Zen and the Art of Not Killing Yourself While Driving a Stupid Go-Kart

There is some genetic code in many males where they derive pleasure from navigating vehicles at maximum speeds. I lack this gene. I happen to enjoy being alive and having all my appendages in working condition so I’ve spent most of my life abiding posted speed limits, begging off invitations to go 4-wheelin’,1 and avoiding boats that go any faster than a canoe2.

With the above information, you can imagine how absolutely pumped I was when my roommate told me that the plan for his brother’s bachelor party was to start the day racing go-karts at a place I had never heard of called Fastimes.3 I agreed to go before I was told that I would be facing the horror of my over-competitive friends willing to resort to any tactic to shave milliseconds off their times so I was stuck, and not being a person who likes to poop on parties I didn’t raise a stink about it. I just masked my fears with sarcasm and self-deprecation while my anxiety soften my stool to it’s liquification point.4

Somehow, I managed to convince myself that I would be fine. Surely, the activity is safe and I’m just worried because it’s a situation I am not comfortable with. I laughed off my nervousness and assured myself that I would be fine after I got the hang of it. I did such a good job that I became more worried about the place having a helmet big enough to fit my gigantic head than dying a horrible death. That is of course, until I went to google to find directions to the place. My original plan was to type in “fastimes indianapolis” and then Google would do it’s job and tell me where I was supposed to go. Instead, Google decided it would be a good idea to give me the suggestions on what I wanted to find. I typed in, “fastimes indi” and Google was fast to help me:

“Don’t worry about typing out -anapolis, my friend. I’m hear to expedite your query,” Google said.
I responded, “Why thank you Google, you truly are the most noble of search engines. You are saving me countless moments by assuming to know what I am thinking.”
Google bows due to reverence for it’s master, “It’s always a pleasure to help a carbon species such as yourself. If you will excuse my brash arrogance, I have added a few more suggestions just in case you were deciding to type a few more words.”
I ask, “Google, I can’t quite make out the second suggestion could you read it aloud to me.”
Google with the utmost respect, “fastimes indianapolis death, sir.”6

Fear rising….bowels reloosening. 7

As I’m driving to this death track I am feeling pretty glum. I do raise my spirits some as I imagine after I am brutally killed on the track that my friends will feel pretty bad. My spirit will look on them for the rest of their lives as guilt turns them to the drink. They will lose their jobs, wives, and homes and won’t be able to function without my presence in their lives. Homeless, they will wander the rainy streets screaming to the heavens, “Why did we make him do it? He was a gift to the world and we wasted him. We could of just played putt-putt instead.” Then one by one, they die face down in a gutter and the first person they see in the afterlife is me. I tell them that the spirit world isn’t all that bad and they really didn’t have to take my death so seriously. The expression on their face at that exact moment will make my death worthwhile.

I arrive 15 minutes late, and take no time in telling the gentlemen that this place is essentially a graveyard and they better say goodbye to me now because I will be dead within the hour. They laugh and seem generally unconcerned. We are ushered into a room and shown a safety video. It talks about all the equipment we have to wear and race rules. The manner at which the men of my party are joking makes me think the ‘No Bumping’ policy means very little to them.

The video ends and we are ushered out to sign the ‘You can’t sue us if you get hurt or die’ waiver and to tell them our nicknames that we will be racing under. I show my enthusiasm by coming up with the amazing moniker of “Ryan” to race under. Here is the list of all the drivers and the character from Super Mario Kart that I have assigned to them and will call them for the rest of this piece:

Steven Swain – Yoshi

Steve Farris – Koopa Troopa

Stephen Zielinski – Mario

Michael Zielinski – Donkey Kong Jr.

Ty Wolf – Luigi

Lucas Patterson – Toad

Josh Gregory – Bowser

Ryan Stuckey – Princess Peach

Now it’s time to suit up in our protective gear. First thing is a piece of cloth that goes on the head that looks like what a knight would put on before putting on his chain mail helmet. Second is a fire suit which works by causing you to sweat so much that a reservoir of sweat pools in your ass. Then if there is a fire you can wring your underwear out over it to put it out. Third, is a neck guard which Bowser tells me is the protective measures they have recently implemented after the death. Apparently, a guard made of cloth is going to stop your neck from being cut by a jagged piece of metal. Last was the helmet, and I’ll just be blunt here; yes, they had one that fit me, yes it was the largest size (XXL), yes it was still tight, and yes I was the only person who had to wear that size.

