Video shows how thin the line is between awesomeness and embarrassment.

You might have seen this video making the rounds this week. Roughly a dozen of my Facebook friends have sent me a link to it, all of them offering up variations of the same sentiment: “What a moron!”

That’s totally unfair. Watching this, I don’t feel the need to make fun of this poor soul. Indeed, I feel a deep sense of kinship. Because, man, I’ve been there.

OK, maybe not exactly there, attempting a slow-donut burnout at a jet wash, but there in a more metaphysical sense. I have been – many times – in that state of mind. The state of mind where the “Wheee! I’m on a motorcycle!” glee of two wheels erodes away rational thought and I find myself doing something that I will only realize later wasn’t that clever.

So, here’s a guy whose bike is all nice and shiny clean. Having lovingly washed away all the grime, he fires it up and thinks, “Damn, I feel cool” (because that’s what motorcycles do to you), and because he doesn’t check around the partition he gets lost in his own little world. He doesn’t feel there’s anyone looking at him; this is not a man (or woman - we don’t see the rider’s face) who is showing off for anyone. As far as he’s concerned, he’s alone. As alone as when you sing into a hairbrush in front of the mirror.

And in that moment where he’s all “alone” and the glistening bike is in its full alluring glory, he feels the rear wheel slip a little on the wet pavement and thinks: “Ooh. Burnout. I’ll do one of those.”

It’s tentative at first, but soon he is lost in the glorious, wonderful hooligan nonsense of a burnout. There is no sound but we can imagine the bike’s inline four screaming and him laughing uproariously in his helmet.

As proof of the fact he is not attempting to show off, things go wrong when the person on the other side of the partition peeks around to see what’s going on. You can see it in the rider’s body language: it’s like Mom’s just walked in on him unexpectedly and his computer screen is filled with images of Chrissy Teigen. And into the wall he goes.

He slips, he slides. You can feel him burning in embarrassment. The little, “It’s cool; I meant to do that,” flick of his face shield is fooling nobody. That poor rider is dying inside. All he wants to do is go home and hide under a blanket. You can see it in the way he half-heartedly uprights his bike, then rides off with indicator lights flashing, leaving behind a large piece of fairing.

It’s heartbreaking, because, as I say, I’ve been there. You probably have, too. That time you thought it would be a good idea to do a wheelie in front of your girlfriend’s house. That time you tried to kick up a rooster tail of dirt on a farm road. That time you thought it would be funny to ride through a puddle at 60 mph. All those times you tried to do a burnout...

We’ve all been there, dude. We’re just lucky it didn’t get caught on security camera footage.

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