Have you cheated Death?

Off the top of my head, I have, at least twice.

1.) Several years ago, I was driving on an interstate through Arkansas, entering a construction zone, speed down to 50 or so. A car driving in the opposite direction plunged into the meridian (which I didn’t see at the time), swerved around a bit, then veered into my path. The car continued its veer left to cross the road in front of me, but I swear I didn’t miss it by 10 feet*: I didn’t have time to hit the brakes until after I had cleared it. I pulled over to the shoulder to let my heart relax, and saw in my rear-view mirror that the car had changed directions again and was now determined to hit me from the rear. Fortunately for me, it stopped short.

Had it hit me head on, or had I T-boned it, I wouldn’t be here.

*The gravel spray kicked up by the car cracked my windshield.

2.) More recently, I was driving on a country road in central Illinois during the harvest season. A combine, despite the lack of visibility due to standing corn, turned into my path, ignoring the stop sign at the intersection. He finally saw me and stopped, but the snout on the combine head was past the centerline of the road.

Had I been 100 yards further down the road, the snout would have been in my ear. I assume with a bad result to the combine; but far worse results for me.

So, anybody else have heart-stopping moments to share?

Not so direct but I have indeed cheated death. When I was about 8 or 9 I was at a wedding with my father and his girlfriend (parents separated when I was 5). I was talking to some of the adults and having a great time like the precocious child I was. My father came up to me and said he was driving back to grandma’s house now to give someone a lift but was coming back later on, did I want to come with him or stay at the wedding and have him pick me up in the evening. As I was enjoying talking to the adults I said I’d like to stay, so he left and gave a lift to his brother, sister in law, girlfriend and another person from the wedding.

On the way they were in a major car accident and everyone in the back seat was killed. Had I been in the car I would have been in the back seat, and therefore dead.

Oh, I never cheated Death: you don’t wanna piss off Death. But I’ve had some good luck and done some shuckin’ and jivin’ (come on back later, Death…I’ll be here) and I’m still alive (knock on wood, cross fingers, do a little lucky dance).

I don’t remember this one, but Dad spun out on an icy 2-lane in the Ozarks with the whole family in the car when I was 2 years old (1957). To the day he died, he remained amazed that we didn’t go over the drop-off and that an oncoming car managed to get past us ok. Dad always wondered if he’d looked as scared as the driver of the other car.

I ate 98 aspirin when I was three; Mom knew how many because it was a new bottle. Dad rushed me to the hospital (got stopped for speeding on the way) and I got my stomach pumped. I remember parts of that event. My parents said there was an article in the news about another kid who died from the same thing a few days later.

My cardiologist, along with other doctors and nurses, has expressed great surprise that my three biggest heart attacks didn’t kill me. He once had one of his students interview me in intensive care; the first thing I heard her tell him was “It doesn’t make any sense, he should be dead.” My doctor appeared amused, as that was apparently his opinion, too. But I’m in real good shape for the shape I’m in, ha! The second of the big 3 attacks was the worst; the emergency room doctor told my sister on the phone to get there really fast if she wanted to see me alive. They were certain I’d die ‘any second now’ for three days, and it was about two months and a couple of cardiac procedures down the road before they actually started thinking I might survive long-term. That one was about 14 years ago; that was a really bad year.

I got T-boned by a drunk truck driver who ran a red light, but I was wearing my seat belt/shoulder harness and got lucky. My truck was totalled: it was thrown about 40 feet by the impact (the guy was doing 45-50 mph when he hit me); the cab was torn open, the whole right side was smashed in (I’m guessing if I’d had a passenger, they might not have fared as well as I did); the rear axle was torn from the spring mounts and the whole drivetrain was displaced with the fan going through the radiator. For St. Louis-area people, it was the same intersection and same kind of collision where a drunken Leonard Little from the Rams hit and killed Susan Gutweiler.

I wouldn’t be sure that any of these cheated death but they sure pissed off his close relative serious injury.

I was driving with friends in the hinterlands behind Coffs Harbour, cruising around on the logging roads, driving too fast probably. As we approached a hairpin bend I had this sudden sense of danger and pulled as far off the road as I could while slowing down. A car full of people cavorting around, just like us, came around the bend on the wrong side of the road and shot past us. Everyone in the car was just dumbstruck. They all asked how I knew to pull over and I had to confess that I had no idea.

