They call me Doc

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  • 58 year-old ‘M.D.’ lives out in the wild country of the Sierra Nevada foothills in California’s central valley. He’s an interesting character who approached me as I took pictures of rusting old vehicles that sat among the long grass in front of his home just off highway 180.

    “Can I help you?” he asked as he walked up to myself and my friend Anthony. I shook his hand and explained that his cars were interesting photographic subjects. My English accent, perhaps turned up a notch or two, seemed to quickly put him at ease. “Oh well hey, I got plenty more if you like cars,” he said, and with that he invited Anthony and I onto his property that was indeed strewn with cars and vehicles that seemed more abandoned than parked.

    “My friends call me Doc,” he told us as he showed us to his workshop where there were two part built chopper-style motorcycles. I didn’t want to be judgemental, but he didn’t strike me as a very typical Doctor, so I asked him what kind of M.D. he was. “Motorcycle Doctor,” he said, as if that was the most obvious answer in the world.

    In the workshop, which appeared to also be his kitchen, a cardboard figure of Pamela Anderson, stood forever smiling and waving among the tool boxes, cables, and shock absorbers. The bikes were impressive and ‘Doc’ proudly told us how he designed and built both himself. I asked him if I could take his picture to which he was more than happy to oblige, taking up a pose that had him straddling one of his bikes proudly.

    “You got a girl on the back of this thing, man you gotta be careful. It’s so damn fast she’ll fall right off the back,” he said as he motioned toward the tiny rear seat and the lack of handles to hold onto. “She’s holding the beer right, and you don’t wanna lose the beer.”

    Outside there’s an old engineless Mustang sat up on precarious looking metal legs. ‘Doc’ tells us he’s customizing it for an activity he calls ‘run dodge and jump’ in which he provokes police into a chase.

    “I’ve been playing run dodge and jump since before I had a licence,” he said while recounting old chases. On some occasions he claimed to have pulled into open garages, closed the doors, and waited for things to calm down. “They made it a felony for doing shit like that. So if you’re gonna do it, you better get away.”

    Detailing some of the special enhancements the rusty blue Mustang will be getting, I couldn’t be sure how much of what he was telling us was bravado, and how much was true, but in the end it didn’t really matter. ‘Doc’ was an interesting character who told good stories. Will the old blue mustang ever be peeling away from the cops leaving rubber burns on the road? The part of me that loved the old TV show ‘Dukes of Hazard‘ absolutely hopes it does.

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