Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday the 13th

Today, a post that has nothing to do with cycling or Steve's on Cannon.  Instead, I wanted to acknowledge one of two things.  Either the curse of Friday the 13th or the hubris of youth.  Either way it results in bloodshed.

Approximately 28 years ago today, no, exactly 28 years ago today, on Friday, January 13, 1984, as I had breakfast, I warned my parents about the dangers of driving on a day that was cursed.  I laughed at the pointless fear of the number 13 (technical term: agoraphobia)(by the way, that comment was inserted specifically for the benefit of my younger son, Code name - The Quibbler, who will be up in arms about that fact that fear of the number 13 is not agoraphobia.  No, really it is called arachnophobia) and I laughed at the idea that any one day on the calendar would be that much more dangerous or cursed than any other.  As a high school kid, I'm sure that I thought that all days on the calendar were either blissful or cursed, depending on my mood at the moment, but I was sure that one particular day would not be cast as evil by mysterious forces.

Having issued my facetious warnings, I headed out the car with my brother where we met two other kids in the neighborhood that I drove to school daily.  We left the neighborhood, as we did every day, probably by being lawfully obedient within three blocks of home and then potentially less so as we made progress towards school.

Our drive took us up one of Spokane's thoroughfares.  This one had an "S" bend in it and, unfortunately for me that day, a car wash was situated just up the way so that the water from the cleaning process was able to run off of the parking lot and onto the road as it bent around the site.  On this cold January morning, this provided a nice wide slick area of black ice.  I came cruising onto it, blithely thinking that I was 90 seconds from school, when I started sliding across the street and into the path of an oncoming vehicle.

In those days, I was driving a small and economical vehicle.  A japanese econobox, as we called them at the time.  A Honda to be specific, and a stripped down, bare bones Civic to be even more specific.  That car weighed about 300 pounds more than the engine.  I was probably able to pick up the back end of it in those days.

The oncoming car in question, on the other hand, was a good old 'merican made piece of US Steel with a V-8 attached - A Cadillac Seville.

It wasn't a fair fight.  It was like putting Pee Wee Herman in the ring with Cassius Clay.  Dakota Fanning versus Joe Frazier.  A 115 lb cross-dresser against Oscar De La Hoya.  Wait, that's not right.  Anyway, let's just say it wasn't a fair fight.  The Caddy in question had a bruised front, but I went all in - totaling the Honda and smashing a large dent in the windshield with my forehead.  This dent resulted in some confusion for me, as my brother clearly recalls standing next to me when the police office asked to see my driver's license.  I pulled out my wallet, looked straight at the driver's license on top and said I couldn't find it.  I started searching through my wallet, looking at every item including the license and getting frantic that I couldn't find it.  My brother took the wallet from my hands, gave the license to the cop and they both helped me sit down.  It was my last memory for a few hours.

My wife thinks it explains a few things now.  I don't recall whether it does or not.  Either way, I just know that I tread a bit more cautiously on Friday the 13th.  Out of respect of triskaidekaphobia, if nothing else.

(Dear Quibbler - Oh, all right.  That is just a general fear of the number 13.  Fear of Friday the 13th is really friggatriskaidekaphobia.  Now are you happy?)

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