July 31, 2008

Sticks and Stones

(You know you've been blogging a long time when you can't remember if you've told a particular story before. I'm not going to let a pesky thing like repetition stop me though...)

When I was a kid growing up in Houston, I lived in a pretty cool neighborhood. It was chock full of kids and most families were the original owners of their houses. My parents bought our house - four bedrooms, three and a half baths - for $28,000 in 1972. People stayed put. Everyone knew their neighbors. Unfortunately, that meant knowing Russel.

Russel was my age and a complete creep. He lived maybe half a dozen houses down the street, almost to the cul-de-sac, past the house owned by the guy who was building an airplane in his garage (Seriously. He ended up flying it too though, to our dismay, he didn't use our street as a runway). Despite his asshatery - which was legendary - kids still played with him though I think that including him in football games was just for an excuse to try and beat the shit out of him. I stayed away from him. He was mean and his little sister was annoying.

One day when I was ten or so, I was hanging out with some other neighborhood kids in the street in front of Russel's house. Russel emerged from his house and made a very long-winded and impassioned argument for the fact that he and his family actually owned the street directly in front of their house and we all had to leave. Even at ten my bullshit detector was finely honed. I told him he was full of shit - or whatever the 10 year old equivalent of the terminology was. Russel begged to differ. I - perched on my bike - decided to exercise my right to traverse the road in front of Russel's house. At full speed.

Unbeknownst to me, Russel had armed himself with an arrow, a long motherfucker his dad probably used to kill baby seals or midgets. I mean, it was clear that whoever raised Russel was a sick, sadistic bastard. As I aimed my bike towards the general direction of Russel's family owned stretch of road and, in turn, Russel produced said arrow, aimed it directly at me and shoved it towards my chest as I passed.

What followed is a blur. I know I swerved. I know brakes were applied. I know that I ended up face down on the road. I know there was blood, lots of it. And I know that, lodged in the cylindrical pad that covered the crossbar which ran between the two handlebars was a very sharp arrow.

Remembering that chain of events has always wigged me out a little because I honestly think its the closest I've come to dying. And I was just a little kid. I think it was probably the closest Russel came to dying (though who knows where he is now) once his midget-hunting father got hold of him. I didn't see him outside for weeks after that. I've long-suspected he was chained to a radiator in his basement though it was Texas - there were no radiators or basements but it was a comforting thought. Regardless, remembering that incident makes me feel a little lucky to be alive.

What's your closest near-death experience or harrowing tale of survival?

Posted by Chris at July 31, 2008 6:38 AM

body surfing day after a hurricane. Red Flags all over the beach, basically telling you, you are an effin' dumbass if you swim in this and you are on your own, cause we're not risking life gaurds today...

riding waves, having a great time, pinned to the ocean floor under thousands of gallons of down pouring brine, terrible fear, a sense of peace, a loss of consciousness, my best friend pulling me out and us laughing at our near death experiences and then sleeping the trauma off on the beach.


Posted by: JackassJimmy at July 31, 2008 7:14 AM

Spring 2008. I'm instructing at a track school at Calabogie Motorsport Park. Big, high-speed, technical track. I'm riding with a guy from my own club who runs a little far into fearless.

Coming through the last corner onto the front straight, he dunks two wheels off of the track on the lawn. This, by itself, is no big deal, assuming you do one of three things:
(1) ease back onto the track gradually and gently
(2) continue straight and then ease back on later
(3) come to a controlled stop

Did he do any of these things? Nooooo.

He violently jerks the wheel to the left, return us to the asphalt. That's great and all, but now we're going diagonally across the track towards a very solid cement wall that separates the track from the grid. At 140 kmph.

It's days like this that make me question why I volunteer as an instructor.

Lucky for me, he did another bone-headed maneuver that worked out: flung the car the other way. Sure, he spun it and landed on the lawn, but I'll take that over a 1' thick cement wall any day.

(He wrote off the car the next day. Fortunately, without me in it.)

