Blog: Oh, I...Almost Died On Two Different Nights

(originally written 8/23/17)

Ok, spoiler alert: I didn't really die...was having trouble coming up with another death-related 80's song title to spoof.


You may have heard of "Satan's Bucket List" by a different name, or by no name at all. It's not like your conventional bucket list—these are things you don't necessarily want to experience, but you're more interesting if you have. Breaking a bone, getting slapped in public, being caught up in a police chase, surviving a bear encounter...you get the drift.


Two weeks or so ago, I got to check off one of those list items.


There Josie and I were, innocently driving to Concord to meet my buddy Nate and his kids for dinner. We were headed up 780 in the right lane, doing 70. 
As you may know, I'm a professional driver, trained to always be checking my mirrors. "Keepin' my eyes movin'", as we say. It could have saved my child and I from severe misfortune on this day. Because out of nowhere, a vehicle approached my tail doing at minimum 85, probably closer to 90.


This car had no intention of stopping or even slowing—it was getting through no matter what. The left lane was occupied, leaving only a narrow right shoulder for it to use. I had about a second to process what was happening, jerk as far left in my lane as possible, and hope for the best.


It worked; the maniac, barely in control, barreled past me on the shoulder, then weaved through the handful of surrounding cars—all the while looking ready to flip over—before finding some daylight. No idea if the other cars intentionally left space for ol' Loonywheels to zigzag through...but since he/she was not going to be stopped, it's rather fortunate that they did.


Just then, I caught wind of the cop car in pursuit—this wasn't your ordinary foolish driver, this was a fleeing suspect. And obviously a dangerous one; you don't run from the cops at 90 MPH because they caught you littering.


The last action I saw was up the next off-ramp, where our friend opted to risk more lives and zoom through a red light at a busy junction, very nearly colliding with a passing minivan at the top of the ramp. In retrospect, I'm convinced if I hadn't suddenly jerked out of this person's way earlier, he/she would have knocked me out of their way.


My next flirtation with peril took my past battles with depression and ongoing battles with idiocy, and mixed them into a nice cocktail of throat-closing fun.


For four years, I've taken Depakote pills for said depression. They're the size and color of those removable erasers—but about 50 times as hard; taking them is a real chore. Three days after the high-speed chase, I decided to make medicating FUN! I was going to wash my pill down by chugging a near-empty jug of Arizona tea. Yep...that was a bad idea.


Improperly guided down my throat, the pill briefly lodged in my windpipe and for five full seconds there, I wasn't sure it was coming out. Even Josie could tell all was not well. But with some effort and contorting, I hacked the pill loose while promising not to do anything that dumb for at least three weeks.


(This space could be used to share the even dumber way I almost killed myself last year, but I'm not here to talk about the past.)


How have I made the most out of my second and third chance? Civil rights activism, tree planting, reconnecting with old friends, finally telling that special girl how special she is, volunteering at the community center—I watched some good movies that included all those things. Time well spent.


Take care, everybody.
And take your pills properly.