Race 1: Time Trial
Short Term Goals: Go the correct way, figure out the lines on the track, don’t spin out
Long Term Goals: Don’t die, don’t become paralyzed, avoid all banana peels

The track isn’t easy for some newbie like me. It has two levels, so there is both a ramp going up and going down. Both these ramps have tricky turns right before them and the road itself isn’t very wide. My plan of attack is to stay near the outside wall when people are around me. This hopefully establishes a trust with my fellow racers that I will try to get out of their way so they don’t have to be a hard ass around me and bump my kart. I know I am a lighter character and can’t tangle with the likes of Bowser or Donkey Kong Jr. This doesn’t seem to have much effect as someone even lighter than me, Koopa Troopa, is the first person to push me out of his way. Later, Yoshi got black flagged8 right after he barely bumped me which I found to be a deliciously important form of justice, but it turns out it was because his seatbelt wasn’t on correctly and not because he is a multi-colored egg-eating jerk. When no one is around me I open it up a bit and try to hit the lines and get a decent speed going. While I’m doing this I realize I’m giving the steering wheel a death grip, and my arms are aching all the way to my shoulders. My back starts aching about half way through as well and I can tell this is going to be a long day.

Once we finally stop I trudge up the steps to the eatery where we get a little break. Everyone grabs the print out that shows the times. The fastest lap results were:

Bowser: 26.135
Koopa Troopa: 26.494
Donkey Kong Jr.: 26.875
Mario: 26.888
Luigi: 27.063
Yoshi: 27.181
Princess Peach: 28.654
Toad: 29.343

Bowser is pretty proud of himself and exhales multiple fireballs of arrogance. As the rest of the cast are measuring their dicks against each other, I sit quietly in achy sweatiness. After all, I am the only dickless character in the whole game.

Race 2: Time Trial
Short Term Goals: Drive with a more regal authority, don’t let Koopa Troopa push me around
Long Term Goals: Get a better time, stay alive, don’t fall off the side of rainbow road

This race does not start as well. I am the 4th kart in line out of the pits and I didn’t notice that it wasn’t running. When the guy notices he has a slight breakdown. He can’t restart it and starts waving his arms at someone I can’t see. He tells me to get out and gets annoyed at the fact that I can’t remove my awkward body frame from the kart within 1 second. He doesn’t seem to comprehend that I am royalty and not some plebe. I’m used to being helped from my vehicles by potential suitors and not yelled at by ill-groomed peasants. He puts me in a spare kart and tries to explain how to push the gas and brake pedals back with one word exclamations and angry glares. Koopa Troopa makes numerous snide remarks from his working kart behind me and I pledge to jump on his back and kick him against a large green pipe after the race.

The race itself is uneventful until near the end. I was just driving around the outside, giving the royal wave to my loyal subjects when that carpetbagger Luigi, in a school yard attempt to gain my favor, slams into my right side. I immediately hit star power to catch back up to him, but I suck and he drives away pretty quickly. I am still pretty mad when I drive by that part of the track again and notice something in the road. It turns out I got hit hard enough that the neck protector that has been implemented to prevent death has fallen off me. I slow down to the speed of about -5 mph trying to both cover my neck with my hands and steer at the same time. Luckily, the race ends and my milky skin is untouched.

The fastest lap times were:
Mario: 24.954
Yoshi: 25.112
Luigi: 25.415
Bowser: 25.446
Donkey Kong Jr.: 25.986
Koopa Troopa: 26.557
Peach: 26.557
Toad: 28.282

Race 3: Time Trial
Short Term Goals: Keep neck protector on the entire race
Long Term Goals: Shove a turtle shell up Luigi’s tailpipe

I definitely try harder in this race, but the combination of being tired, dehydrated, and a bad driver make me hit the walls a lot and get bumped a bunch. I post my worst time of the day and get last place in this race. I toss around the idea of not doing the last race because I am in pain and my mind and spirit are not really in it, but they tell me they will put us in position where the people with the slowest times start out in the front and people with the fastest times are in the back. So that means Princess Peach and her squire Toad will be number 1 and 2. I formulate a devious plan and decide to stay in.

