What was your "closest call"?

I think we all have an event in our lives that we look back upon and realize, “Gee, if anything had gone wrong, at all, I would have died/been fired/been arrested/killed someone.”

Here’s mine. One day, as a teenager, I was hanging out at my best friend’s house.

My lifestyle growing up was middle class, but my friends’ family was definitely at least upper-middle class. His parents had this huge house on about two acres of land, on the edge of a hoity toity rural subdivision. Despite my friend being a total slacker, his father was an avid hunter and gaming man. The fully finished basement of this house had all sorts of bows, composite bows, crossbows, axes, and guns covering the walls. Now, I know nothing about this stuff, but I knew atleast that the father would measure out his own gunpowder and manufacture his own bullets. So the setting is, uh, set. You get the picture.

Since, at that time, I never had access to this stuff normally, I was always touching and admiring these weapons. And, likewise, my friend was always telling me not to touch anything.

This one day we were down in this basement playing something on his Sega Genesis. He paused the game and said that he had to take a dump, and might be awhile. So he leaves and goes upstairs. I’m downstairs twidling my thumbs.

I get up and start looking at the pretty weapons on the walls, touching them, extremely curious. So, I select a moderate sized bow and pull it off of the wall and twang the string a few times. Beside me is a 50 gallon drum that is completely full of arrows. I select an arrow and poke the pointy tip a few times.

My friend is still upstairs. I take the bow and arrow outside (there was a sliding glass door at the basement level) and walk out into the huge yard by several paces. I’m still twanging the string. I start to throw the arrow into the ground so that it sticks straight up, pulling it out, repeat. I then put the arrow onto the bow to see how it fits.

That’s when I decided to pull a Robin Hood and arch the bow way up into the air and let the arrow fly. I swear that I only pulled the string back an inch, expecting the arrow to fall to the ground a few feet away.

The string twanged, the arrow disappeared into the sky. A long moment of silence. My heart pounding.

A moment later I hear a very soft “thud” from the next yard over, and a dog starts barking its head off. With the bow still in my hand I ran as fast as I could across my friend’s yard, hopped the two fences and ran behind his neighbor’s house, towards the sound of the barking dog. There, sticking in the ground, mere feet from the tied up dog, is my arrow.

That’s when the chilling nauseating feeling rushed over me, followed immediately by a sweaty relief.

I snatched the arrow out of the ground, and ran back across the yards, again hopping the fences. As I approached the sliding glass door, I heard the toilet flush and looked up to see the light in the bathroom turn off. I booked into the basement, threw the arrow in the bin, and the bow back up onto the wall. I jumped over to the TV just in time for my friend to come down the stairs.


How about you?

I got a bunch of storys about close calls, but they are actually kinda boring. So, here is the worst one:

Was riding my motorcycle down the road, having just left a stoplight. Was setting up to take the onramp to the highway, saw an oncoming car who wanted to turn left. Maintained visual contact with the car, and was confident they were stopping. At the last second, the car steps on it and pulls directly in front of me. The head-on collision was estimated at around 60 mph. I caught the right front fender of the car at the rear edge of the tire, and I went over the hood and down the road (but not to Grandmothers house did I go!). My motorcycle and the car was totaled (I knocked the engine off the mount and cracked its block!)

Had I not swerved a bit to my right just prior to impact, I would have hit the door and impacted on the edge of the roof and been, no doubt, dead on the spot.

The tow-truck driver stole the shit I was carrying on the back of the bike, too.

Asshole Tow-truck drivers!

I’m working on a development project in Iraq. Last week I was riding as a passenger in a white SUV when we came to a stop at an intersection. There was a lot of traffic coming through and we were waiting for a break in the traffic to cross the intersection.

I look over to my right and there is this guy with an AK47 walking in circles, looking mightily upset about something and kind of talking to himself. Everything in his body language said he wanted to shoot something. As soon as I saw him I pointed him out to my colleague and we both were studiously trying not to make eye contact while also trying to track him.

He became fixated on our big white SUV with the foreigners in it and started to yell at us and walk towards the car. Finally, my friend driving just went for it, we pulled into the intesection, lots of horns and cars swerving and we got out of dodge.

I was hang gliding off oatmeal mountain near Gila Bend AZ. It was my 30 something flight but I was still a little nervous. Picture this.

