I like to say that I’ve almost died more times than I can count, but that simply isn’t true.
There was the time a wannabee serial killer tried to run my car into a concrete pillar while I drove down the highway. The car started to violently spin, all traction between my tires and the pavement broken. I went by the pillar without touching it, and then my car rolled up an embankment onto the acceleration ramp. The roof of the car collapsed everywhere down into the seats, except where my head happened to be. I kicked the back window free from the frame and crawled out from under without a scratch, spitting little chunks of safety glass that had gone into my mouth during the long scream I started when the car began to tumble.
(My car wasn’t nearly this bad.)
A Rottweiler surprised me once, leaping for my throat before I could clear my gun. It had me dead to rights, but a small dog I was walking at the time jumped into the jaws in order to buy me some time. Since I couldn’t shoot the attacking dog without hitting my own, I took a step to the side and broke some big pooch ribs with my hiking boots. This caused the Rot to drop my pet without seriously injuring him, which was good, but it also slowed me down enough so the owner arrived at the run and covered the Rottweiler with his own body before I could defend myself decisively.
At any rate, another episode gone by without a scratch. My toes were bruised up from the kick, and smarted for a few days. Hardly counts as a scratch, though.
(Not the actual dog I mentioned.)
Someone saw me walking my dogs late one night, so he drove his car up on the sidewalk and gunned the engine towards me. I was carrying a really big Magnum at the time, so I snatched it from the shoulder holster and aimed it at the driver side of the windshield and four inches above the hood. He twitched the steering wheel and all four tires went back on to the pavement, the car never touching me or the dogs who anchored me to the spot via their leashes tangled around my left hand. I couldn’t give anyone a description, dazzled as I was by his high beams and the rush of adrenaline.
(That is the actual .357 I was carrying that night. Still have it.)
There was the time I was shot at while hiking. Three redneck teens who were out poaching before hunting season mistook my rustling for a deer, and opened up on the noise. I flopped down behind a tree that was far too narrow for my ample girth, and listened to the solid slugs crashing through the bushes all around me. When they stopped to reload, I went up the small hill they were standing on like some sort of super-powered gazelle and read them the riot act. They were far more surprised that a fat man could move that fast than they were at finding out that the deer they were shooting at wasn’t a deer at all.
Peed my pants during that one, I was so scared. The only time in my life I couldn’t hold it during a time of stress.
(Not one of the kids who tried to shoot me.)
And that is it. Four close calls. Not only can I count them all, I don’t even have to take my shoes off!
Oh, there are plenty of others that stand out in my mind, but I have to admit that the possibility of imminent death was not very high. I just thought I was about to die, but there was no real chance that it would be worse than losing a limb or becoming massively disfigured. Certainly not good enough to include the incidents in the “About To Die” file.
I’m sharing this sordid tale of a life misspent with you due to this essay. It would appear that the author is upset that she is about to turn 50 years old, and is struggling with the whole midlife crisis thing.
That isn’t the way I look at aging. For me, every birthday is a parade! Hey, I managed to make it yet another year! And I intend to get older and more wizened until I can’t walk anymore and have to confine myself to a wheelchair!
Don’t ask me why I feel this way. It is a mystery!
According to this Wikipedia entry, a midlife crisis is often triggered when someone realizes their own mortality. I think that happened to me when I was seven years old.