What's The Closest You Have Come to Buying The Farm?

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1st Lieutenant
May 30, 2011
Cape Canaveral
The closest I have come to buying the farm occurred one day in 1976-77. It was about 1600 and I was driving on I-40 between Tinker AFB and Shawnee, OK. I was on my way to a flying lesson.

They were resurfacing the Eastbound lanes on I-40 and had routed all the Eastbound traffic onto what usually was the the Left Westbound lane. There was a solid bumper-to-bumper line of cars in the Right Westbound lane. They had lowered the speed limit to 45 MPH but of course the idiots were ignoring that. I was doing 50 and had a woman in a big car tailgating me closely and another big car tailgating her almost as close.

I looked up ahead and saw what I at first assumed was an optical illusion. It seemed that the road was curved so that a truck appeared to be heading Westbound in my lane. Then I realized it was no illusion. There really was a truck headed the wrong way down the highway, right at me.

He started blowing his horn. Clearly, he was not stopping, nor just going around a stalled car in the Westbound lane.

When I first saw the truck I was on a bridge, nowhere to go. I crossed the bridge, swerved around a "Safe Driving" sign and got over off the Right edge of the road. Did you ever notice that the Left lanes on Interstate highways have no real shoulder?

It was a box truck, the cab over engine kind, and the driver was a white guy with an Afro haircut. And he was not even slowing down. He passed me no more than 2 sec after I got over.

I looked in the rear view mirror. The idiot woman tailgating me had pulled over as well. The car behind her had done a 90 degree turn and was at right angle to the highway, in the median.

I got back on the road and the idiot woman was tailgating me again.

I saw no evidence of a huge wreck on the highway on the way back so I guess the guy in the truck had not gone head on into anyone after running me off the road.

Over 10 years later, in October 1988, I was driving along that same stretch of I-40 and was dismayed to find that they were resurfacing that same stretch of Eastbound road, again, with the traffic once more routed into the Westbound lane. That time I made it through without incident, but I wondered how I could be so lucky as to get to do that twice.
On the evening of 7 April 2013, I did buy the farm, twice. Once at the scene and then again enroute to the hospital.

And this was a high-speed head-on. I was doing 50 and the old gal (who passed out from diabetes) was doing 60 when she came into my lane.

On the evening of 7 April 2013, I did buy the farm, twice. Once at the scene and then again enroute to the hospital.

And this was a high-speed head-on. I was doing 50 and the old gal (who passed out from diabetes) was doing 60 when she came into my lane.

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Wow! Glad you're still around, brother. Guess you needed more time on earth to repent before you were called to the pearly gates?
Wow! Glad you're still around, brother. Guess you needed more time on earth to repent before you were called to the pearly gates?
We've figured since I flat-lined twice, both places wanted nothing to do with me, so they sent me back :lol:
I've had several near-runs, but the closest was probably one night after work.

I'd gotten off at a little after eleven. I worked right down the street from the beach in Ventura, and often took a guitar with me to jam on the beach after work. This night, I went down to the beach and saw a bonfire, so dragged my guitar down there. A bongo player was there, we jammed out and had a couple of beers, but with a 15-mile drive home I chilled on the beer about 1 am. left the beach about 2:30.

Driving home down Harbor Blvd, I was about a mile from the intersection with Wooley Rd and saw a car waiting for the left-hand turn arrow to green up. I knew it was a long light for him so I slowed down to 50 and got in the far-right lane. Right as I approached the intersection the SoB -- instead of pulling forward straight as I'd anticipated -- made a full right turn from the left-hand turn-lane ... right in front of me.

I veered to use the intersection for a little extra room and got around him without collision, but the front-wheel car I was driving locked its brakes with steering crossed and I was headed straight for the butt-end of the sound-reduction wall. With my steering wheels cocked left, I hit the kerb at its apex rounding the wall and rebounded back into the lanes. Broke the right front axle on my car amongst other things, but came to a stop on four wheels sitting cross-wise in the lanes. I was so infuriated that when I got out of my car, I locked my keys inside and couldn't pop the hood to safety the battery.

I went back the next day to look at it in daylight. I hit with such energy that I took a divot out of the concrete kerb about fourteen inches long and at its deepest 3". It was about four or five inches left of the kerb's centerline. Had I been eight inches to the right, the butt-end of that wall would have probably cut my small car in half, and put the engine into my lap.

As it was, I walked away from it. Or actually, rode away from it in a tow-truck. It did five grand of damage to my Geo Storm, but its KBB value was still higher. Took about a month to repair.

