AELEOPE= Anecdotal Evidence Life Exists On Planet Earth...
Humans share one extremely common trait. Stuff happens to them. Other than that, it all appears to be random. Well, OK... not random. Chaotic, perhaps. But not random. I asked for contributions to AELEOPE, and I got several. All wonderful. All exactly what I had in mind. Everytime I read a story or an anecdote by someone else, I am struck by the parallels that coincide with something that has occured to me or someone I know or knew.
Never exactly the same scenario, but the common threads that connect us all are always there. For stepping up to the plate first, I want to congratulate Nik and send her cyber hugs and kisses. This is a tale of her youth, and in its details, there is a semblance of us all...
Nik's last entry was a heartfelt one sure to inspire closer moments to the ones we love--
I'd check it out...
________"There was a dog in the Middle of the Road" _________
We were raised Catholic, or rather, we were forced to go to a Catholic church a few times by parents who, I suspect, hated it as much as we did. We usually went to mass on Saturday nights, I would guess because nobody in my house was a fan of early Sunday morning. My parents were not stupid people, they were trying to do the right thing by us, but you know what they say: "The road to Hell is paved with Good Intentions"
Their bright idea was to send my older brother, Steven, and I to religious classes every Wednesday night. Of course they had to choose a religion that didn't even have a church in the small town we lived in; no, we had to drive 20 miles to attend a hellfire and brimstone spewing mass every weekend.
My brother and I, at the start of the forced classes, were not old enough to drive there. My parents found within our small town ONE other family who also attended Holy Hellfire. We were made to ride with them every week. They had several children, none of which I particularly cared for, one I actually hated. She was one grade ahead of me, and ugly as she was, thought she was honestly God's gift to anything with a penis. The worst of it was that most penis-toting students in our school agreed. She was an easy lay, is what it was. But I hated her for it, because I was not an easy lay. I was a No-way-lay, by my own choice, but it still annoyed me that she was revered by boys for her promiscuity. Here I was having a hell of a time being a saint, and she was having a ball being a sinner; it just wasn't fair.
Every Wednesday night, they were in our driveway honking the horn of their harvest gold Plymouth Volare, and we would pile in to take another 3 hours of surly 'teachers' barking at us.
God loves you, but don't piss him off, lest ye bring the wrath down upon us all...
I'll try to remember that, thanks.
Finally my brother got his driver's license, and we were allowed to forego the smelly, windy rides with the Stench family and their horrible daughter.
For the most part, that ended our participation in religion classes. Bless that town, small as it was, with the only Catholic church for miles, it also supported one of the last movie theaters in the state to hold $2 movie night every Wednesday. For that, I thanked God, for surely he must have realized that Steven and I were out of place in his house, we were uncomfortable with religious beliefs of others being forced upon us. We were not the mindless followers driving harvest gold Volares, we preferred to make up our own minds, in our own time. And honestly, we preferred 4 month old movies with popcorn almost as old to nuns who needed desperately to have a TicTac shoved down their throats chastising us for being the sinners we were born to be.
Now, to the dog...
First off, it was a lie, but a brilliant one, and I cannot even say for sure who came up with it, Steven or myself. My assumption would be that it was a cumulative effort. We always did work well together under pressure. We came up with this lie because of who it was told to. That is where the brilliance truly lies. Know your audience gang! Our audience for this particular whopper was our mother, lover of all animals, defender of anything furry, unless it scurried, of course. She loathed anything that scurried, but other than that, she was real big on the 'don't hurt any animals, EVER' campaign. No, not a freak vegetarian, and she wasn't out protecting the ants on the sidewalk from our magnifying glass. That's why it wasn't a cow or a rat or a beetle in the road. It was a dog; for her to believe us, it had to be a dog.
My brother, even though having just gotten his license, was a cocky driver. He failed his test the first time he took it because he drove like a 30 year old. Face it, nobody is more careful and timid than someone who has a permit but not a license. Driving around with mom or dad will turn any kid into a scared driver. Any kid, that is, except my brother. He became an expert driver, in his eyes, anyway. His stops were not always complete, his hands were never at 10 and 2, as we were taught back then. The instructor failed him because Steven drove like everyone else out there, not like a geeky little sixteen year old. He took that failed test as a compliment; he could pass for an older person--score!
So he played down the cocky and played up the timid for his second go at the driving test, passed with flying colors, and was released onto the highways. With me in the passenger seat. Driving to "classes" on a Wednesday night, a long stretch of straight two-lane road in the middle of nowhere, not another car in sight...
It could have been the opening scene of a cheesy teen killer horror movie, but no, it was the beginning of the greatest lie ever told (and believed for over 20 years)
We were trying to be good people. Steven was trying to get his seatbelt on. Mind you, this was long before the days of laws requiring it. He had his left hand at 12'o clock and his right hand trying to click his seatbelt in place. I was trying to help him, but his elbow was in the way, then his big paw of a hand. As he took his eyes off the road to find what he was looking for, he leaned over, and his left hand leaned, too... oh, this can't be good.
Yeah, it wasn't.
We were driving my mother's car, a beautiful Chrysler New Yorker, it was her baby. To this day, I do not know why she let him drive it. Just bad judgment if you ask me. I don't want to come right out and say it was her fault that it happened, but I could suggest that it was her fault that it happened to her car.
As he leaned with his left hand into the center of the car to get his seatbelt fastened, the car swerved violently, kicked up gravel on the shoulder and careened into the (thank God) shallow ditch. I screamed at him to stop the car, but what did I know? He kept going, albeit a bit slower, but his reasoning was that we could just cruise the ditch until the next field approach and get out there. We didn't have to go too far, it was, after all, the middle of corn and beans country.
As we crawled around pulling mud and grass clots out of every possible nook and cranny on the front of our mother's baby, we devised a plan. We would give up our movie night so that we could pool our money for the car wash, and blast the remaining evidence off the undercarriage. Because, you know as well as I do, that's the first thing mothers do every morning, check the undercarriage of their vehicle for no apparent reason. We were determined to hide this from her--or should I say Steven was determined to hide it, I just thought it was a good plan to keep him driving instead of reverting back to Mr and Mrs Stench and their slutty daughter. We both had motives, selfish and self serving, but when such a time arises, those desperate souls will find a way to band together.
After spending all of our money at the car wash, the mud and grass disappeared to show the damage. It looked huge to me, as if a neon sign were pointing right at it; the slight indent on the bumper where, I assume, a rock in the ditch, either on the way down, or on the way up, had left it's mark.
A scarlet letter. The telltale heart.
I just knew she would see it, and we would be in even bigger trouble, not just for the accident, but for not telling her about it.This is when the real desperate band of liars emerged in us."ok, so we have to tell her the truth, right?""not all of it, not necessarily""huh?"And the story was born, and then retold an hour later, and believed for 20 years.We were driving to class, Steven went to buckle his seatbelt, took his eyes off the road for a second, and when he looked up, there was a dog in the middle of the road...
There was no time to break, we still would have hit him, so he swerved to miss it. The loose gravel on the shoulder caught us, and we went down into the ditch. We drove out of it, and checked the car, it was running fine so we took it into town and ran it through the carwash, and found this little dent. We are really sorry, but we did see the dog running away as we pulled up onto the field approach, he was okay.
Amazingly, so were we.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
AELEOPE= Anecdotal Evidence Life Exists On Planet Earth...