Posted by: Opal at July 31, 2008 7:18 AM

Well it was my car accident 23 years ago. I was stopped at a red light when a drunk truck driver literally ran over my little Ford Fiesta, crushing us inside. I was unconscious for 45 minutes, but remember waking and seeing a large truck tire dangling over my head, after they had removed the roof of my car with the jaws of life. Although I had no broken bones, I literally bruised them all, had a serious head injury and had my left ear nearly sliced off, as well as facial lacerations.
As you know, my daughter was killed.
Yeah that was the worst and closest I have come to dying. It took me many years to get a handle on that.

Posted by: Maribeth at July 31, 2008 7:45 AM

Easy one for me! On my HONEYMOON when we decided to go ATV-ing in Cancun, Mexico through the jungle and on the beach. The ATV's were about 50 years old (with no brakes) and the idiot kid in front of me had no idea how to shift so he kept stalling. To avoid hitting him I had to swerve, sending me OFF A CLIFF down onto a rocky beach. I was trapped under the ATV.

My brand new husband found me 5 minutes later and had to run down the small mountain, throw the ATV off of me and put me on the back of his ATV to bring me back to civilization. Luckily, I as ok (beaten up, bruised, etc., but nothing broken). Not a fortuitous way to start a marriage, but makes a great story!

Posted by: Robyn at July 31, 2008 8:16 AM

Easy one for me! On my HONEYMOON when we decided to go ATV-ing in Cancun, Mexico through the jungle and on the beach. The ATV's were about 50 years old (with no brakes) and the idiot kid in front of me had no idea how to shift so he kept stalling. To avoid hitting him I had to swerve, sending me OFF A CLIFF down onto a rocky beach. I was trapped under the ATV.

My brand new husband found me 5 minutes later and had to run down the small mountain, throw the ATV off of me and put me on the back of his ATV to bring me back to civilization. Luckily, I as ok (beaten up, bruised, etc., but nothing broken). Not a fortuitous way to start a marriage, but makes a great story!

Posted by: Robyn at July 31, 2008 8:17 AM

While mine isn't nearly as exciting to tell as an arrow I almost drowned when I was in junior high. At the local pool I jumped off the diving board and someone pulled me back down to the bottom of the pool just as I was about to break the water surface. I actually saw my short life pass by my eyes. Shortly after that I decided I needed to take water safety courses and became a life guard and a good swimmer so I'd never feel so helpless in the water again.

Never knew who actually pulled me back down again tho...

OH...and the guy building the airplane...could have been my father. He's built 2 in his garage and is on his 3rd. They've both flown and he's sold them to move to the next project.

Posted by: daisy at July 31, 2008 8:19 AM

college (more specifically: drinking in college... 'nuff said...)

Posted by: Christina at July 31, 2008 8:36 AM

falling off of a 25 foot cliff while camping after many shots of jager....nuff said

Posted by: deanna at July 31, 2008 8:36 AM

Happily, I got nothin'.

Posted by: sarah at July 31, 2008 8:40 AM

My near-death experience isn't nearly as exciting... just shoddy diagnoses. When I was 12, I had appendicitis. Only, no one figured out I had appendicitis (except me, holed up in my parents' room with this giant medical book my mom had that CLEARLY showed I had appendicitis). Here's the chain of events:

Thurs PM: Lots of projectile vomiting.
Friday AM: Stay home from school with "stomach flu."
Friday PM: Fever, stomachache. Was at my grandparents with the rest of my family. Sleeping under multiple blankets, despite the fact it was 80+ outside and no AC. Kinda freaking everyone out with the alternating chills and sweats, and apparently my heart racing fast enough my aunt could see my pulse. Mom calls doc, who says it doesn't sound like an emergency and to come in Saturday AM.
Saturday AM: See the doctor, who sends me to the ER to have blood work done. I FREAK OUT about having blood drawn.
Saturday Aft: Blood work. Diagnosed with kidney infection. Prescribed antibiotics and pain reliever, which keep my fever and stomachache in check.
Sunday - Monday: Go about life with a "kidney infection" -- mostly lying around on the couch watching television.
Tuesday: With fever broken, go to school.
Wednesday: Fever back, stay home.
Thursday AM: Back to the doctor, who sends me to a GI, who finally thinks it might be appendicitis. I'm too tired of being sick to care that this means I'm not only going to need more blood work, but an actual operation.
Thursday Aft: Hang around the ER waiting to get admitted. Have ultrasound done where they can't really see my appendix, maybe it's a gallbladder issue? Decide it's probably appendix and operate anyway.
Thursday PM: Still can't find appendix... oh, because it ruptured. Doc is 99% sure it ruptured that Friday night... SIX days earlier. Life saved by fact that it somehow formed a blister that kept all the poisonous crap mostly contained, and somehow didn't leak or explode during the week.

