Yes, apparently it is time for another top ten list from me; it is now my goal to have at least ten top ten lists by the end of the year. Why do I do them? Well, for one thing I am by nature a lazy person; writing anything of real substance or significance requires a great deal of thought on my part (for the faithful, you’ve no doubt noticed that posts of a thoughtful nature from this blog are fairly uncommon). Thinking, I have found, commands a considerable amount of time and effort, at least for me. Anything that demands my time and effort then becomes, by definition, a chore and as I’ve already mentioned, I am lazy and therefore quite wary of and generally resistant to anything chore or chore-like. Top ten lists, or in this case a list of ten, come fairly easily to me and as a result avoid the chore distinction. This is not to say the quality of these posts suffer because they’re generally void of any substantive thought; on the contrary, and as proof I offer you…absolutely nothing, because I would have to think about it and, as I’ve already established, that is a chore.
So now, without wasting any further time (beyond the entire opening paragraph), I offer you (the least effortlessly remembered) Ten Times I Nearly Died:
1) As a toddler, I “fell” into the Yellowstone River and the swift current began to take me away. As I hurtled past, my dad managed to reach in and pull me out. My siblings claim that from then on the family dynamic was irrevocably altered; details of the “accident” remain sketchy to this day.
2) When I was six, I climbed a very tall and narrow palm tree. As I neared the top, I looked down to see how high I’d climbed (at least four stories, give or take two stories), then panicked and loosened my grip. I slid down the entire length of the trunk and shredded my chest and stomach like a chunk of cheese down a grater. While this may not sound like a near death experience, I suggest you peel off your nipples and epidermis with palm bark before passing judgement.
3) When I was six, I was encouraged by a mob of my peers to jump from the roof of a tall shed onto a Privet hedge. The hedge was very thick, leafy and healthy, providing the illusion of softness, and in the crowd was eleven-year-old Bridgette, who could throw like a guy and was therefore someone I wished to impress. After I managed to both extract myself from the impromptu woody colo-rectal exam and retrieve my sac from among the tangled branches, I ran home crying, with the sound of Bridgette’s laugh ringing in my ears.
4) When I was six, I was given a physical by a physician on the school stage; the entire student body awaited their turn from the other side of the stage curtain. As I performed the obligatory “turn your head and cough”, the doctor placed his stethoscope on my chest; I promptly sprayed him, me, the stage and the curtain (that stethoscope was cold). It was like someone dropped a miniature (I was six; watch it) fire hose, flailing and firing in all directions. He stumbled back through the curtain, yelling angrily (some bedside manner); I stood, paralyzed with shock, and finished peeing before running off. I didn’t come close to dying, obviously, but clearly wanted to.
5) When I was six (by now you have likely determined that I was a very stupid six-year-old), I was shooting baskets with an older brother at the school basketball courts. For no coherent reason (my brother says it’s because I was a little *#%!), I threw a rock at and hit a very large, ultra-ripped man playing on the next court. He came stomping over, with rage dancing in his eyes; my then thirteen-year-old brother stepped between us and somehow diffused the situation. A couple of minutes later, as my brother admonished me for being a little *#%!, I was hit by a rock thrown from the other court. I was struck not only by the rock, but also by the man’s cruelty and immaturity and my brother’s unwillingness to defend my honor.
6) When I was ten, my buddy and I took turns standing in a closet to look at two glow-in-the-dark models we had just completed. Unfortunately, the closet had no interior handle and my friend was deaf. For what seemed like an eternity, I was locked in the dark with The Mummy and Dracula and no one to hear my screams of abject terror.
7) When I was fifteen, I found my stepfather’s gun; I took the clip out of the gun and started handling it. I stuck the gun in my mouth, up to my head, aimed at various things around the bedroom, and finally settled on a spot on the carpet near my mom’s sleeping poodle. I pulled the trigger; the resulting explosion shook the deaf dog from his slumber and he bolted from the room. I didn’t know about the chambered round; by the grace of God, no one was hurt. I don’t know what would’ve happened to my mother had I shot the dog…
8) While in college, my friend and I were walking past a ridiculously large, drunk biker trying to force his way back into a bar’s entrance at closing time. I may have made an innocent comment or two about the man’s ill-conceived plan – something along the lines of “What a foolish beast of burden. I seriously equate him to the opening of one’s pooper.” Whether this drunk biker had a keen sense of hearing or my volume control was slightly askew was a point of contention between my friend and me later on, but for whatever reason the monster instantly turned and set upon me with murderous intent. I did the only thing I could: I threw the perfect right hand, which landed solidly on the point of his bearded chin. I heard his teeth clack, and for those of you who have played baseball, the feeling of my knuckles on his face was like that of your hands when you crush the ball with the fat of the bat: I felt nothing at all. I stood to admire my home run ball (him falling on his face), but the next thing I knew I was on my knees, arms at my sides, lungs free of air, looking up as he raised a boot to shove in my face. Fortunately for him, the bouncers stepped in before I could crack his heel with my nose.
9) While in college, I turned onto a two lane road; there was a guy on a motorcycle at least a quarter-mile back. He was upon me in an instant (he had to be going over 100mph), pulled alongside me, cussing and motioning for me to pull over. Never one to shy away from a fight (he was maybe 5’2″ and at least in his mid to late fifties), I agreed and quickly pulled over. Before I could open my door, however, he came alongside, stuck the cold barrel of a .357 against my nose and cocked the hammer back. I have seen evil in the eyes of man before, and this ZZ Top looking munchkin held the glare of Hitler, Bundy and Berkowitz all at once. I blubbered apologetically and smooched his rump with butterfly kisses until he finally roared off. The shame that almost overcame me was quickly washed away with the overwhelming sense of relief that came from knowing I had done the right and necessary thing.
10) I let my wife drive me once last week.