I referred afterwards to that divot as "mine". So far as I know it's still there on the SW corner of the intersection of Harbor and Wooley in Oxnard CA.
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My second to last year (1984) of high-lead logging on the west coast of B.C.. We were running a scab sky-line for the first time, something I had never done. It was only about a quarter of the height of a true sky-line shown in the video. We set the chokers and moved off to the side and the rigging slinger signalled go ahead on the rigging. I thought we might be too close to the moving cables but I thought he knew better. When the logs hit the landing, the yarding engineer started bouncing the logs around which caused the over-head lines to go about thirty feet over out heads to the left. Before I could move, the line came down about fifty feet, brushed my right shoulder and smacked my right hand, crushing both bones in my right ring finger. I was on compo for four months and only have partial use of the finger. It was the last time I have ever trusted anyone with my safety

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My first (yeah, there have been more than one...) was when I was about 16, and a friend and I were exploring a cave, which was fairly accessible to the public, but if you knew where, there were a number of passages that lead far deeper than most of the public ever saw. I had done quite a bit of caving and leading, so was pretty prepared for it, and it wasn't out of my capability.
Anyway, we found the passage, and it looked like the water was only waist-deep and clear, although you had to duck down to get into it and there was only 8 inches or so of gap between the roof and the water. I ducked down, walked into the passage about 6 feet, and promptly sank into the layer of silt that was at the bottom. I never touched the true floor of the passage. We were dressed in typical caving gear - heavy cotton overalls, gumboots (wellington boots, or whatever you call them) and plenty of warm clothes underneath. Not exactly ideal for trying to swim in.
All I remember was going straight under the water, but somehow not panicking, and having the presence of mind to just throw my bag in the direction of my friend and hold onto the strap. Luckily he reached it and hauled me out. Spent a while coughing up cave water, and then got out of there.
I am pretty sure I'm part cat, and have probably used most of my lives, but the closest I've come to actually buying the farm was way back in the late '70s. I don't recall the exact year. I was in middle school, and we were doing winter camping at Fred C. Anderson Scout Camp on the St. Croix River. The camp is located on the bluffs overlooking the river, and my best friend and I were clambering around on the bluff. There were lots of ledges and we had worked our way up pretty high when the ledge we were on petered out. A handy root appeared to offer a way up to the next ledge, so I grabbed it and started to pull myself up. Naturally, the root broke off and I tumbled backward, somehow landing miraculously on my belly on the ice-covered ledge, facing down the incline. I slid like a bobsledder down the length of the ledge, coming to a stop with my outstretched hands hanging over the edge of the precipice. Another foot or so, and I would have gone off the edge, plunging down the tree and boulder strewn cliff face. I was soaked from head to toe from the slushy snow, my watchband was mangled, and I had cuts on my wrists from the jagged rocks, but otherwise OK. It took us a looong time to get back down because I was shaking so bad I could barely walk.
A couple, like most here, the odd driving incident, but nothing too serious there. When I was a toddler, I was hit by a car in a car park. My mum had put me down just for a second to open the car door and when she turned round, I had taken a few steps out and got hit. I was taken to hospital and x-rayed; my right-hand rib cage had collapsed and my skull split, but as I was so young no internal damage was done. My chest is uneven to this day.

The next was flying a Piper Tomahawk during flying instruction when I was 17 years old. I had taken myself off down to the training area for a little practise before an examination and got up high and began spiral dives and forced landing practise, from 5,000 ft. I put the aircraft into a spiral dive, but next minute, found myself in a spin. One thing I was told was to never spin a Tomahawk. The rest was a blur, although I remember I did around five or six revolutions. I have no idea what happened or what I did next, but before I knew it, I was at 2,500 ft and flying straight and level. More than five minutes had passed but I have no idea what happened in that time. Needless to say, I returned to the airfield a bit of a nervous wreck...
One of my closest was a car crash in 1993.

I was following a friend to a party on a rainy night. While driving, I lit a cigarette, took two drags and dropped the barely-started cigarette out of the window at a left turn (something I rarely, if ever, did normally). The next turn to the right had a wet pile of gravel that had spread onto the road, and my car lost traction and mounted the side-walk. The car hit a tree about 3 foot from the ground up.
If I'd gone to the left of the tree, I'd have landed in a swimming pool. If I'd gone to the right of the tree, I'd have ended up in a stream that ran there next to and below the road.

As you can see, the right front wheel is pushed back about half a diameter, and the fuel tank (just visible under the bonnet) was crushed, causing the fuel to run back into the floor pan. I was sitting in an inch of petrol when they cut me out of the car- good thing I'd tossed the cigarette!