Tada! My near-death experience. Which I didn't know it was until we read a short story in 7th grade about someone whose appendix burst on a submarine and they had to figure out how to save him b/c you only live for a few hours with that... and then I nearly passed out in class.

Sorry I took so much space. It really is my only good story.

Posted by: Stephanie at July 31, 2008 8:41 AM

Baby seal hunting, yes! Also, have you ever seen Chris Rock's bit about how when you're in a relationship for so long, you have heard every single story from the other person? ("have I ever told you about the time..." 'YEAH! Yeah you f*&*&ing told me about the time!").

My near death experience? I was 14, in a car full of friends going to a play that we were all in. Another car cut us off, we hit it, someone hit us, we fishtailed and then flipped across two lanes of highway traffic, landing in a ditch. I wasn't wearing a seatbelt. Not a single person had a single scratch on them. I have worn a seatbelt every day of my life since then - as has any person ever getting into my car, per my rule. To this day I marvel over the fact that I wasn't even bruised.

I still don't understand it. And I still recall the sand flying into my face as I skidded across a highway, flattened against the inside roof of a car.

Posted by: Caitlin at July 31, 2008 9:02 AM

Roadtrip, waking up face down with seat belt still buckled wondering what was going on, seeing sky, field, sky, field, sky, field, and where the hell was all that blood coming from? Oh, shit, it's coming from me. The driver had fallen asleep at the wheel and run off the road, driving up a hill, hitting a tree and then rolling back down it, end over end. Had to cut us out of the thing. We were lucky that a doctor was in the car behind us on the freeway that day and stopped, 'cause we were in the middle of nowhere Oklahoma. To this day, fifteen years later, I cannot sleep in a moving car.

Posted by: OS at July 31, 2008 9:09 AM

April 23, 2008

Happily driving along the highway in the right lane minding my own business listening to the morning show probably giggling at something funny as I normally do and all of a sudden I feel a jarring on my car and the next thing I know I'm looking out my drivers window and I'm on the front grill of a MACK truck, I am saying "OH MY GOD OH MY GOD" and I look out the passenger window as he's pushing me down the highway towards the underside of a bridge and all I can basically do is sit there and do physic calculations in my head and say when I hit that bridge the force of his truck and the stationary object of the bridge will smushify me like a pancake, but luckily he pushed me passed the bridge barely and we came to rest on the breakdown lane as soon as I heard his hydraulic brake I was like a fucken gazelle out of the passenger door and running down the grass of the highway towards safety in case there were any other accidents happening. It was an accident straight out of a action film. A motorcyclist and all the firemen EMT's on the scene said someone was looking out for me that day when that prick came in my lane and hit me.

Posted by: Dee at July 31, 2008 9:12 AM

A car pulled out in front of me and I slammed on my brakes. Jen was with me. We slid, tires screeched, and somewhere in that split second it registered that I couldn't turn away from them because I was skidding. I let off the brakes and my truck darted to the right (where the wheels were pointing). I missed their vehicle by inches. Not a foot. Inches. I was almost certain we hit, but we didn't because there was not damage. We were scared shitless. Shortly thereafter, I let myself be prideful in the fact that I made a good split-second decision.

Posted by: Brad at July 31, 2008 9:38 AM

I don't know.
I mean, I've had them, I'm sure of it. I've been held up at gun point, been in numerous car accidents.

I guess I try not to think about it so I've moved them into the area of my mind that doesn't register them as near-death experiences.

