The Bear Got Us (Part 2)

by John Delach

The Great Hoverboard Saga


Hoverboard: A levitating board used for personal transportation in the films “Back to the Future Part 11 and Part 111.”


2015 version: An electronic skateboard powered by lithium batteries.


Sunday, September 20, 2015, 1 PM: The New York Football Giants home opener versus the Atlanta Falcons. A huge event for the male members of our family, joining me for the start of my 53rd season – my son Mike; (this being his 31st season,) my son-in-law, Tom, and their boys, Drew, (15), Matt, (13), and Cace, (9).


A warm, sunny opening day swelled our already happy, busy, crowded tailgate beyond two dozen or so fellow tailgaters. Food offerings exceeded calculation guarantying famine would be absent. Among those attending, Ehab, a regular, and his son Chase. Chase introduced the lot of us to this new phenomenon, the hoverboard, that he rode around the parking lot with ease simply shifting his weight and stance to turn, go forward, stand-still and go backwards. My three grandsons were mesmerized and all successfully took turns on this contraption.


Shortly after that Sunday, Matt texted his grandmother begging for a hoverboard Christmas. He promised to renounce Satan, never get a tattoo or piercing or ask for any other gifts from Santa or his January birthday in return. Faced with such a plea, Mary Ann quickly caved and the order went out for Hoverboard No. 1.


Cace soon climbed on the bandwagon followed by our two granddaughters, Marlowe and Sami as the news of Matty’s score leaked. And so it came to pass that three additional orders were placed by Dame Mary Ann, this time using her membership in Amazon Prime. The only one still missing was: Grandson No.1, Drew, who about to turn 16-years old, was more interested in obtaining his learning permit and the vague possibility of a Jeep Wrangler in his future. That being almost out of the question Mary Ann chose to order a fifth and final unit for him, also through Amazon.


Unit No. 1 arrived first. Then three of the four through Amazon arrived. I stacked these heavy boxes in our garage as we awaited the arrivals to be completed. In mid-November when Mary Ann received discouraging news from Amazon that their remaining supplier could not guarantee a timely delivery for the Drew unit, Amazon canceled that order. Mary Ann found a replacement from Modells, a Metropolitan sporting goods store, that quickly shipped Unit No. 5.


Five in hand! We congratulated each other as to how we had seamlessly and efficiently completed our grand children’s Christmas shopping. Little did we know how wrong we were, we had no idea that all s*** was about to hit the fan!


Stories of hoverboard problems began to appear in print, on the radio and TV. The lithium batteries in some units had a propensity to overheat and catch fire while the units were in use or, worse, while being charged. These stories grew in number and we began to receive rumblings of concern from the parents. In addition, we discovered that the units were illegal in New York City where Marlowe and Cace lived. They were considered unregistered motor vehicles. It was a crime to use them on streets, sidewalks or in parks and the word was fines could be as high as $ 200 to $500.


We decided to open the units to see what God had wrought and that’s when it really hit the fan… (To be continued.)