We Dodged Another Bullet

I haven’t written anything for a while, in part due to my usual laziness when it comes to writing, but there’s another reason as well. I was kind of angry with my Dad for a couple of months after Christmas and having a hard time appreciating his charm and humor. Here’s why. On Christmas Day, Dad, my two sisters and I were involved in a very serious car accident. A drunk driver spun out of control and ran into us as she approached us on a snow-covered road just five miles from my house. It was a violent crash, and several people involved sustained serious injuries, including my sister Mary, who suffered a fractured sternum and bruising to the heart and lung. Dad got really banged up and had horrible looking bruises from his neck to his ribcage on one side and a foot that turned black on the other side. (True to form, Dad refused to be transported to the hospital by ambulance from the scene, saying, “I’ve been biffed around before.”) The two of them were riding together in the back seat. Jenny and I were in front, and we only sustained some bruising and whiplash. All in all, we are lucky to be alive, given the speed and violence of the crash, and the fact that our car flipped over once in the air. Miraculously, we landed on the wheels in the soft snow in the ditch. So, why would this make me angry toward my father? Because, HE WAS NOT WEARING HIS SEAT BELT! “I think seat belts are a good idea, but I’ll be goddamned if the government is going to tell me I have to wear one.” (As you can imagine, the little dinging reminder to fasten one’s seat belt drives him into fits of profanity.) So, he wasn’t wearing his seat belt, and when he saw that we were going to crash, he dove down between Mary’s knees and the front seat as best he could. Now, you can admire such quick reflexes in an 80-year-old man, and I do. However, I figure he became a human missile in the crash, and probably his head slammed into Mary’s chest at some point. In addition to the drunk, I blame him and his bloody-minded libertarianism for Mary’s cracked sternum. At this point, three and a half months later, Mary is getting close to 100% healed up, she has not expressed anger at Dad, he has not expressed remorse but rather some sort of laissez faire amusement at the probability that he caused her injury, and now I always make sure he has his seat belt fastened when he’s in my car. It’s ironic that Dad was quite outraged over the fact that this woman was driving drunk on Christmas Day at 2:00 in the afternoon and had no insurance. “Drunk?! At two o-clock in the afternoon! On Christmas Day! Jesus Christ!” I’m not at all sure he would deem his own behavior in this incident irresponsible, but I sure do. Anyway, I’m over it and focusing on feeling grateful that my whacky family is intact and appreciating all their many wonderful idiosyncrasies.

 

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