Posted by: caleal at July 31, 2008 9:45 AM

I wrote a long comment and it got deleted so here's the Reader's Digest version:

I don't have a near death, but Meems does:

We were on vaca when Mila was 1.5 and I, being the fire safety queen of the world (not), plugged an iron in and set it on the edge of the dresser. Mila grabbed the cord and the hot iron came down pointy side first, heading straight for her face. Jason (aka: The Flash) reacted with cat-like reflexes and bounded across the room to grab the iron miliseconds before it caused serious damage TO HER BEAUTIFUL PERFECT BABY FACE! I'm a loser, he's a hero, the end.

The first version was much better.

Posted by: Mymilabean at July 31, 2008 10:13 AM

I was driving on 75 in Ohio (the importance of this detail will become evident) and was getting sleepy. I was in the left lane, having just passed someone. It was daylight. I dozed off and woke up when things suddenly felt bumpy. I opened my eyes and realized that I was driving on the grass median at the same speed that I'd been driving a moment before on the road. I checked my rear-view mirror then eased myself back onto the highway *poof* like it never happened.

However...what if this hadn't been Ohio and there had actually been something other than grass on the median? Or what if I had drifted over onto the median immediately before an overpass? That wouldn't have ended well. So, yeah. Guardian angels and stuff.

Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' at July 31, 2008 10:50 AM

i've had at least two NDEs. one was the time i decided to float down the willamette river in a yellow raft with no helmet, no paddles and no lifejacket. and then chose the wrong way around an island that took me down some rapids and got me caught in a void, where i was rescued miraculously by a random canoe instructor with a tow rope minutes before the rebar sticking out of the concrete that caused the void popped my raft.
the other was in high school when my boyfriend and his friend snuck out his friend's mom's car and came and picked me up in the middle of the night (along with five other guys so there were seven of us total in an 86 chevy celebrity station wagon) and i drove it into a pine tree at 55 miles an hour with no seatbelt on. oh, and no driver's license. and there was pot in the car. and we left the car in the state park that i crashed it in and then i walked nine miles home. luckily the worst that happened was i had two black eyes and wet pants (i peed them) and one guy broke his arm. my intelligence is just shining through this comment, i'm sure.

Posted by: kati at July 31, 2008 11:14 AM

Let's just say that I've heard too many times "You should be dead" including the fact that I wasn't supposed to live through the night when I was born...be it surgeries, diagnoses, or just stupid random accidents to list...come to think of it, it might be a good blog post for my site at some point.

Posted by: Krush at July 31, 2008 11:33 AM

Medically, a couple of NDE's.

Interesting story, though, was when someone cut the ignition wire on my car. You know this story, though, I think. One phase off of a motor, though, and the motor can EXPLODE.

Motor explodes-shrapnel-you know the drill...

Yay understanding electricity and wiring.

Posted by: alektra at July 31, 2008 11:38 AM

Hmm probably summer 97? Riding bareback out to "the water hole" and taking the horses swimming. We thought it was fun to take them into deep water so they'd rear up trying to get their footing. (We were jerks. 13 year old jerks.) I headed her towards the deep spot, stopped and pulled up on the reins - and she reared. Straight up, and then some. I fell off her back and into the water, and she fell backwards. I remember, slow-mo, seeing 1200lbs of horse coming at me, and somehow managing to (barely) twist out of the way in time.
That was the last time I ever played *that* little game.

Posted by: Heather at July 31, 2008 11:39 AM

Worst one I had ended up with a near death experience for the friend that helped me...

3 of us had decided to skip classes that morning and head out climbing. Went to the cliffs by Slains castle (the castle that inspired Bram stoker to write dracula) and soon were rappeling down to the bottom of the cliff. I was about 30 feet up when the rock gave way by my hand. Fell about 25ft and literally was jarred to a stop by the rope with only feet to spare. Managed to break my foot by the rock that fell but it missed my head by inches and I wasnt wearing a helmet.

