Facing the Threat of Death

Howdy, folks. Up late running a vid production that I had hoped would already be finished and online. Long day.

Long comment follows. Just go on to the next comment. Ignore the drunk babbling and drooling on the bar.

People who have faced death and lived to tell about it.

1978, south of Paris, Texas, lost on some lonely two-lane in the middle of a February night. I was asleep in the shotgun seat. Just before I dozed off, I thought I should crawl in the back seat (listen to your inner voice, folks!), but I didn't want to leave the driver alone. (As if a groggy person in the front seat is any help staying awake!)

I woke up with broken glass and blood all over me, cold wind blowing. I groggily ask the driver what happened. "We hit a horse." I think we went through that several times before I stayed conscious. He said a couple of horses crossed the road and he had enough time to think, "that was close!" when another one ran out. (He got a tiny cut on one arm.)

A check on the rest of my body suggested no vital organs damaged, but I thought I had lost several of my front lower teeth. Hit the dash, I think, in that age before shoulder belts. I didn't think I was going to die, but loosing front teeth p'd me off. However, after prying my lower lip off of them, all my teeth were all still there, save for a tiny chip on one tooth. So, I was pretty good at that point, feeling lucky.

I remember the cold wind, the ambulance guys cutting my shirt off (I remember the shirt, a nice one I'd had since high school), the ride to the hospital. "Watch out, guys," I told them, "there's horses on the road tonight." Less amusing than I thought I was, no doubt. I must've been pretty delirious from blood loss and adrenaline. And surviving.

I remember the surgeon remarking that I was pretty messed up. I mumbled, oh, it's not that bad is it? He said my face looked like "hamburger." Ew! So I shut up and let him get right to work. Eighty stitches, in various places around my head. See my cool scar on my jaw? It was from a broken beer bottle in a bar fight, really. Naw.

That post between the windshield from the side vent (IH Traveler) saved my life - it was folded all the way down. Horse was caught on that and decapitated. A half-second difference, it would have been me.

Angels insisted I had to live so I could be a dad. Thanks!

Early 1990s, Chicago, getting home late and inebriated, walking down Argyle ("Little VietNam") from the El stop, I feel a poke in my back and a guy says, "Step down this alley." Milady asks me, what do we do? I said, just keep walking. Guy gives up on the uncooperative, besotted couple.

A few steps beyond, and Milady says, "Did you see a gun?" and I am suddenly highly cognizant of the size and shape of what had been poked in my back. Duh! Wow!

Guy was obviously not a killer, just a lame-ass crook neighbor who decided not to press the issue. But, I mean, f' it. If you're going to shoot me, you're going to have to do it out here under the lights where they can find the body, not back in some alley where I might not be found 'til I rot and stink.

Called a couple of old acquaintances in the middle of the night, just to say, hi, I'm alive! Adrenaline is a heckuva drug.

Various cars spinning out of control, and other adventures. Burst appendix at nine years old. An illness a couple of years ago that felt like it could be fatal. Begging God, either take me or heal me, don't leave me like this! Surviving is nice.

I am not a risk-taker, really - life is risky enough.

And I've never wanted a tattoo - life has tattooed me aplenty.

I can tell you, every day God lets me have is a greatly appreciated gift. Feel like I've died and been reborn several times already. Sorta feel like that every time I wake up from sleep, no matter what shape I'm in. When the Big Jump comes, I figure it won't be as hard as some I've already experienced. But I'll gladly wait a long time.