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5:01 a.m. - 2005-07-25

WHEN THE TOW TRUCK DRIVER KNOWS YOU BY NAME, IT'S TIME FOR A NEW VEHICLE


Dig (if you will) the picture ...

Friday morning ... I'm drive drive driving to work, minding my own bees wax when my cell phone rings.

Because I'm the type of guy who can speed down the boulevard with a cell phone in one hand and a steering wheel in the other while a teenaged Korean hooker is slobbering on my honker, I answer the phone.

It's the Mrs.

And, as luck would have it, the Mrs. is broken down on the side of the interstate with our son in the back seat. Apparently a belt had broken on the van.

She says "not to worry" that she's already called a tow truck and a state trooper is sitting there with her to make sure that ... I dunno. I have no idea why the state trooper was there. I guess to make sure nobody pulls over under the guise that they're there to help her and they become magically hypnotized by her massive bosoms and decide to kidnap her instead, leaving my kid to fry in the backseat during this massive summer heatwave.

So I don't really worry, but I still feel like a heel showing up for work while my wife and son are sitting on the side of the interstate doing the Tow Truck Shuffle in the stifling heat.

After about 15 minutes at work, I explain to my employees that my wife is broken down on the side of the road and if they think they can handle it, the manager's going to go take care of them.

The employees, who have all the compassion of the Marquis de Sade, grumble about the fact that I get to leave to go sit with my wife and kid on the side of the road, but give me their blessing to leave.

So I go to rescue them just as the tow truck shows up.

The tow truck tows the van to an undisclosed location where it is promised that the van will be ready to drive by lunchtime.

Since this undisclosed location is five minutes from my workplace, I step up to the plate as a real man and say "Fear not, wifey! For I will forego having a vehicle at my dispense this morning and allow you to drive the car!"

Wifey rolls her eyes, takes the keys and we take the kid to daycare and then me back to work while she drives the car to her work.

Following me so far?

To recap ... I was driving car, she was driving van. She is now driving car while I will drive van when it's ready.

Van's ready by lunchtime and Martin takes me to go get it ... commenting on how good squirrel meat tastes the entire way there. I asked him when was the last time he ate a squirrel and he thought about it for a minute before answering "Never".

... He's one strange cat.

I pick up the van, drive back to work and the rest of the day goes swimmingly, meaning ... goes fine.

Get off at 5:00, am home by 5:15 and start packing up to go to my next job because I am a total money whore, desperate to grab every ducky I can get my hands on in this world.

At 5:25 the phone rings.

"Hullo?" I say very dry because that's usually how I answer the phone.

It's my wife and she is sobbing hysterically.

"I've had a wreck," she manages to sob out. "A guy hit me head on."

Ohmigod.

A million thoughts go racing through my mind. My wife has had a wreck, she's sobbing hysterically ... this must be bad. Naturally, I blurt out what is the most important thought at the moment.

"Is my 12 disc CD changer okay?" I ask, eyes shut tight, waiting for the bad news.

"I ... I don't know," she blurts back. "But I'm okay."

Gah woman!

You're obviously "okay" if you've managed to call me!

WHAT ABOUT THE 12 DISC CD CHANGER?!?

She asks me to go to daycare to pick up the boy which means that the boy wasn't involved in the wreck and therefore shouldn't be scarred for life from my wife's hapless driving.

Within a minute, I'm in the van ... yes ... THE SAME VAN that she had to have towed earlier that day ... and I'm on a collision course with my son's daycare which may be a bad use of the English language since my wife was just involved in a head-on collision but I'm too wound up to come up with a better term so just sue me ... SUE ME DAMMIT.

I pick up the boy, secure him in his car seat and then explain to him in quiet, stilted tones that his mother has been involved in a horrifying wreck and we are now on our way to sift through the remains of the car to determine if my 12 disc CD changer is still operable.

We arrive at the scene of the wreck and the two cars are still smashed up head-on.

I park the van on the side of the street, momentarily forgetting about Andrew in the back seat and flee past my sobbing wife to my now-smushed-up car to see if I can locate my 12 disc CD changer.

"12 disc CD Changer!" I call as I sift through the rubble. "Where are you, 12 disc CD changer??"