Getting out was just as bad. Head to swim across the inlet (around 50 feet) in freezing cold water then climb a very very steep grass bank. My friend nearly fell off the top of this while trying to find a way out. Then had a two mile hobble back to the car and then had to drive to the hospital as the others didnt know how to drive.


Posted by: Steven at July 31, 2008 11:56 AM

Once, in France, a guy drove up on a racing motorcycle and stopped at the outside cafe where I was sitting with my friends. For some reason, quiet shy little me said something along the lines of "nice bike." but in French, of course. And he offered me a ride. So I hopped on, thinking he'd drive 10 feet down the street and that would be the end of it. Instead, he takes off at high speed on these twisty, tiny little medieval French town roads, drives under a guy up on a ladder welding a metal shutter (yes, with sparks flying) and takes off toward the countryside. By then we were up on a cliff over some sort of lake? I started banging on his back and yelling "I want to go back to my friends" (also in French). I had no helmet. I had no idea where I was. I didn't have my purse. I didn't even know this guy's name! And I was 17 and in a foreign country. Seriously, if he'd been a bad person, I could have been screwed. Instead he turned around and took me back. Alls welll that ends well, but I was terrified at the time. I'm just not a get on a motorcycle and take off with some guy I don't know kind of girl. I'm sure you're shocked. That's probably the most dangerous thing I've ever done.

If I were Russel's dad, I think that kid would still be locked in the basement. He could have really hurt you! So glad you swerved :)

Posted by: bad penguin at July 31, 2008 12:19 PM

Mine is not nearly so dramatic. I spent 6 months having GI tests done and having each and every one come back inconclusive. Turns out I had Crohn's disease and my small intestine was so badly scarred and blocked that it almost ruptured at least twice that I can remember, once on Christmas day. (At least I assume it almost ruptured, the abdominal pain was blindingly, albeit brief.) Anywho, 2 weeks after Xmas, they removed 18 inches of the ol' intestine and my surgeon marveled to my (horrified) parents that I was still alive. Woo hoo!

A year and a half later I quit my job and moved across the country in a fit of "LIFE IS SHORT". I like to call it my "near-death crisis".

Posted by: Erin at July 31, 2008 1:06 PM

Being trapped in my house by two armed gunmen with my 2yr old and me being 6 months pregnant. Thank god they never came in, but we were trapped inside with no way out because I had a corner lot and they parked their car at the end of my driveway to block it and then held my neighbor at gunpoint in my front yard.

All I could do was call the constable's office and start describing the two men, the types of guns they had, their car, and where they were going. I hated that I couldn't go out and help my neighbor, but not with my kid right there and me being pregnant. I hid my daughter in her closet and stealthily watched out the window to witness as much as I could. I really thought those two gang-bangers were going to shoot my neighbor or me since they knew I had seen them.

I kept thinking they were going to break in and hurt us after they finished with my neighbor, but they just ran back to their car and left. It was horrible.

Posted by: Jen at July 31, 2008 1:30 PM

I was 9. We were living in West Virginia, in this teensy little town. There were railroad tracks that ran through the center of the place, and two bridges over the river. One was for cars, the other was a train bridge. One hot summer day, my cousin Keith and I were farting around. We were bored and hot and had decided to go swimming. I remember the air that day. It was still. Almost like there was no air. And very humid, which is not common for the area...

Anyway, we were walking across the train bridge. We had decided not to swim in the river because even the river water was warm, and wouldn't offer much relief. There was a cold creek across the way and thats where we were headed. Only once on the bridge, we noticed Keith's older brother Rick, and a friend, Max, under the bridge. So we stopped, stooped down, and watched them.

They were stoned. And drinking. And acting ridiculously stupid. It was all very amusing. I dared Keith to try to hit Rick with a wad of spit, you know, like bored 9 year olds do. He took the dare, and nailed Rick on the shoulder.
I remember him saying "If I find out who you are up there, I am going to kick your ass!" We erupted into giggles, and watched them some more.

