Many wondered why there was a naked guy riding his bike — which, by the way, is completely legal in Oregon — on U.S. Highway 101 last Wednesday, shown in a photo by Kegan Michael French. Well, here's the explanation:
"July 31 was my 50th birthday," Astorian Michael A. "Sasha" Miller wrote. "It would be something lost in translation to try to express, in just a few words, what a much younger version of myself hoped for this birthday. The most painful thing to try to reconcile is my youthful expectations, not of myself, but of my culture and humanity.
"My 20-year-old self would expect to single-handedly transform the world, but for my 50th birthday I just wanted to muster enough courage to poke fun at the absurdity of the leader of the free world’s moral pretensions, while we grow ever more culpable in causing so much pain and loss on a planetary scale. I also wanted to push back a little at how our culture has conditioned my own thinking.
"When I was a child one of my most frequent nightmares was that I arrived at school without my shirt on. This completely harmless idea mortified me, such is the power and frequent falsity of social conditioning.
"It’s true that I was without clothing, in my birthday suit, and rode from Astoria to Seaside and back, but what others saw and what I experienced were very different. I just listened to the Beatles. Honestly, I had this pleasant idea of being a character in a 1960s film, a way of disassociating from my cultural conditioning.
"I’m glad that none of the many people who filmed, or took a picture of me while driving, caused an accident. You know that is against the law.
"And for those who say there are far better ways to advocate for social change to abate climate change, I would, of course, say, 'Yes there are.'
"And by the way, does anyone know how many people will die from being exposed to nudity this year, as opposed to auto exhaust and global warming?"