From "Two Arms and a Head: The Death of a Newly Paraplegic Philosopher," located here: www.2arms1head.com. Three weeks into my trip, a few hours south of Acapulco, a donkey ran in front of me and I hit it going around sixty miles per hour. I remember every detail perfectly. Two donkeys were on the left side of the road. One looked kind of skittish as I approached. I immediately remembered something from my motorcycle safety course about evading pursuing dogs by speeding up at just the right moment. I also simultaneously realized that this didnt apply but was feeling a bit aggressive and impatient just then. I found much of Mexico disgustingly filthy beyond any conceivable reason apart from pure slovenliness, was approached and had my pocket picked on the street two nights earlier by a transvestite hooker, and had to go through some bullshit with another guy who had ripped me off the night before. I of course expected those sorts of things on the trip but was just a little impatient to reach Guatemala. So as soon as the idea of accelerating occurred to me, I did it. The donkey, probably alarmed by the sound of the engine, started suddenly into the road, jumping like someone had whipped it. Then just as suddenly it relaxed, casually trotted along, and stopped directly in front of me. A message should have gone from my brain to my right hand and foot, telling them to operate the brakes, but the situation somewhat perplexed me so I didnt react properly. I have zero experience with donkeys so to me this was almost as bizarre as if it had been a hippopotamus. A donkey? That is what my brain said. Donkey?! So instead of braking I tried to go around him to the right but his head was just about to the edge of the road and there was a ditch for a shoulder. This all happened in a matter of seconds. The vivid detail with which I remember these last moments is quite pronounced in my mind. Up to the very point of impact, my visual image of the donkeys face was perfectly sharp. I saw the texture of his furry head in increasingly close-up detail as my eyes came within about three feet of him. The next thing may sound odd or it may not, but just before the left end of my handlebar smashed into his face and killed him I perceived him to be expressing some kind of emotion. He looked a bit crestfallen, or penitent. Maybe it was just the normal downward position of his head that gave me this impression, but he seemed to lower it perhaps slightly more than usual and to cast his eyes down like an abused dog, submissively resigned to a beating it sees coming. Or maybe my imagination is running away with me. Anyhow, Ive since said to myself many times Fucking donkey! but the truth is that I have no resentment toward him. I hope he had a good donkey life. To digress for a moment, heres my advice for those who conduct motorcycle safety courses and write the books that go along with them. Include somewhere the following sentence. If you see an animal on the side of the road ahead of you, slow down immediately. Maybe include some pictures of animals so the brain can associate the idea more readily to the visual stimulus. Most people who read this might think Im a complete fool for not knowing this without being told. As Gracian said: The world is full of fools; and he who would not wish to see one, must not only shut himself up alone, but must also break his looking-glass. So I wont argue. There is no question that I was an inexperienced, aggressive, cocky motorcycle rider. Whatever the case may be I can say with some confidence that if I had read that precise sentence in my safety manual my brain, instead of going to the file about evading menacing dogs, would have pulled the file concerning animals on the side of the road. The idea brake would then have suggested itself instead accelerate, and I might just be happy and having the time of my life studying law in Venice right now, with wine and gondolas and pretty girls.