Next thing I know, Rick is looking up, shouting "HEY!! You IDIOTS! There is a TRAIN COMING!!!"
I look up, and there is a train. ON THE BRIDGE. Brakes sparking and squealing and I could see the engineers eyes, they were big as cue balls. I was frozen in place, as this train was bearing down on us. I mean, I am not kidding when I say that it was RIGHT THERE. Within feet.

Keith grabbed me by the seat of my pants, and by my hair, and threw me. He followed within a second, and the train blew by.

Keith sat there and had an asthma attach, while I cried because I had peed my pants.

When they say that your life plays out in front of you before they die, well, it is true. At least it was for me.

I didn't sleep for DAYS after that. I jumped into the river to eh, clean off...and walked straight to the Church across the street, went up on the altar, kissed Jesus' feet, and thanked him for sparing my stupid ass.

I will never forget that moment, ever.

I do not know how, or why, we did not hear the train. Or feel the train. And it wasn't just me. Keith was oblivious as well. Strangest damned thing to EVER happen to me.

I remember telling my hubby this story and he flat out said "You lie!!" I couldn't wait til we went to WV last year, just so Keith could tell him the story. LOL

Posted by: Jen at July 31, 2008 2:09 PM

Isn't it amazing that we survived with the stupid stuff we used to do? I had many close calls. fell (was pushed) down concrete steps backwards. Knocked off my bike in a similar fashion by a bully, resulting in a concussion, got smacked in head by baseball bat(accidently), by same bully.

Posted by: Slinger at July 31, 2008 2:38 PM

"The closest Roger ever came to dying" hehehehe.

All of mine are older brother related. And too long to put in a comment box.

Posted by: Mr Lady at July 31, 2008 2:46 PM

Been pretty lucky so far. But I totally want a house that big for $28,000!

Posted by: sunshine at July 31, 2008 3:18 PM

I'm so embarrassed to admit this, but when I was a kid I was chewing on a little doll bracelet (because it was chewy!) and I almost choked to death. And I was definitely old enough to know better than to put little toys in my mouth.

So stupid. And not very exciting, either.

Posted by: Fraulein N at July 31, 2008 3:34 PM

Exactly 21 years ago today I survived a massive Tornado because I was a lazy fucking kid.

I lived in an area that was absolutely flattened (yes Tornadoes happen in Canada especially in Alberta which is almost like a frozen desert most the year) and almost 30 people killed on an idyllic Friday afternoon. It was an F4 - at the time one of the strongest ever recorded in North America.

Now normally I should have been doing my flyer and newspaper route at 3pm on Fridays - so I would get it done before my parents came home from work and take me out to our customary Friday night dinner. The day was scorching hot and I was much more interested in popping caps with the neighbor boy (who I had a massive 11 year old crush on) then doing my flyer route.

So I did what any other sensible person would do: I dumped my flyers in the ravine a block away from my house.

Thank Goodness, since this is a picture of the tornado over our home before it touched down:


Even though I made it into the basement and hid under a ping pong table with the mattress from the hide a bed wrapped around me (who thinks of these things really? sounded like a good idea though) I still have about 14 visible scars on my arms and legs where glass and shingles flew into the basement and sliced through the mattress cutting me up. I was lucky and my parents who came upon our flattened neighborhood minutes later were relieved because they thought I was outside for the whole thing. The block behind our house was gone - exactly where I should have been delivering the papers at 3:37pm.

Being lazy does pay off sometimes - I guess.

Posted by: Sleepynita at July 31, 2008 3:47 PM

wow, nowhere near as exciting as being held at gun point, or nearly being mown down by a train, but i've had three.

1st - I was a horse mad teen and was helping some friends at the stables back a horse - huge shire/throughbred cross. I was leaning over him (i'm tiny, my feet were nowhere near the ground) and he took off and I fell, was complete winded and nearly passing out (weired sensation).
I vaguely felt him trot over me and thought - 'oh well, that's it then'. A little later I came to with some one rubbing my chest (ow! get off!) to find that actually it had been the girl hanging onto the end of the lunge line who hadn't been able to avoid running over me. Had bruised ribs, otherwise totally fine.

