You know one of the things that scares me the most about having an 11 year old boy?
Laughing and bs’ing with the guys the other night, we were spinning stories of our misguided youth and sampling some local beverages. It was all very Monty Python, except without the keen wit, or the fancy accents, or the great stories. Take all that away and what do you have? Ammuricans!
Anyway, we did have a fine collection of stories about car wrecks, motorcycle wrecks, bike wrecks, skateboard wrecks, binge drinking, brawls, broken bones, ruptured innards, and one about running moonshine that was a surprise even to me.
I really don’t know why any of us are still alive.
At some point during that night a long forgotten incident from my youth slowly rose to the top of my mind like a gas bubble in a mud pit. Dimly I recalled a driving trip through the mountains of Virginia with about 6 other guys in my 1974 Toyota Celica. I think that car only had 4 seats.
Heading toward a far-off girls college, I kept it floored at all times and we lost a few fenders and some other non-essential items along the way. After a couple hours, we were headed down a long hill at 70+ miles an hour when one of the guys, who was sitting in the lap of another guy in the passenger seat, was stricken by a bolt of brilliance and leaned over, turned off the ignition, and tossed the keys into the back seat.
What Hilarity! What Fun! It’s a manual, I’ve got the clutch in, we don’t need no stinking engine; and we coasted down the long, straight, mountain without a hitch
Then toward the bottom of the hill, a rest stop approached. “Pull over, pull over!” came the cry from the distended bladders in the back, and I made the slight turn of the wheel to enter the exit lane at 70 miles an hour.
“Click,” said the steering wheel politely; and locked itself.
No key? Sorry, No Steering!
Well, by some incredible stroke of luck, or the grace of the Great Flying Spaghetti Monster, or the god that watches over drunks and babies, the off ramp turned out to be the perfect arc to match the locked wheels of that speeding clunker.
We flew into the parking area in spray of rust and oil smoke and ran straight through the center of a dozen parking spaces. There wasn’t one car parked there, thank the Spaghetti Monster again.
We ground to a halt as the wheels on the right side jammed against the curb and my friends flopped out of the car onto the concrete, channeling Spicoli before he even existed. They all had a good laugh at the dummy who couldn’t park and was suddenly ashen-faced and covered in sweat.
That’s why I worry at night about my 11 year old.
Good news is, I think he’s smarter than me.