Back Story

I am in pretty good health but that is subject to change at the drop of a hat. My back seems to go out of whack throughout the day even when I am just sitting at my desk. I can usually free the stuck parts with a few simple movements. I might have injured it playing sports. I did a lot of that. The first time I remember throwing it out was while doing cartwheels on our front lawn sometime during high school. From then on I could only do a cartwheel going in one direction. Sort of like when I learned how to throw a curve ball so good, I could only throw curve balls. And then I injured my back it in a car accident.

I was a freshman at Indiana University and I hooked up with a guy going to Syracuse on Thanksgiving. He had posted a listing on the IU Ride Board in the Commons and I gave him a call. There were six of us in a restored 56 Chevy. That sounds like a lot but it was perfectly comfortable in the back seat. We were getting low on gas in Pennsylvania near this town called North East. It’s on Route 90 near the New York border. You can pretty much guess what part of the state it is in. We got off the highway to look for gas and there wasn’t anything open. We drove for a bit on a small road and ran out of gas.

We walked up to a farm house and rang the bell. A woman told us we were in luck because there was a gas station at the bottom of the big hill out front. All we had to do was push the car over the crest of the hill. The owner of the car sat behind the wheel and we all pushed but were having a hard time getting this tank to the top of the hill. The owner got out and pushed from the rear and I was reaching in the window from the side to steer the car while pushing. We were giving it everything we had and got it up to the crest where it started picking up steam. The owner yelled, “Jump in and steer” so I did.

I was rolling down this hill when a car came up behind me. I was watching him in my mirror and he was coming up pretty fast while I was just rolling. I turned on my lights, pumped the brakes and he kept coming at me. I pulled off to the shoulder and the guy pulled off to the shoulder. I pulled back on the road and he followed me. I was watching all this in that tiny little mirror and the guy just plowed into me.

I wound up down by the gas pedal curled up like a ball. The back seat of the Chevy came out and landed on top of me. The horn on the other car was stuck in the loud position. I worked my way free and walked back to find a man and a woman slumped over in the front seat. Their heads had shattered the windshield and they were both very bloody. The man was groaning.

The other guys caught up to us and the owner was pissed. He was pissed at me too! We walked to a house and called an ambulance for the couple. The car was towed and we hitchhiked home separately. My back was hurting me for weeks.


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