2nd - I was away from home, (at horse college) only 16 and very depressed. One evening I took a load of panadol(brand paracetamol) tablets and washed it down with alchohol - beer? wiskey? strangely I can't remember. There were absolutely no effects, I went to bed and I woke up fine the next day - still misierable, but (weiredly) unharmed.

3rd - I was at university, in my twenties and was driving the 30mile trip to a holiday job (shelf stacking) when for some reason - can't remember why - I swerved and hit a steep curbstone (they had newly been put in, it was a rural road) I skidded back across the road - this was a busy main road, loads of lorries pass up and down it - rolled down the hill and eneded upside down in a ditch, completely invisible from the road.

It's a great advertisment for Renault, cos I climbed out without a scratch - no wiplash, no brusing (banged my head on the windscreen) just a bit shaky. And I'd crashed a few yards down the hill from a pub who dusted me down, gave me free use of the phone, and fed me (free) coffee.

I guess I have VERY busy gardian angels!

Posted by: mamacrow at July 31, 2008 4:17 PM

wow...scary! what a rotten little kid. seriously. lucky it wasn't worse!

a few weeks ago i got into a 4 wheeler accident and i thought i was going to die as i flew off the seat and got ran over by my own quad. the way i landed, i thought i was going to break my neck and/or back. incredibly scary.

Posted by: tiffanie at July 31, 2008 5:05 PM

Crazy and frightening ass story. I feel somehow justified for not letting our boy roam the neighborhood.

Closest I ever came was 1988 at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany. A friend and I were working the flight line manning the crowd when the crash occurred. Neither of us had a scratch on us, but we were close enough to one of the fires.

Over sixty spectators died and I haven't been to a n air show that was flying since then.


Posted by: Diane at July 31, 2008 5:30 PM

1. Fell down the stairs and landed, back-first, on the metal sofa bed bar. Bruised spine. Doctor said that if the sofa hadn't been on wheels, moving when I hit it, it would have cracked my spine, killing or maiming me.

2. Babysitting a crazy pre-teen. She chased me out of her house with a knife. I still have dreams where I can feel the cold steel going into my back. I wake up in a muscle spasm, in a cold sweat.

3. Happened to set my alarm early one day. If I hadn't, I wouldn't have awakened to smell the smoke and called the fire department before the fire escaped the basement.

Posted by: Stacy at July 31, 2008 5:32 PM

I will post a longer version of this story on my blog tomorrow with a trackback here...

There were two times. One was when I was about seven and growing up in Cali. Our neighbors' oldest son was involved in a bad drug deal and there was shooting. A bullet came through my bedroom window and lay on the floor at the foot of my bed.

The other time was less near-death. I was about 10. Some teenager had escaped from juvenile hall and was cutting through our neighborhood to escape. I saw him running along the brick wall at the back of our yard. My grandmother and I were leaving to go our for lunch or errands and suddenly a police office, plain clothes'd, came around the back of the house, pointed his pistol at us and said, "Hands in the air!" We dove behind a camelia bush (GREAT idea, dontcha think?) and then he identified himself and told us to get inside and stay on the floor. The teenager had a gun. They caught him easily about fifteen minutes later with no gunfire. At that age it all seemed a little anti-climactic.

Posted by: Stephanie at July 31, 2008 5:52 PM

Weird. My Russel actually shot his arrow into me. My leg. Then, in the justice typical of that time the men in the neighborhood made him go to the firehouse every day and spend hours cleaning and helping the firemen.
After his unofficial two year community service he stayed on of his own accord and became a fireman and a policeman.
He is actually a very nice man now.
I didnt come close to dying that time but your story reminded me of it.

Posted by: That Girl at July 31, 2008 6:39 PM

Myhusband,one year old daughter and I were held up (by gunpoint) in a family restuarant on a Sunday evening.Nothing quite like being shoved in teh back with a gun and being told to move faster when a) teh old man with a walking stick has fallen in front of you and b)you cant move because you are pushing a pram containing a sleeping baby.Yeah I shoved the pram over the old man (SORRY!) I couldnt reach him to help him up in the small aisle!This story is one of the reasons I emigrated out of South Africa.