You are 2 thousand feet up on the top of a mountain with radio towers all over it. There are people everywhere and it’s my turn. I ramble tethered to my kite over to the LP (launch Pad) and set there for a minute, looking at the stringers telling me when it’s ok to go. The wind dies waaay down and I was there a good 15 minutes. I had two spotter’s on my wings and I was hunched over wait’in. I finally see some stringer’s about 70 feet below start to kick up. I say to the spotter’s git ready! The wind moves up and I’m about to say CLEAR!.

Now the launch pad is on the edge of a cliff. When hang gliding at this particular spot you watch the wind rise up the cliff on stringers. Little orange flags that tell you which way the wind is blowing. The LP is about 800 feet from the first ledge and a good 1000 feet vertically down to the LZ ( Landing Zone). Usually we fly off and up on a large thermal. And then we are up for a couple hours… Then there are sled rides where you coast down, down, down to the LZ. Very quick but fun.

So here comes the small thermal, I see the flags start rising towards me…I yell CLEAR!!!, and both guys let go, I take three steps and off I go!

I didn’t notice the lead line from my back harness to the kite itself was not attached fully. Normally, you instantly feel suspended and you merely stick your feet in the harness and that’s it. But on this occasion I dropped! I was holding on with only my hands…

Imagine a man holding onto a bar attached to a 30 foot wing dangling 2000 feet over the desert. I kept my cool…as best could.

The kite naturally didn’t fly right as my body weight 200lbs was kicking up a lot of drag. The harness (another 20 lbs) was dragging me down and I was losing my grip. Now I have a parachute on my chest but I am not high enough…or barely high enough to yank it and say ok…let see what happens.

About 15 seconds had passed and I was on the right side of my bar, making the kite do a big U’y. It arked out over the desert about 500 feet and down about 1000. I felt myself going down very fast. I could not tell where the horizon was compared to the tip of my kite. And then it happened.

SLAMMMM!!! I had slammed into the side of the mountain on about a 50 foot grade. My kite broke in half…I was totally unprepared as I didn’t see it coming till the last second…about 30 minutes later and lot’s of shouts, several men came down the side where I was. I had a large 4 inch gash in my thigh and luckily, luckily, luckily no broken bones or worse yet a broken neck.

I was up 4 weeks later to the dismay of my wife. Had I let go, I’d have most likely not been here writing this.

One comes immediately to mind.

One time goofing around at the beach I dove into what, unbeknownst to me, was very shallow water. I hit bottom with the crown of my head, heard a distinct crunch and my entire body went numb. I don’t really know if I was unable to move, or afraid to try, but for a seemingly eternal time I just floated face down on the water and stared at the sandy bottom. When I couldn’t hold my breath any longer I lifted my head, took a deep breath, and confirmed very slowly and methodically that I had not been paralized. I get shivers just thinking about it now.

There are more, but most are just too stupid to write about.

I was supposed to shoot some of the shows at Fashion Week at NYC. I was there the day before the opening to shoot some setups, and decided that instead of staying there, I’d go home to CT and party with some friends (first night of Monday Night Football).

The date: 9/10/2001
The hotel I was supposed to stay at: The Omni Millennium at the WTC

Had I stayed, I would have gotten some fantastic shots. The question is, would anyone have ever seen them!!!

Not as big as some in thsi thread already, but my fiancee’ and I finally decide to have a baby. She goes off the pill and we begin trying. Everything and everyone tells us not to expect anythng too early, it takes months for the pill to work its way out of her system.

She’s pregnant within two weeks of going off the pill.

Apparently, she’s more fertile than the Garden of Eden. Seeing as how we decided the time for a baby was right because now we can afford it, we were only one missed pill away from an unexpected surprise. For over two years.

You mean other than in a combat zone, I’m assuming. So I’m sitting in a bar in Guatemala City, enjoying a beer. Lots of people carried guns back then. A heated argument erupts into a shouting match at the next table. Suddenly, chairs overturn, everybody leaps up, and one drunken guy pulls an automatic out of his ankle holster and starts waving it around. My friend and I leap up to head for the door, which gets the gunman’s attention. He swings the automatic around and points it at my head, trying to focus. My limited Spanish immediately became fluent as I tried to calm him down. He eventually lost interest in the Gringos and turned his attention elsewhere and we made our escape.

