Well, I am glad so many people got such a good laugh at my expense yesterday. Let me just say that you wouldn’t have handled the situation any better! Since my childhood seems to be so entertaining we will stay there for a couple of days at least.
The next three days will be a 3 part series from the most unlucky spring of my life. It will start with the first time I almost killed myself and the second & third post will be about… come on! I’m not going to tell you now because you wouldn’t come back and read tomorrow. As with the first tale about my brush with death, I will try to keep this light. But it is required for the set up of the second & third part of the story that I will post next.
Spring 1996. Early April when I was in the 5th grade. It is interesting to note that this story also includes my best friend since 1st grade, Fred (I don’t know why I didn’t name him in the first story…). I went to Pine River, MN to spend the weekend at Fred’s dad’s house. I remember being very excited to go, but there wasn’t a specific event, I just had so much fun hanging around Fred and his older brother Mike. It was a normal Minnesota winter and there was still a lot of snow on the ground but spring was just around the corner.
I don’t remember much from that weekend other than the lie that would endanger my life less than 24 hours later (lesson – don’t lie). We were riding in the car home from going out for dinner (one of my favorite hobbies at the time) when Fred’s dad asked me, “have you ever driven a snowmobile before, Tim?”
No, I thought. But I had driven a jet ski numerous times, how different could they be? So I said, “Yes.” Fred gave me a knowing glance as he still could probably do today when I am telling a lie, but letting this lie go meant an opportunity to go snowmobiling the following morning, which is what we decided to do early Sunday morning before I had to go back home.
Sunday morning we were up early and Fred’s dad made us eggs with American cheese on them. They were the worst eggs I have ever had, sorry, but that is something I still remember to this day. I barely ate any of them… we remember Tim at this age from yesterdays story, right? Not eating food in front of me was not something that I was accustomed too. I couldn’t even stomach the toast because it was, ugh, wheat (we always at white Wonder bread at my house, you know, the healthy bread…). Fred was not chubby and awkward.
Finally, breakfast was over and it was time to take the snowmobiles out. Fred’s cousin, Logan, had come over as well so the three of us got dressed in our snow gear and went out to have fun. We had a snowmobile and a dirt bike.
It was one of those sunny, late winter/early spring days where there was still tons of snow on the ground but you felt like you didn’t even need a jacket. We went down behind the house about 100 yards to a football field sized clearing, this is where we were to stay and ride the snowmobile and dirt bike. Right before we reached the clearing we stopped next to an old pump-house that was made out of cinder blocks and started our engines.
Logan started the snowmobile and asked me if I wanted to drive first. I told him I wasn’t really sure how and he told me to hop on behind him and he would give me a quick lesson.
Quick side note: as I remember this story it is so foggy still, it is like remembering a dream and trying to hold on to it after you have been awake for 5 minutes.
Fred fired up the dirt bike as I hopped on the snowmobile and took off with us following quickly behind. Logan took me on a loop showing me the gas and the brake and how they worked. It looked exactly like a jet ski, this was going to be easier than I thought. He took me on one more loop and hit the little jump that had been made over the winter, it was awesome. Then Logan stopped and asked me if I wanted to drive. I said yes and he hopped off to go for a turn on the dirt bike.
I started on the same loop Logan and I had just completed. It was easy, just like a jet ski, I was having a blast. I made the turn and headed toward the jump going towards the pump-house and Fred’s house. I was feeling brave and gave it some gas as I hit the jump and went air born. It was more than I had expected but I landed safely. I looked back at Fred and Logan who were laughing at what I had just done, I don’t think I got as much air as I thought I did. I turned my head back around to focus on where I was going when a saw the snow bank ahead of me. It was much bigger than the jump I had just hit. I panicked and squeezed the brake or what I thought was the brake…
In reality I squeezed the gas. I hit the snow bank going about 55 mph, I flew about 25 feet and landed just before the pump-house that I smashed into (I don’t remember any of that). I woke up in the snow on my back and heard Fred running toward the house yelling for his dad to call 911, then I was out again. Next, I woke up in the snow with Fred’s dad over top of me packing my right wrist in snow. I raised my head to look at my legs because my pants felt really wet, that is when I saw the blood. I looked at Fred’s dad and asked, “is this a dream?”
He said, “a very bad one.”
A lump formed in my throat and as I began to cry as said, “my parents are going to be so mad at meeee!” I pictured the infamous “look” that I was sure to get from my dad (if you’ve ever gotten it or witnessed it, you know how terrifying it can be. It expresses anger, frustration, disappointment and rage at the same time in a way I have never seen anywhere else, it was is his most powerful move). I am laying there in my own blood, semi conscious and the only thing I can think of is how much trouble I am going to be in. Then, I was out again.
The next time I came to was in the ambulance. I had an oxygen mask over my face but tried to ask the EMT a question, “mrmmrmri mrmrdie.”
“What?” he asked.
“Am I going to die?” I repeated.
“No, you’re going to be fine.” he said.
Until I see my parents, I thought.
My injuries were fairly serious, but I was extremely lucky since I was NOT wearing a helmet (things suddenly make sense don’t they?). I was thrown on the handle bars, the left handle bar punctured the middle of my inner thigh barely missing my femoral artery (that would have meant death, but now it just means I have half a quadricept in my left leg and a nice scar). I broke my right wrist badly and had a severe concussion.
I will end today on this thought. This accident was nobody’s fault but my own. I had no business being on that snowmobile and I was offered a helmet and I turned it down. I am sorry that I put everyone in the position that I did.
The good news is, that this accident is the start of a string of events that I am sure will be extremely entertaining, tune in tomorrow. Cheers.