Posted by: vanessa at July 31, 2008 8:11 PM

Well, besides the customary college drunkenness and walking home from the bar, alone, through one of the bigger drug dealer neighborhoods....

I had meningitis the summer of 2006. I went to the ER four times before they diagnosed me, and they only admitted me finally because I was in so much pain. Three days later, they deign to do the appropriate test. The rest is history. Of course, I went home with three bottles of morphine four weeks later and promptly stopped taking them once my mom left so that I could drink instead. Funny, I didn't learn until I was in treatment, that people actually took both at the same time with gratifying result...

Posted by: k8 at July 31, 2008 8:30 PM

One time I was riding in my then-boyfriend's truck, and he was assing around and being mean, so I grabbed the wheel - stupid, stupid. We swerved a lot and came very close to wrapping ourselves around a tree, but he managed to save us.

For the record, I've been reading your blog for nearly four years and I don't recall this story, so I think you're fine!

Posted by: Stephanie at July 31, 2008 9:11 PM

Only two so far, thankfully. When I was a child, I was shot in the face by my brother. Okay, it's not nearly as bad as it sounds. We were shooting his BB gun out in the back yard, and he picked up a plastic milk jug and wondered what would happen if he put it over the end of the BB gun, whilst aiming in my general direction. He was maybe 12, and I was maybe 7. Lo and behold, that damn BB went right through the plastic milk jug, and hit me in the face, less than an inch below my right eye. Don't worry -- it only left a little scratch. However, the "near death" part would have been if our mom had found out. So we had a pact. We never mentioned it until we were grown.

The 2nd was totalling my car when I was 20. I was broadsided by a lowboy truck hauling a bulldozer. He felt compelled to run a red light. But, it wasn't my time to go, and I came out of it with just a mean whiplash. Whew!

Posted by: coolchick at July 31, 2008 9:22 PM

Childbirth. Seriously, I thought I was going to die! Well, I thought I was going to die the first time, which lasted 25 hours. The second time wasn't as bad, it was only 2 hours.

Posted by: Peggi at August 1, 2008 11:33 AM

Ok I remembered another time - I was driving across the Morrison bridge over the Willamette in Portland. I had to merge left, go across 4 lanes on a bridge that had a steel grating in the middle, and merge left again to get on the freeway. It was rush hour and no one would let me in! Finally I saw a gap, hit the gas, and merged left, only to find myself on the steel grating which had no traction whatsoever. I slid across all four lanes, into the oncoming traffic lane. Had the wheel cranked all the way to the right, which had no effect because I was still on the grating, then all of a sudden I was back on pavement and swerving back across all 4 lanes on the right! I just knew I was going to go over the side of the bridge into the water below, after I swiped a few vehicles. I ran into the curb (which was very tall, it's probably what saved me) popped my tire, bent my rim, ended up facing the wrong way. But, amazingly, hit NO ONE!

I still have horrible dreams about that incident, Sophie's Choice-type dreams, because my kids were 5 months old and 6 years old at the time, and I don't think I would have been able to get them both out if we had gone over.

Posted by: Peggi at August 1, 2008 12:21 PM

I got nothing...BUT, can I tell you how excited I am because I'm now living in Houston too? Texans really do have way too much state pride. :o)

Posted by: Leticia at August 1, 2008 3:08 PM

That's some story Chris! I'm glad you survived :)

Posted by: Nadine at August 1, 2008 3:59 PM

just curious - have you ever tried googling russel?

Posted by: Gayle at August 1, 2008 10:25 PM

Choking on this square lollipop that came off the stick early when I was 7, while I walked to my friend Heather's house.
I remember coughing, then not being able to take a breath, and starting to feel weak and know I did not have the strength to get to my house (i'd turned around, and was now at the far corner of my driveway).
I don't know how or why I remembered or knew about the heimlich maneuver (did they teach that on the Electric Company, Mr Rogers, or Sesame Street?)

Almost no one believes me but I put my arms around my stomach and squeezed hard and the lollipop head came out.

Posted by: Karen at August 4, 2008 10:08 PM