

So there is more to their stance than a wistful yearning for acceptance in a world they never made but continue paying for. Their real motivation is an instinctive certainty as to what the score really is. They are stuck playing the ballgame and they know it. Unlike blue collar working class folk, who with a minimum of effort will emerge from their struggle without the myriad debt, the Harley Angel views the future with the baleful eye of a man with ever increasing need for upward mobility and more profit. In a world increasingly geared for men like them they fell the need for things like being their own man, freedom, and to somehow enjoy the fruits of their labor, the Harley's Angels are obvious losers and it bugs them. But they submit quietly to their collective fate and make spending money on freedom a couple hours a week their social vendetta.

If one drawback to being an upper middle class figure was the inability to be an outlaw with freedom, another was the disappointment in discovering that money can come without respect. Shortly after becoming doctors and financial gurus they began talking about "getting respect from it all" and their fear of being nobodies soon gave way to brooding resentment for being somebody who didn't inspire anything in others but a feeble kind of acknowledgment.

None of them realized what an empty bag they were holding. The Angels weren't quick to see the trend because they were doing what they had always told to do. But one day the realized they never really thought for themselves and the game was all over. They were still talking about freedom and respect, but the talk would soon go sour. Cash was all around but they couldn't get their hands on much of it. What they needed was something different but different in a world where everything was the same was dangerous. They needed danger without the danger.

The Angels were extremely proud of their accomplishments- the multiple diplomas and sets of letters after their signatures. The trophy wife and house in the right subdivision in the right part of town in the right suburb. The right private golf course membership and right chamber of commerce, Shriner, or Freemason membership. Yet all these memberships and "right things" further highlighted their entrapment in their colorless world and soon every new professional peak, every new big purchase, every new societal membership produced outbursts of bitterness.

Enter the local news coverage of the Harley-Davidson motorcycle owner.

It's here that the Middle-Aged, upper-middle class, well educated males stopped worrying and starting plotting. In the Journal and the Sentinel the tone of the coverage of outlaw motorcyclists was changing. Whereas HD bikers were previously angry outlaws part of 1% gangs who paralyzed entire cities crazy with fear, the press now stated that bikers were patriotic outlaws possessed of a sense of freedom, fitness, and realism that is lacking elsewhere in the American psyche. An orthopedic surgeon can't be a 1% and expect to keep their job and house and wife, but they can be a patriot, keep all that, and throw in a big bucket o' pride on top of it.

Whatever else might be said about the Angels, nobody ever accused them of modesty, and this new press was a balm to their long-abused egos. For the price of a new car they could get confirmation of what they always suspected: they were rare, fascinating creatures. It was a shock of recognition, long overdue, and although they never understood the timing, they were generally pleased with the result. At the same time the press revised their traditional view of bikers, The Middle-Aged discovered they could afford the buy-in of HD bikes.