No results given because I sucked and I call the shots in this blog. All you need to know is I got last.

Race 4: The Actual Race
Short Term Goals: Be in first after 1 Lap
Long Term Goals: Use a lightning bolt and run over all of my opposition

My plan was to gun it right off the bat and hope Toad slows everyone else down enough that I will be in first. It worked to perfection and I was in first for at least four laps. Suddenly, my mind is in it and I am going as hard as I can. I start to think of scenarios where the people in 2nd-4th spin each other out and I become unreachable, thus enabling my neck to be adorned with the finest of prizes, a fastimes medal. I’m power sliding every turn as hard as I can and I feel like I’m doing a good job. At a certain point people do start to catch up, but I’m still staying in front of them a bit. I approach a turn that has normally made me nervous when people are around me, but I decide I would go big or go home this race. I was assuming that the person on my ass would be sane and not try to pass me on the turn but wait for the straightaway, but I was wrong. Whoever it was9 drilled me into the back right tire and smashed me into the wall. I straightened myself out, but was now looking at 5th place. Eventually, the other 2 people passed me and it was just me and Lucas bringing up the rear again. I basically quit and go slowly around the outside the rest of the race. The people working there ask me if I’m ok as I drive by and I give them a dismissive wave. Both my body and my ego have been battered and beaten.

Final Results:
1st Place: Yoshi
2nd Place: Koopa Troopa
3rd Place: Bowser
7th Place and voted sexiest princess alive by all in attendance: Princess Peach

The next time one of my friends gets married I hope we do something I’m good at for his bachelor party, like reading or playing Risk. Those are fun right?


1. Although my reasons for not gracing a 4-wheeler has as much to do with avoiding paralysis as it does with not participating in something as hillbilly sounding as “4-Wheelin”

2. I went white water rafting once, which could me the most terrifying activity I could be participating in since I don’t like hard to control speeds or water. I don’t think I put any practical use to the navigation of the raft as I was too busy praying to a God I don’t believe in, but who was probably enjoying my suffering (if I’m to believe the Old Testament). I managed to stay in the raft, but my dad wasn’t so lucky. He fell out and busted his head and had to get stitches. Can’t feel too bad as it was his idea to dance with death on the rapids.

3. I wrote that in italics because it makes the word seem faster.

4. I edited myself, even though this end note was originally about how I wouldn’t. My sister didn’t want to share the link with people unless I changed the original joke. It was harsh and only slightly funny, but the end note that went with it was one of my favorite parts of the whole piece so the edit was hard to do. I could have kept the end note and just changed one or two parts to fit the edit but making the original joke softer made the end note not nearly as good. I’d rather not have it in here than make it weaker than it was. I might add it to a later post if I feel it worked as well as the original (and knowing me it will eventually). If you want to know it now just ask me and I’ll tell you. Otherwise, it’s a nice treat for the 15 or so people that read it before and this end note has morphed into a glimpse into how my mind works in relation to trying to write humorous things. How enjoyable for you.

6. The actual conversation that took place was my other roommate (Dan) looking up the directions for me, laughing when he saw what came up and gleefully telling me.

7. Only other edit, I feel so dirty. The things I do for potentially 5 more readers. They better be fans forever or I just lost the theoretical respect of Bill Hick’s ghost for no good reason.

8. Black flagged = you have to go to the pits because the workers on the track deemed you a discourteous dick

9. Rumors floating around that it was that hairy beast Donkey Kong Jr. and his Steven Segal ponytail which wouldn’t be too surprising considering he spun out twice in the last race trying to best someone on a turn.

And now a special message to anyone who read this long ass thing (or cheaters who scrolled down all the way):


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Donkey Kong, Jr. on May 18, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    I’d like to make it clear that I did not get you from behind. My spin-outs were caused by that coniving toadstool. I’d put my money on that fruit eater yoshi doing it.


  2. Everyone blames everyone else. No one is willing to be a man and take the responsibility.


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