Sometimes my life feels like one long ass practical joke on me. Like there really is a God, but he’s not that benevolent triforce they keep talking about on the 700 club. The God in my life is a teenage prick and spends all the time in which he’s not masturbating, sending unpleasant events into my life. Sometimes the bad events are traumatic, like going to jail. Sometimes the bad events are more a general sense of dread and failure, like my alcoholism. Or sometimes they seem like direct attacks, out of my control, like when I got laid off in July because I was the only person at my branch without children or a mortgage.
But sometimes, more often than I would like, these events take an incredibly literal form. The other day I went over to my parents house to visit with my aunt one last time before she left for Pennsylvania and I wouldn’t see her again for months or possibly years. I had a great visit, we talked about all the things that have been going on in everyone’s lives. Aunt Val is always a laugh riot, and my parents drink more when she’s around, so by the end of the night everyone is always feeling good and having a ball.
And so I headed out, feeling great and ready to get home so I could have a few drinks of my own. Normally I would put in my headphones so I could listen to my iPod on the drive home, but I was thinking about the ice cold beer in the fridge and completely forgot about my music. Instead I left my headphones tucked in my shirt collar, hanging down inside my shirt on my chest.
One of the bad things about driving a scooter (of which there are many) is that after you’ve driven one for a few years you tend to zone out a little bit while driving down familiar stretches of road. The roads in my part of town are all but empty late on a Saturday night, so I get to take up a whole lane instead of white knuckling the curb as angry motorists whiz past. And I already have every bump and manhole memorized anyway. I was relaxing, cruising along by myself and enjoying the cool evening air and the smells of cut grass and flowers.
All of the sudden a brand new obstacle flew into the meager shine of my headlights. With no time to react, I recognized it as fresh squirrel roadkill. I couldn’t swerve, I couldn’t respond at all. My only choice was to fly right over top of the ground-beef-like remains and hope for the best. Now this isn’t normally a problem. In fact I routinely hit roadkill because I ride as far over as I can so less people will try to kill me in their gigantic, impatient vehicles. Generally I won’t even feel a squirrel due to the compacting of repeatedly being ran over. Deer pose a serious problem, but I’ve even hit animals as large as raccoons and possums without incident.
This was not one of those times. Teenage God was sitting in the clouds watching and laughing his ass off like he had just left a flaming bag of dog crap on my front porch. This squirrel was fresh. As I heard the thump-thump of the corpse under my tires I saw what appeared to be a bat out of hell. A seemingly huge chunk of rotting meat flew into the air directly in front of my face. I watched in slow-motion horror as it spun forward, then slowed. As life slammed back into real time, the carnage before me lost forward momentum, caught the wind, and slung back directly into my chest.
It’s only in moments like this that you find out exactly what kind of man you are. Are you the kind of man who epitomizes chest hair and who drinks whiskey without making a stupid face, or are you a shrimp-dicked little girly man who sleeps with a night light and names his pet goldfish Lolly Pop? I am, unfortunately, the latter it would seem.
As I felt the thud directly in the center of my sternum, it took every ounce of gristle in my body to keep myself from completely losing control of my vehicle and crashing in a fiery blaze, leaving behind only a sad epitaph about how wimpy I am to remember me by. I swerved erratically and flailed wildly at my chest. Unable to determine whether or not mangled animal parts were hanging off me I pulled into the next shopping center parking lot.
Without taking my helmet off I started brushing my chest again. Unable to see my chest with my helmet on, I realized in horror there was a lump on my chest under my shirt! Holy shit, the meat had flown down my collar and was stuck to my bare chest, most likely teeming with ebola, rodent aids, and spina bifida. I don’t need to know what spina bifida is to be afraid of it. I’ve seen Fox News, I’ve watched Glenn Beck, I know freaking out before you know what you’re facing is not only good for you, it’s patriotic!
Ripping my helmet off I clutched at my chest, trying to dislodge the sickening lump of what can only be pure leprosy by now. And that’s when I remembered I had forgotten about my music and I was standing in the middle of a parking lot in suburbia frantically trying to dislodge my own headphones.
As some of the adrenaline started to ebb and my heart slowed down to the level of a small dog on meth I tried to gather my senses. Did I piss myself in terror? No. Good. Was the roadkill still on me anywhere else? … No. Good. Is my scooter intact? Holy shit the pice of shit that hit me is still there! Oh sweet lord it’s so big and disgusting!
Turns out the wad of deceased squirrel had bounced harmlessly off my chest and landed in between my legs. After grossing out for another minute or so at the thought of catching some zombie movie STD from roadkill near my dick I decided I had better just wad it up in an old receipt, throw it at a nearby Hummer2 and go get drunk. I may not have had the coolest head in my unexpected, stressful situation, but I can at least say I didn’t scream like a girl (I don’t think) and I did manage to stay on the road and upright. That’s close enough to a victory for me.