While my self-berating is probably getting redundant, I must make you aware that in addition to being scared of my own shadow, I’m also a huge klutz. I’m the type of guy who trips, falls, slips, drops things and all other types of self disasters. That is why when Kane said he wanted to go for a Segway tour of Salem, I had to think twice. Mike + Two wheeled Vehicle = Disaster. Regardless of my fear of dying on a stick with wheels, I agreed and we headed out to visit Brad and Jeff at Witch City Segway Tours. The guys were fans of Kane and thrilled to have us visit. They were so excited they basically shut down their shop to give us the whole day to tour around Salem with them.
Neither Kane nor I had ever been on a Segway, so the owners quickly gave us a demonstration on how to use them. These guys made it look like using one was easier than walking. They glided around their show room with ease, did circles around us and even some fancy tricks. Piece of cake! They have even had grandmothers use these things with no trouble. When Kane heard that he laughed and said, “yeah, but you never had Mike.” Sadly, his statement was right.
After slipping on a helmet and some pads, Brad picked out a Segway and brought it over to me. He hopped off, like it was nothing, and held the bars out for me.
“Just step on and take it slow at first.” This sounded easy enough, but it wasn’t, not at all. I couldn’t even get one foot on the damn thing without almost falling. The second I had a foot on it and tried to lift the other one, the machine would shoot away from me or start to rock. I tried to laugh it off, but I really, really could not get on the dang thing. I ended up grabbing Brad by the shoulders, holding on for dear life I tried to get up. At this point I broke a sweat. When I looked at Brad, I could see he was confused and concerned for me. When I looked over his shoulder, I saw Kane was already doing circles in the room like he had ridden one for years. What the hell? Shawn was even on one, with the CAMERA in one hand. He drove over to me and started filming my antics.
“Are you really having that hard of a time getting on?” Shawn asked, thinking I was joking or playing it for the camera.
“He’s not.” Kane chirped in as he zipped by, he knew me well enough by then to know I wasn’t joking. Thankfully Brad was a very patient man. After another one-hundred and twenty four attempts, I got on the Segway and actually stood up. I was sweating, my stomach was in knots. I was petrified. I’m a good driver, but cars have gas peddles and breaks; this thing was controlled by leaning forward or backward. Even the slightest twitch sent you moving in one direction or the other. Not a good thing when you are clumsy. I would slowly push forward, then panic and lean back, shooting me backwards and almost off the darn thing.
After about five minutes of standing there, my legs shaking, I started to try and do a circle in the room. I was moving so slowly, if you looked at me, it looked like I was standing still. All while Kane and Shawn practically did wheelies around me. After doing about two circles, that took me a good ten minutes to do, everyone was anxious to get on the road, except for me of course. One by one we filed out the doorway. When it was my turn, I almost had a heart attack having to go over the small bump, yet I made it over, I almost screamed out with joy. When we got into the road, I noticed Kane was the only one that didn’t have a helmet on. I thought about yelling at him, but remembered his nick name used to be Cement Head, so I held my tongue.
Out in the open I felt a bit more comfortable, probably because at times there were patches of grass I could bail out on if I was going to fall. The guys, being experts at this, lead our group, one in front and one behind (probably in case clumsy Mike fell). They quickly took us on a scenic tour of Salem, pointing out all the great spots and historic locations. Really though, I was so freaking nervous I don’t even think I heard about ten percent of what they said. Though from the tiny snippets I did hear, they were pretty good tour guides. After a bit we got to a nice park, there Kane of course had to open up his Segway and see how fast it went (to my horror, they go really fast). Amazingly at this point, I was starting to feel comfortable and actually enjoy the ride. I wasn’t in constant fear of falling, so I actually sped up a bit and moved around more freely (though if you saw me next to Kane, he looked like a race car speeding past a grandmother with a walker).
After almost an hour, I saw a port-a-potty and asked if I could take a break. While I was getting used to the machine, getting off of it wasn’t easy. As I stumbled to my feet, I felt my legs were getting wobbly. I ignored the feeling and went to the bathroom. With all the stress I was under, I had forgotten that I was with Kane Hodder, which meant going to a port-a-potty is not the best idea. Of course I ended up locked in there for a few minutes while I heard laughing outside. When I finally kicked the door open I was met with a camera in my face. I did my best to ignore it as I got back on the Segway, thankfully this time it only took me ten minutes to get on. A few minutes later we stopped for lunch. Shawn told me to keep the helmet on as we ate, it would “Look better for the shots.” Not thinking anything of it, I did as I was told and ate my meal; I would find out at the end of the ride why he said this. Of course lunch ended up with my Diet Coke having ketchup in it. Gee, don’t know who could have done that.
As we wound down our tour, we ended up going through an ancient graveyard that had a lot of the Salem Witch Trial participants buried there. It was very cool and while I was getting too comfortable on the Segway, I still worried about accidentally hitting one of the ancient stones and being cursed forever. Somehow, this did not happen. Leaving the graveyard, the tour was over; all we had to do was ride the hundred yards back to the store front… piece of cake.
For over two hours, I did not fall, crash or hurt myself. I had a few close calls, but I was standing and the tour was over, I had survived, just a hundred yards to go. I was so thrilled that I lived, I got a bit cocky. I was in the back of the group, whizzing along, when Shawn rode by me, filming. I let out a bigWEEEEEEEE! as he passed. Then… it happened. I hit the small incline to the parking lot at too low of a speed. Realizing I didn’t have enough speed I quickly leaned forward, but too much. As I shot forward, I panicked and leaned backwards. From there, it was all a blur, I just recall trying to jump off, somehow, running over my own foot, then spinning around and slamming to the ground.
In pain, but more so, embarrassed, I quickly found myself surrounded by five very old ladies who were suddenly helping me up. I tried to make some jokes, but I don’t think my words were coming out right. Brad and Jeff suddenly skidded up next to me to help out. As I got to my feet I looked to the ground and saw that my phone was broken in two pieces, it had fallen out of my pocket and I landed on it. When I looked to the ladies to thank them, they suddenly looked at me oddly, and then gave me a smile that seemed a bit “off” and walked away. Dazed and confused, I decided to walk the last fifty yards to the shop. As I did this, Kane zipped up to me, laughing his ass off and screaming to Shawn to ask if he got that on tape, of course he did.
Limping, I took off my helmet and noticed something on it… a giant sticker that said, I Love Vagina. Kane had slapped it on there before we headed out. For two solid hours, I rode around town, smiling like a dork with a bright vest on, a tight helmet and an I Love Vagina sticker for all to see. Now I knew why I had to keep it on at lunch and why those old ladies looked at me so oddly, I can only imagine what they thought of me.