The impact was so hard that my knees left dents in the dashboard. Anyone that knows beetles will know that they are basically an armoured car.

The impact broke my right hip, and I spent the next four months walking about on crutches and re-learning to walk.

I've also had a 1square metre chunk of concrete land on my shoulders and break my back in 1995- yet another experience of re-learning to walk. A wall collapsed onto me when a building company was doing blasting to remove boulders from a site. I was next door at a service station, and a chunk of wall fell on me as I was pumping my car's tyres.

In 2008 I had a stroke- 3rd time re-learning to walk.
Lots of close calls on motorcycles but having a heart attack 10/11/2011 was an eye opener. Woke up sweaty with chest pains and knew something wasn't right. Popped a few aspirin, took a shower. Woke the wife up and said take care of the dogs im heading to the ER. Laying there not knowing what the next moments will bring is a bit nerve wracking. Meds and diet have kept me alive but every time I have some chest ache I wonder if I'll be seeing "Elizbeth" sooner than later.
Nice to see that there are some incidents other than car wrecks here! Of course, driving is no doubt the most hazardous thing we usually do.

Back in 1993 some family and friends were visiting me and we drove up to a four way stop that I knew very well. It was late on a Saturday afternoon and there were no other cars at the intersection. But I heard a car coming from the Right, and while I could not see it yet, I decided to just sit right there at the stop sign for a bit. The car ran the stop sign, probably would have t-boned us. I have had other occasions in which I suddenly knew something that I had no way to foretell, but that was the only one that actually proved to be useful.
The closest I have had so far:

1 - Caught in a riptide and panicked. Lost a flipper, mask filled with water and lost my spear tip. During this time I tried to fight it which is what you are NOT supposed to do. Finally dragged myself onto the beach exhausted. During the time I panicked I don't remember anything. I was a complete dumba** but was last time I have ever panicked.

2- Driving 80 mpg on an interstate, ran off the road corrected myself and started to skid sideways. Front passenger tire came off the rim and the rim gouged into the road. Car rolled once sliding upside down at 70 mph across the median into the opposite lane and started to roll again. I had pennies stored in my center counsel and all I remember during this was it was raining pennies inside while I was upside down. My SUV ended back on it's wheels and I had to kick my door open to get out (I felt like John Wayne). Thankfully I didn't hit anybody and stopped before the large trees started. Was pretty banged up but left the hosiptal that night. Dr asked me what happened and my wife said I told him "Well first I was on 70 West (road), then I was upside down on 70 East (opposite road)......". Ozzy Osbourne and Lita Ford were singing "Close Your Eyes" on the radio which I found pretty humorous.
There's been a few, but one I'll always remember was in summer, 1985, when I was free-fall parachuting, using a round canopy.
I'd need to check my log book to confirm, but from memory, it was a 30 second delay, with a 360 degree turn to the right, followed by a 360 to the left.
I remember having a bit of bother shuffling to get out of the door of the Islander, but made a good, stable exit, went into stable free-fall and completed the turns, back onto the original heading. When I looked down to check my altimeter ( fastened onto the chest strap of my harness ), my "boogies" (goggles as used by horse jockeys ) had ridden up, and were across my eyes, blocking my vision. I eventually managed to see the altimeter dial, which was indicating 1, 800 feet, gasped, and then deployed the canopy, which was fully deployed by around 1,000 to 900 feet. ( deployment is supposed to be initiated at 2,500 feet !!).
After checking all round, I noticed something "floating" in my left peripheral vision, which turned out to be a snapped rigging line !
Re-checking the canopy, I now saw that three complete panels had blown out, and there were tears in a further four panels !!
It would seem that, when checking my altimeter, I had gone partially "head down", into a semi track, so instead of being stable at 120 mph, I was tracking across the sky at around 140 to 160 mph, hence the shock loading on the canopy and rigging lines !!!
I had two options to choose from, with about two seconds to decide - deploy the chest-mounted reserve canopy, or stay with it as it was, ride it down and expect a very hard landing, and possible injury.
I chose to stay with it, as the reserve very well may have deployed into the main canopy, causing a "bag of washing", tangling everything, leading to a very real disaster, possible serious injury or fatality.
Of course, I landed way off the airfield, in a corner of a farmers field, narrowly missing a wooden fence - but managed a relatively soft, stand-up landing, with no injury, except maybe to my pride.
It was a long walk back to the parachute center club house, where I received a bollocking from the chief instructor, for pulling low, although, as he knew I was just renewing my Category status, and having heard my explanation, he was OK about it.
After that little "incident" I changed my altimeter to wrist-mounted !!

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