I have survived a lot of accidents,
I grew up with junk cars. Hoods flying off while driving down the highway.
Doors opening while driving. The cars were always crowded with 8 rowdy brats
crammed in the backseat.
At age five, I found myself in a ditch after the door opened. Did the car
stop? Nope. Fortunately, I was only a few blocks from home. I ran like hell,
arriving before the last person exited the car.
Six months later, we left Grandma's on Christmas Eve in a heavy snow. As
we turned the first corner, the door flew open. Sleepily, I grabbed it so
it would not open again. When we got home, my four-year old sister's bed
was empty. Calling Grandma to see if we had left her there, we were told
she had flown out the door when it opened. Fortunately she was wrapped in
a blanket and the half foot of snow had cushioned her horizontal slide. Of
course, we were angry that she spent Christmas morning with Grandma.
With so many kids, accidents involving other vehicles was inevitable. In
1955, my blind as a bat older brother got run over by one of the last horse-drawn
milk delivery trucks in my hometown. He had a thing for car run-ins. Twice
before he was ten he was hit on two different Christmas Eves. Of course,
he received more Christmas presents which elicited suspicions as to why only
on one day of the year he would not wear his glasses. Another brother survived
being rolled under a moving car at age eight.
My mother would not be outdone. On more than one occasion, her technique
of managing eight noisy fighting brats was to suddenly slam on the breaks.
Slamming into the back of frontseat was not too bad since it was cushioned.
The pain came as we rebounded at an angle into a sibling's noggin. Only a
fool would ride in the frontseat with an unpadded dash and projecting knobs.
My high school graduation had an interesting next morning twist. An older
brother had lent me his muscle car on the condition that I pick him up at
7am from his job. Driving west on Eldorado, my hometown main east-west street,
a Mustang came up along side. My brother told me to race him or get out so
he could do it. As both cars accelerated, we quickly creeped up on the sequenced
lights. At the main north-south intersection, we entered it as the light
turned green. Unfortunately, a southbound car stretched its yellow into the
red. Boom! My brother's car careened into the gas station on the northwest
corner decapitating a row of gas pumps. Fortunately, no injuries and no fires.
My luck extended into the officer writing me a ticket. My brother protested
it was his fault ... it was both of our faults. The officer said I was in
the driver's seat and I was in deep shat. My luck was his response to my
statement, "I'm in deeper shat than that for I am supposed to be at boot
camp tomorrow." The officer said, if that was true, my brother would
get the ticket whereupon I pulled out my enlistment papers and train ticket.
Few are the oldsters who cannot claim immunity by virtue of an indiscretion
of youth. In graduate school I had an old Jag XKE
that was built the last year of no pollution controls. It was fast. Once
the speedometer read 178mph. That's not a problem for a car designed to drive
better and safer the faster you go. Problems can arise if you do the following:
Drunk as a skunk in a blue-collar town where the bars stayed open till 3pm.
On a new interstate, drive the 28miles from ramp to ramp in 12 minutes in
a fog on the inside shoulder.
Relieving my beer-busting bladder on the exit ramp, the bonnet's louvres
presented the exhausted manifolds as pulsating hot as the blond who rode
with me. Lucky us!
Not as dumb or dangerous was one Christmas Eve driving from Richmond, VA,
to Philly in 2 hours and 50 minutes, basically doing 95mph on I-95.
Driving a van one afternoon, I started to accelerate from the stop light.
Like a swimmer seeing a shark approach, I watched helpless as a Pontiac TransAm
sliced into and under the van. Tipped on two wheels I went half a block like
an Evil Knenievil before the van slamp down on all fours. That hurt. But
I was lucky. No bruises and no fires: the drunk driver had hit the gas tank
which was leaking but not burning.
Survived three motorcycle accidents:
Too young for a license and with
, I bought
a Honda 50. One day turning right, I ran head-on into a car passing a stopped
vehicle in my lane. I tumbled over the hood with no injuries beyond a few
bruises. The at-fault driver was lucky for I did not want his insurance and
my police ticket. Two weeks before my 16th birthday when I could have got
a license, I was stopped for doing 35 in a 25. Never got stopped for the
crimes that gave me money to buy my bike.
Halfway thru highschool, I bought a Yamaha 305 with hamburger money. One
night coming home from a basketball game in another town, I hid black ice.
Luckily, I did not tumble, just slid sideways down the highway staying in
my lane until I came to a halt. (Riding a motorcycle in winter is not only
invigorating but the ride has a chilling effect on one's blood. One January,
I was told my body temperature was too low to donate blood after riding my
bike to the vampire center.)
My worst and last motorcycle accident was on a beautiful, gold-flecked 650
BSA: Chump, chump, chump, chump. Leaving a halloween hayride, at 65 mph I
barreled down a country gravel road riding into the sunset. Suddenly, the
road went left. Slamming on the brakes I slid sideways into the barbwire
fence with the bike angled at 45 degrees. When the bike hit the fence, it
pivot up in an arc pressing my body against the five strands of barbwire.
By the time I hit the ground with a thump, several fence posts had snapped
in decelerating my body from 65 to 0. They cushioned my fall but not my calf,
thigh, waist, chest and head. No broken bones, just five striations on my
right side from the barb wire.
Don't kick a
wobbly bicycle tire
: At age 12 I learned an important lesson on the laws of physics.
On a bike with a wobbly front wheel rubbing the fork, I decide would align
it by kicking it. My foot went into the rotating wheel, barking all movement.
Tail over head went I and the bike. Waking up. I was grossly bruised. While
I wish that someone would come and help, I was so embarrassed that I grabbed
the bike and walked away.
Riding on a sidewalk, I passed a bus picking up riders. As I passed the bus
into the cross street, a turning car laid me low. On bikes, don't go where
none can see you and you cannot them.
In Minneapolis, I was tooling my way to the YMCA when a door suddenly opened
in front of me. The bike pivoted into the truck while I vectored out into
traffic. As I slid under a car's bumper, I say the wheel in from of my face.
Fortunately, the traffice was stopped for a red light. To paraphrase Roosevelt
and Churchill, "There are few things as exhillierating as escaping death
when it dead-center in front of you.
Heights now scare me.
No fool like an
Lucky didn't fall off ladder as a banner
tree bared a man
rather than the man treeing a bear.
Farm wagon rocking and rolling.
Created by Linkstat.bas\Program
05-22-2015 @ 07:32:34