Tuesday, June 14, 2022

My Dad Called Me Stupid In Front of My Friends and I Wasn't Scarred for Life

The event took place in the evening of a lovely summer day. Mr. McAvoy was driving a carload of boys home from a Little League game in his gold convertible with the top down. This was the 60's and no one had seatbelts. Some of us were seated across the top of the back seat with our team T-shirts and hats. I was one of these, on the driver's side, the lazy breeze whooshing across our faces. 

I can still picture my dad in the middle of the Christianson's front lawn, arms folded, feet planted shoulder width as he chatted with the neighbors. Off to the right of the driveway Robin Christianson, a girl I liked, looking our way with a couple of friends. 

As the car slowed to make a right hand turn onto Cambridge Lane, I noticed the speedometer slow to about ten miles per hour. Somehow I got it into my head that if I leapt from the car and started moving my legs I could actually hit the ground running and run right up to Robin and her friends. 


I will mention here that though the road was paved with asphalt there was also a lot of large limestone gravel scattered in the gutter area of the road bed. As my body slammed into the pavement, the limestone tore my finger and gouged my forearm. Stunned, it seemed that everything was silent for a second. Time had stopped, as did Mr. McAvoy's car. 

It was then that I heard my dad's voice thunder through the air as he came running across the yard: "You stupid!"

I didn't feel any pain in my body at that moment as he lifted me up and began walking me across the street to our house. We went into the family room bathroom and he cleaned my wounds, but the humiliation was harder to clean. 

He was right, of course. Eventually, years later, I recognized that I needed to forgive him for making me feel small in front of my friends. And I did. 

For the record, if you ever feel tempted to leap from a moving car, don't. Generally it only works in the movies. I got lucky. Some people get killed.

* * * 

I have written about this story before in a blog post about the Darwin Awards. If interested, you can read that here.

In passing I mention the story here as well: Seven Quotes About Stupidity

ALTERNATE TITLE: My Dad Called Me Stupid in Front of My Friends and I Lived to Tell About It.

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