I have had three major automobile accidents in my lifetime. Sure, I've had plenty of minor disruptions, such as the time I launched my Subaru station wagon through an intersection, shattering my already busted back window and spilling Mountain Dew all over my pants so that it looked like I had wet myself when I was clearing out the glass at a Chevron station. Or the time my car overheated in the projects of South Huntsville and instead of pulling over to call for roadside assistance, this terrified white boy continued to drive all the way home (smoke billowing out from underneath my hood,) thus ending my 2 year reign with what I and all my friends called the "Wag."
These will be listed in order of severity with the worst written last. It will probably be a long post, so you may want to go grab some snacks, tuck the kiddies in bed and brace yourself for the long haul. I'm long-winded and I like it like that.
#5 - I was 17 years old and it was a Young Men/ Young Women mutual night during the summer. I don't remember exactly what activity we did that night, but I remember the cute young women that really were the reasons I was active on activity nights. One in particular (we'll call her Dottie to protect the innocent,) was the talk of the ward. I had my eye on Dottie and was willing to pull out all the stops to impress her. Unfortunately, believe or not, I wasn't always the Portrait of Suavity (probably not a word) that I am now. I know, the shocking things you learn from some one's blog...
Anyways, I tried telling jokes and doing impressions, I may have done a cartwheel or tried to juggle some manner of fruit to get her attention, but nothing seemed to faze her. There were other guys there, putting up blockers and I needed to dig deep in my repertoire if I was going to win Dottie over.
Finally, something worked and her attention turned to me. Well, I freaked! I totally lost my cool and in that short period of Coolness Dissipation I opted to launch my chewing gum into the air to try and catch it back in my mouth. What the heck was I thinking? Of course I stumbled and the gum landed smack dab in my hair. Everyone was laughing and the gum was nestled all snug in my cow lick! I didn't know what to do so I acted angry. I kicked rocks, probably swore and instead of waiting around to try and let the moment pass, I hopped in my Subaru and bolted. Man I was mad.
That whole car ride home my mind was in a blurry state. I experienced highway hypnosis and the only thing I can remember was seeing a lot of joggers running around that night and the car running over some random speed bump in the middle of the road. I thought nothing of it and retired early to bed after, of course, ridding my hair of my gum.
That next morning, my father woke me. "Son, why are there tennis shoes wrapped around your bumper?"
"Huh?" Oh no he didn't. Sure enough, I found a relatively newer pair of Nike Cross-trainers dangling from my bumper. Now, there could be a number of reasons why a pair of shoes were hanging, Christmas Tree ornament-like from my car, but needless to say, I spent the majority of that following day watching the television for any breaking stories about joggers nailed in a hit and run. Fortunately, the bulletin never came, but to this day I still kind of wonder.
#6 - It was nearing the end of my senior year of high school and I was still driving the "Wag." After a long day of learning and expanding my horizons at Bob Jones High School, I pulled my car out of the parking lot amid the caravan of commuting students. My house was only about 3 to 4 miles from the school and as I drove, I glanced in my rear view mirror and noticed the red Camaro driving behind me. It was the 2 Angies, two of the hottest and by far most popular girls at the school. Of course they knew me, being the stud muffin that I am (by the way, I think a stud muffin is another word for horse apple, just so you know.) When they noticed me gawking at them in my mirror they offered a polite wave and giggle. I promptly saluted... I hate myself!
Trying to be cool, I continued driving down the road. My speed picked up to about 40 mph, which is usually when my steering wheel would start to vibrate uncontrollably, but then I slowed as I arrived at a stop light. I casually glanced in my rear view mirror and to my shock, the 2 Angies were not slowing, rather they were picking up ridiculous speed. In a matter of milliseconds, they surged into full view of the mirror and collided with the back of my car going about 50 mph. There was a sickening crunch, I would later discover that only my back bumper had shifted about 2 inches and other than that the "Wag" was in perfect condition. Their Camaro, unfortunately was totalled.
My first thought, was that this was some bizarre form of flirtation and that they crashed into the back of me on purpose. I was a little flattered until I came back into reality. I quickly ran back to their car and opened the door. Both Angies were laughing hysterically. They did do that on purpose! I thought, until both of them started sobbing like babies. They had suffered some minor injuries, but both were delusional. I wanted to help so I offered.
"What can I do?" I asked.
One of the Angies looked at me and said, "Go direct traffic!"
"Right," I said. "What?!!" Direct traffic? I didn't know how to do that. Still, I wanted to show my support so I jumped out into the middle of the road. In a matter of three short minutes, I managed to almost cause 6 other accidents. Oh and by the way, waving your hands wildly at drivers and doing made up hand signals, is not the proper form of directing. Traffic cops have a gift.
"Stop what you're doing and get out of the road, idiot!" a police officer shouted offer the cacophony of blaring horns. I promptly bowed my head in submission and pirouetted off of the road.
In the end, I had to wear a neck brace for about a week and the Angies milked their injuries for months. It never gave me the popularity I deserved, but deep down inside I know that the Angies fell in love with me and my station wagon. Alas, it was never meant to be.
#7 - I warned you that this was going to be a long post... I was 16 and had owned a driver's license for about a month. It was the summer after my Sophomore year which was a devastating one for me because my family moved from Kentucky to Alabama. I had a really tight-knit group of friends and the move would mark the end of an era. The week before our relocation, I spent every single day and night partying with my friends. We spent the night at a different person's house every night and I managed to get hardly any sleep.
The day before the movers came, I asked my dad if I could take the "Wag" for the night. It had yet to become my vehicle, and my father was very reluctant passing over the keys. He must have known something would happen. But it was going to be my last hurrah and we would be hopping from house to house, hanging out, swimming at my friends' pools and partying with our girlfriends. I wanted to go out in style, so he gave in and gave me the keys on the condition that I would be home the following morning by 7 a.m. to help with the move.
Our mischief lasted long into the night, and finally ended at around 3 a.m. when we decided to crash at my friend Greg's house. His home was empty because, he too was moving in about a week. That night something strange happened. I'll save the juicy details for another post, but I will leave you with this much... During the night we experienced a haunting at Greg's house. Needless to say, I didn't sleep a wink and when the next morning arrived I was exhausted.
I didn't think I had enough gas in my car to make it home and Greg's house was miles in the middle of nowhere. If you don't believe me, ask Heidi, I've shown her his house. Since everyone was up already, 2 of my friends (Greg and Fred) agreed to follow me into town to make sure I made it all right.
As I drove, the memories of the strange things that occurred during the night flooded into my mind. As I pondered, I blacked out. Falling asleep at the wheel is extremely dangerous. Falling asleep at the wheel while driving down the winding back woods roads of Winchester, Kentucky is suicidal. Immediately, my car ran off the road and I pulled a Dukes of Hazzard as I went up on two of the side wheels and smashed into several trees. This all happened while I slept and my friends witnessed from Greg's truck.
My foot came off the gas pedal and the car fell back down on 4 wheels, coming to a stop literally 3 feet from a ledge that dropped at least 15 feet into a ravine. I woke up, yawned, stretched, wondered why my car had stopped and started driving again with out a care in the world. It was then that I noticed the pleasant breeze blowing through my smashed out windows. I looked up in the rear view mirror and saw Fred and Greg sprinting up the road toward my car and yelling. At first, they thought I was being funny and playing a trick, that ended of course when they saw me smashing into the trees.
I survived as did the "Wag," but my dad about committed murder that morning. As I sat on my bed later that day, grounded indefinitely, I realized that I had managed to go out in style.