The Quora website offers a bunch of interesting questions – and some fascinating answers.
Almost every one of us has had at least one time in their life when they narrowly escaped Death, unless they were raised like The Boy in the Bubble, or as a marshmallow, in a bag with other marshmallows – and even marshmallows are constantly under threat of being made into Rice Krispy Squares.
One would think that any brush with Death would be overt, obvious, noticeable, and memorable! The big truck that ran the red light, and whistled by, inches from your car’s nose, instead of into your door, is unforgettable. Certainly the time that my own cousin pushed me into eight feet of water before I could swim, as a joke, and then had to dive in and drag me out, has not been forgotten. The time my brother put a hole in a wall, a foot from my head, with a shotgun, is still fresh in my memory.
The time that I was perhaps the closest to dying horrifically, while interesting, was so quiet and restrained that it was a long time after, before I realized just how close it had been.
When I first came to this burgh from my hometown for employment, half a century ago, I was only one of many. Some of us quickly got jobs, and acquired cars. Many of us didn’t. If I wanted to go home for a weekend, I had a list of people that I could call. One Sunday night, I got a ride back with two cousins, one who owned and drove an old car.
There were to be six of us in this sedan. Already running late, the last was to be picked up in the next town to the south. The East/West highway from there to our North/South route curved northward, around a bend in the river. The other highway then curved back West, before turning south. If we took a county road across the narrow bottom of a triangle, we could save five miles of driving, and five minutes of time.
Soon, we were humming along at 70/75 MPH. Halfway across, there was an old cast-iron bridge over a narrow river tributary. The Highway Department had decided that it needed replacing with a modern, concrete span. They had bulldozed a gravel access road beside it, down the bank and across a pontoon bridge.
Our pilot driver never even slowed down. He just cranked the steering wheel, and down we went. Six passengers, each with some sort of luggage, this old vehicle was wallowing on its springs.
Up onto this floating monstrosity we went. Before seatbelts, six heads made dents in the overhead roof-liner. Annnndd….
Off we plunged. And six sore tailbones were driven somewhere up near our shoulder blades!
A half a mile up the road, our chauffeur realized that he could watch the gas gauge unwind. Something that we had smacked into, had punched a hole in our fuel tank, and we were spewing gasoline on the road behind us. (Cue the exploding airplane scene from Diehard 2)
We were extremely lucky that whatever had poked the hole, had not also stuck a spark. Even now, a hot exhaust pipe, or a cigarette, casually tossed from a passing car, could turn us into a hurtling mass of S’mores. We continued at high speed back to his parents’ home, and got there with drops of fuel left. He managed to borrow a car for a week, and we were all so glad that we would get back – late, but back – to the big city that night, that it was long after before I realized just how close our call had been.
Comment on your own adventure, or use this story as a prompt to write your own death-defying tale. I’m going to put my asbestos underwear on, and check the fire extinguisher. See you in a couple of days. 😳