A couple of years ago I was out having lunch with a workmate. As we left the restaurant, because the lunch rush had ended, the waitress had to go and grab a note to make our change, delaying us for a short while. As we were walking up the street to wait at the lights to cross, a driver lost control of his car, drove right through where we would have been standing and buried his car deep in another (luckily unoccupied) restaurant. Had we left the restaurant even 10 seconds earlier he would have ploughed straight through as at about 35mph.

Just 2 weeks ago I was wandering towards my local shops, thinking about something or other and paying little attention to things and, as I was about to walk across the pedestrian crossing, I must have noticed in my peripheral vision that the approaching SUV wasn’t slowing down. I looked up and the woman driving had her head down either dialling or texting on her mobile phone. I stopped walking and she just cruised through the crossing as though it wasn’t there. I’m sure she had no idea that had I not looked up she would have run me over.

I notice there are a lot of cars involved in these stories…

It is the most dangerous thing most people ever do. And they do it on a daily basis.

  1. My appendix burst when I was about 2 and a half.

  2. I got hit by a car.

  3. I took an overdose of medication that nearly killed me when I was about 3.

  4. (silly one this) I was meant to be in Omagh the day the bomb went off that killed nearly 30 people. I cancelled at the last minute going there.

Electrocuted when I was a baby. Crawled behind the couch and chewed on an electrical cord, even my Mom got shocked when she pulled me off. Still have a nice yellow discoloring on my lip as a reminder.

I was about 12 years old and my family went to Cedar Point, the greatest amusement park on earth. My best friend came along. We were old enough to go on the Blue Streakby ourselves, and we snagged the first car! Awesome! We got in and pulled the safety bar down. The attendant came by and checked to make sure it was latched.

The ride started and we chugged up the first hill. We got to the top and braced ourselves for the drop. As the car picked up speed, the bar unlatched :eek:and the G-force made us stand straight up in the car as it hurtled down the track.

A man in the car behind us grabbed us, one in each hand, by the shirt collars and forced us down in our seats. Our elbows caught the safety bar and made it re-latch. When the ride was over, we got out of the car like zombies. We tacitly agreed to *never, never *tell our parents what had happened. The man behind us had disappeared. We also never told anyone at Cedar Point.

I was talking to my friend a couple of months ago. “Do you remember . . .” I said.

She did.

  1. I missed being in line in an ambulance parked next to WTC when the first tower fell by, oh, about 10 minutes.

  2. Last Dec. 23rd, my car wheels locked on the NYS Thruway. Fortunately ( !!! ), there was quite a bit of black ice so instead of my car spinning sideways at 65 and flipping, I just spun around. 2 times. As cars bore down on me. Nobody hit me, amazingly, and nobody swerved to avoid me thus having their own accident. I slammed into the guardrail facing backwards.

  3. A few months ago I was walking up 8th avenue in NYC at around, say, 50th. I stepped into the street as a cab swerved around another car. The bumper brushed my pants. Cab kept going, at a serious clip. I’d have been hit hard.

When I’ve dodged death 8 times, I’ll start getting nervous.


We were in a head-on collision on a winding road in NoVa on our 10th anniversary. Walked away from it due to seatbelts; I presume that otherwise we’d have gone through the windshield with less-than-ideal results, survival-wise. The passenger in the other car had not been wearing a seatbelt… until about 2 minutes before the accident, when something in his head said “dude, we’re coming to a bad stretch of road, better buckle up”.

The hell with drugs… there is NO BETTER HIGH than that moment after a bad accident, when you realize that everyone survived uninjured.

  1. I was in a car accident when I was an infant. Car seats back then looked like those shopping baskets you sling over your arm while browsing in Target. I don’t honestly even know if it had straps. Could have been killed easily.

  2. My junior year of high school, while driving to a convention-type thingy, I made a three-point turn on a busy road. In the rain. With a cement truck bearing down on me. And the three other people in my car.

Didn’t even occur to me I wouldn’t make it, but they all got a little antsy.

That’s all that occurs to me at the moment, and to be honest, I’m surprised I remembered about the first one.

