Daily Archives: November 3, 2010

I hit a kid with my car once

I don’t know anyone else that can say that.  I didn’t want to get my driver’s license.  I was given an ultimatum when I was 17, either get my driver’s license or quit my job.   A lot of teenagers would jump at getting their license and a lot of teenagers would jump at quitting their job.  I didn’t want to do either.  The lesser of the 2 evils was to get my license.  I’d already had my permit, that wasn’t an issue, passed the test months before w/no problem.   I’d taken the behind-the-wheel classes and passed, all I had left to do was take the driving test which I had, thus far, managed to put off for over a year.  My parents made an appointment for me and I failed the driving part for knocking down a cone during parallel parking.  Okay, that’s fine with me.  Didn’t work,  a new appointment was made and I had to take the driving test again.   The 2nd time I made a right hand turn in front of a sign that stated “No Turn On Red”.   That was okay with me too.  Some teens brag that they’re taking their test on this date and at this time and then they fail and are embarrassed.  I don’t recall telling anyone I was taking the tests, why would I?  I didn’t want to do it.  Third time out I passed and my dad drove me home and told my mom that I’d failed again because I hit a squad car.  My mom, even though she’d been married to my dad for decades, had no problem believing it.

That was the fall of my senior year in hs.  I found out that a driver’s license could come in handy.  My dad worked nights at the time and came home right about the time I needed to leave for school.    If I “accidentally”  missed the bus I could drive myself to school.  Um, yeah, I missed the bus a lot.   Although I got into a lot of trouble at school in my freshman and sophomore years, I had grown out of that by the time I was a junior and a senior.  For some reason I had to stay late at school on this particular day and I can’t for the life of me think of what that would have been since I was past the age of getting detention.  Anyway, it couldn’t have been too late that I had to stay because it was January and it wasn’t dark yet when I headed home. Just late enough so that the jr. high kids were home already.  To get home from the hs I just had to leave the parking lot and head south to the (then) 1st left, go 1/2 a block and head north 1/2 the distance I’d traveled south.  Had to have been a least a mile since I could have take a bus  but not much more than that.  I was at the heading north part when I saw my jr. high neighbors playing hockey in the street in front of my parents house.  I was still a couple houses away from the driveway so there was plenty of time for me to not hit anyone.  The speed limit was 30 and I was going 15 to 20, still a new driver and driving on ice, being cautious.  I saw them all playing hockey and instead of pumping the breaks I slammed on the breaks.  The car slid.  Everyone playing hockey left the street when they saw me coming except Mike.  Mike decided to play chicken and laid down on the street, in the middle of the street.  The car slid.  Just as the car decided it was going to stop was about the same time that Mike decided that it wasn’t going to stop.  Mike sat up and the bumper caught him in the mouth.   Me, doing the entire panic thing and now right in front of my driveway threw the car into park and ran into the house screaming “I  JUST RAN OVER MIKE!”.   Right, I left the keys in the car and the car on.    I am very seldom logical in panic mode, ask Rob.  Apparently while I was running into my house, someone else ran into Mike’s house and screamed something similar.   Both dads took Mike to the emergency room.  Mike’s mouth had bled a little and the bumper had knocked a tooth loose.  The emergency doctor told them all to get Mike to a dentist within the next 24 hours or he’d lose that tooth.  Other than that he was fine.  So a week later Mike went to the dentist and there was no hope for the tooth.  A week later, a week later…I know.

My dad had paid all costs for the emergency room, the dentist, everything.  Mike didn’t go to the  dentist for a week after the bumper hit him and he lost the tooth and a year later, when I was 18 (and a legal adult) Mike’s dad lost his job and decided to sue both my dad and me, each of us, separately, for 26  thousand dollars apiece.  At the time I was still the naive kid from the suburbs, even if I was 18.  I was shocked that that could actually be done, still in the disbelief mode when a lawyer that my dad had hired came over to our h0use.   The lawyer asked me what happened and I told him.  When he read it back to me it sounded nothing like what I had said.   That shocked me too.  Since birth I was raised to believe that most people are honest and do the right thing and to never get into a car with a stranger.  Having the lawyer read back to me his interpretation of what I’d said felt like getting into a car with a stranger.  While he was reading I’d say “wait” or “but”  but he didn’t change a word.  I looked at my dad who was looking at me and he looked as surprised as I was.   Bottom line there, Mike got a thousand dollars in a trust fund when he turned 18 and I got a big  jolt into the real world.  Although I still prefer my little world.

Fast forward 20 years.  Mike and I had run into each other more than a few times through the years.  We never discussed the court case.  I used to babysit him, we’d start there, when we ran into each, other and follow it up to the catching up w/each other’s lives.  One night, while still working at the Timberlodge when I’d met my co-workers in the local bar after work, I noticed an acquaintance of mine sitting alone.  I left my co-workers to go keep her from being alone but it was just acquaintance so we didn’t have a great deal to chit chat about so I was scanning the room when I saw Mike.  I mentioned to this girl that I thought that was the guy I ran over with my car.  As she looked up to who I was referring to, he and  I made eye contact and he smiled and headed over to our table.  This girl had apparently missed the acknowledging smile and just notice this big guy headed over to us.  “Jacque” she said “he’s pretty big and I think we should leave now”.   Not only did I get a big laugh from that, Mike, when he joined us did as well.  That’s when I decided that it could, at times, be a fun thing to say.

Not a fun thing to have done and definitely not a thing to brag about, however, if I’m ever stuck in an incredibly boring conversation that I can’t get out of , I have gained the right to just throw out there “I hit a kid with a car once”.    ‘Nuff said.