12 Disc CD Changer didn't answer.

My worst fears were realized.

12 Disc CD Changer wasn't able to communicate telepathically in the case of an emergency like I had always imagined she'd be able to do.

Temporarily giving up on finding 12 Disc CD Changer, I ran over to my wife and started berating her for being a careless driver and even insinuated the whole teenaged Korean hooker thang may have been taking place while she careened down the downtown streets at speeds upwards of 40 mph.

The police officer then informed me that it was the other guy's fault. Apparently, he was on his cell phone, driving too fast and veered into her lane, knocking her loopy.

Strangely enough, the other guy didn't have any underaged hookers with him. I thought about giving him a few business cards of some teenaged hookers I know, but figured now wasn't the time.

The kid ... a 25 year-old kid driving a Lexus ... was walking all over the place, telling anyone who'd listen that it was all his fault, which is about the dumbest thing you can do after a wreck because that really says "My insurance company will pay for everything and my rates will go through the roof because of it."

Naturally, I'm dancing a jig in the middle of the street because the kid's babbling incessantly about how it was his fault which means ... NEW CAR FOR DADDY!!

My wife goes to retrieve the boy from the back seat of the van while I'm rapping with the cop about which street corners the best Korean hookers hang out at. Susie limps over to us with the boy in her arms.

"I think my right arm is a bruise now," she says, holding up this black appendage that used to be pinkish-white.

"Holy hell!" I exclaim. "That's one nasty bruise! How'd that happen?"

Apparently, when the air bags deployed, they came out at a speed much faster than you'd expect air bags to come out at. And since it all happened so fast, Susie wasn't able to properly prepare herself for such a rude jolt, leaving her arm dangling from the steering wheel when the air bags went off, thus trapping her arm between the air bag and her face within a split second.

The tow truck showed up and ... okay ... here's the irony of the entire situation ... it's the same f'n tow truck driver from that morning.

Yep ... the same tow truck driver had now towed BOTH of our vehicles and dealt with my wife twice in one day.

I mean ... what are the stinkin' odds, huh??

We all shared a good hearty laugh over that and when I say "We all" I mean me, the cop and the tow truck driver. Susie was busy sobbing and holding her limp arm while the kid in the Lexus was wondering how high his insurance rates were going to climb.

ANSWER: Pretty f'n high.

Because on Saturday morning, the kid's insurance company called us to inform us that he had let his insurance lapse as of last month ... so in essence ... he didn't HAVE insurance.

I danced yet another jig.

Not out of glee that the kid didn't have any insurance, but because the Beer Barrel Polka had just come on the mix tape that I had cranked up in the living room and ... gawddang I just love that song.

The kid called a few minutes later to tell Susie that he had accidentally forgotten to pay his insurance premium in June and that he had no insurance. But he wanted to make sure that we send him all the bills and he was going to find a way to pay for all this.

Which means after about three years of not paying for the wreck, our insurance company will then seek to garnish his wages.

Today we wait to find out if the car can be repaired or will be totalled out and we go get another vehicle.

It's looking like it'll be totalled.

It's a ten year-old car, so it's only worth about $3,000.

Fixing the airbags alone will cost $3,000.

That's not counting fixing everything under the hood, the hood itself, the entire front end and my 12 disc CD changer which ... even though it made it through the wreck okay I'm happy to report ... I don't wanna have to go out in the hot sun and actually physically remove it from the carnage of the wreck.

If the insurance company asks me why, I'll just say the whole situation is too traumatic for me to revisit and it'd probably be best if the Lexus kid just bought me a new one. A shinier one.

Strangely enough, Lexus Boy's car was hardly damaged in all this. So if there's a lesson to be learned here it's ... buy a Lexus because those babies can withstand head-on collisions and you can still drive away from them.

Dodge Intrepids? Not so much.



I'm typing this entry this morning on my brand-new used computer that my wonderful bro-in-law hooked us up with.

This baby flies like a fat tuxedo shop assistant manager cruising down the interstate with a teenaged Korean hooker slobbing on his knob.

I mean ... it has Windows XP and everything!

Who's yo' daddy, now, baby?

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