I was in a bus going on the curvy, mountainous road from Mexico City to Oaxaca in the middle of the night when the steering wheel locked and the bus plummeted down a steep ravine. For about five or ten seconds it plowed through trees and brush and even some power line poles and finally pounded into the bottom of an arroyo, sandwiching the front of the bus. I was at the front of the bus, and bodies were hurled all over me. I and another passenger got out of a broken window first, and climbed up the nearly cliff-like embankment, covered in the blood of other passengers, trying to avoid the live power lines. We tried to flag down help when we finally reached the road, but it took a while because drivers going by thought we were bandidos.

Two people died and about a dozen were hospitalized. I just had a few bruises.

I also got hit by a car a couple of years ago while crossing the street. Because it was turning, I was side swiped, and knocked unconscious. If I’d been two seconds earlier I’d be dead now. When I came to, I was surrounded by police and paramedics, but I turned down their offer of medical attention and walked away.

I felt sick at work one day and went home to bed. I could not keep any water or food in me and had a great fever. I went to the emergency room a few days later only to be discharged a few hours later. I went back the next day with acute pancreatitis, malfunctioning kidneys, a wildly eager thyroid, and an extraordinary case of extreme dehydraiton. This led to a week in the hospital and a month in bed.

The doctor told the lovely but weeping Ms. Kuboydal that I was in a few hours of death.

There was no cheating involved, but turning thirty sucks IMHO.

( I did have this wild dream that I was a small black envelope lying on a well made bed, though)


Hitting a moose is a very bad idea. When you it a moose, you break its legs, at which point its body (600-1500lbs) lands on your windshield, killing both of you (you and the moose).

About nine years ago, I was driving on a fairly major secondary highway in southern New Hampshire, going about 65mph, when not one, but two moose trotted out onto the highway. Traffic was moderately heavy; enough that there were several cars in line in both directions, not heavy enough to slow us down. I was in the front of the line, closest to the moose. I slammed on my breaks, and swerved, managing to miss the back moose by perhaps ten feet, and somehow avoiding a pile up behind me. The next guy in line fortunately didn’t swerve and ended up in the driving lane directly to my left (I was on the shoulder). Everyone else in line also managed to stop without incident. So did everyone in the other direction.

Seeing a moose is rare and interesting. But I’ll stick with seeing them from a distance, thank you very much.

A guy walked into my workplace, demanded my wallet, then bashed my head with a mallet.

By sheer luck, a co-worker dropped by on his way home from his other job, and called 911. Otherwise, it would probably have been morning before anyone found me.

By another bit of sheer luck, one of the best neurosurgeons in the country happened to be on call that night. I now have a titanium plate holding the pieces of my skull together.

  1. Hit by lightning while mountain climbing in Colorado. It just knocked me down and hurt a good bit.

  2. While on that same trip, I stopped to lean against a boulder to rest… and the boulder rocked back and then started to fall over on top of me. Luckily, I hadn’t leaned quite hard enough to get it to completely roll free.

  3. Nearly got bitten by a rattlesnake while exploring a cave along the Rio Grande. The closest hospital was at least two days away at that point.

  4. Nearly drowned while swimming in a creek in Austin, TX. I posted about it here, years ago, but I guess it’s gone now.

  5. Hit by lightning, again, while kayaking that same creek during a storm.

Sheesh. It’s a miracle I’m still here.

So it was a near moose?

This is a bit hard to explain, but when I was 4 years old, I stabbed myself in the neck with a rocking chair.

It was a little wicker kids’ chair, and the back ends of the rockers tapered to sharp wedges. I was sitting in the chair, and leaped up out of it. My feet landed on the front ends of the rockers, which caused the back ends to flip up, and one of the sharp-wedge ends stuck me in the neck. I was with a babysitter at the time, and the sitter held a cloth to my neck while calling my parents at the restaurant.

“PartholsMom, I don’t want to alarm you, but your son cut his neck and it won’t stop bleeding.” :eek:

While technically true, the bleeding was not that of a gushing artery, and eventually I got to the emergency room and was stitched up. But the doctors told my parents that the chair had missed my carotid artery by about 1/8th of an inch, and that had the artery been punctured, I probably wouldn’t have survived long enough for medical help to arrive.

2 lightning strikes
10,000 flight hours
A gazzillion miles driving
Cliff climbing
Military service

Jeez, You’d be bored and I’d have cramps from all the events.

Life is about inches and seconds. Always has been and will continue that way IMO.

Once or twice I survived because of me doing the right thing but most were just luck or …

In most things I’ve found that I prefer being old and not bold…

Adventures = terror in retrospect…