Sitting in an open Land Rover on a photo safari in Botswana, when we were charged by a very pissed off bull elephant. Trunk down, ears flat, deadly serious. We engaged in a chase, with the driver barreling along in reverse at about 40 mph and elephant charging along behind. It was sort of like watching a movie of a charging elephant, but horrifyingly real. The animal finally stopped and the driver was laughing his ass off!

About ten years ago my sister and I were riding our bikes along the bike path that follows the river here. We stopped for a moment to take a plunge and cool off (we had swimsuits under our clothing). Being a non-swimmer, I didn’t want to go too far from the shore or go out in too deep of water. I underestimated the depth of the water I went into as well as the strength of the current. The current swept me out into deeper water and I was unable to safely reach the shore. I desprately tried to swim back, but without really knowing how to swim I thought for sure I was doomed. I was on the verge of drowning. Luckily, someone with a life jacket was also there and she tossed it over to me. Once I had the life jacket I was able to remain afloat until I could reach safety again. I don’t remember if I ever thanked this person for saving me. I hope I did.

OLD Saab, very bald tires, and a dark and stormy night, on highway 70.

Couldn’t do more than 40, but couldn’t stop because the shoulders were so thin that I would have to park on grass and there’s no way that POS could have gotten out of three inches of mud.

Tried to focus on the blinking white lines – but there weren’t reflectors there, so I would occasionally find that I was halfway in another lane. Talk about white knuckles! I was hyperventilating.

I was in the middle lane, and watched these enormous semis come up on my back. They were going 80 mph, I swear…they parted and went around me, one to each side, at the same time.

For a second there my little car lost traction. Both trucks sprayed water over my windshield, I literally couldn’t see. They were like walls on either side of me, less than two feet away, and I was hydroplaning.

My car thankfully stayed in a straight line, but fishtailed after they passed. But for a second there, I really did think “My god, and I’ve got so much left to do in my life.”

i was opening a bottle of champagne for the first time and
i didn’t have enough good sense to point the bottle away from me- away!
I hovered over it while un-twisting the cage part and the cork comes flying out of the bottle once the cage is removed and misses my eyeball by a hair…i could feel it whiz past, thats how close i came to losing my eye!

Plane crash. Augered into an oat field. One other survivor besides myself. I think I did a thread on it long ago.

I was driving my best friend’s car down a winding road when I was 18. There was a very sharp, unmarked turn, and the car started to slide toward the enbankment. I tried to turn, but I overcorrected and the car flipped over the side and into a canal that runs into a lake. The car was completely submerged and upside down in the canal. Fortunately, one of the windows had broken and I was able to swim out after getting oriented.

I fell through the ice on a lake when I was 8. I was trapped under the ice for about 3 minutes. Luckily some guys were fishing there, and the made a human chain that got me out.

Needless to say, I don’t care for the water much these days.

I was about 10 years old, and all I wanted to do was be as daring as my big brother. We were ice skating, but the little man-made pond next to the big river was too bumpy, so we went into a little section of the river that has frozen over completely, and everyone used to skate on (when my mom was in college) until they made the man-made pond.

Some old biddies in the apartment building across the street called the police to report kids on the river, so when the police came, we tried to make a break for it.

Brother went out onto the river, and dumbass that I was, I followed. We skated along the edge of the river until we saw we were being surrounded by cops on all sides. That’s when my bro decided to go ACROSS the river. He’s always been a stronger skater than I am, so he was about 15-30 feet ahead of me. About the middle of the river, I can hear the ice crack as he skates across it, and of course it is cracking BEHIND him, IN FRONT of me, as I continue to try to keep up with him.

I still can’t believe we made it out of there alive. I think my wheels were pedaling overtime because I was so scared. We got to the other side and the cops called our mom to pick us up.

Many close in 24 years of flying(10 years cropdusting)…too long to go into here. But, a bit of advice to all pilots…NEVER, NEVER say to Air Traffic Control “Say, could you vector me to the thinnest part of the squall line?”

I have had several close calls. That’s why I guess I’m in the life insurance business. :slight_smile: Let me list a few:

Hit by a car twice while walking (remember to jump if you get the chance).

Run over by a boat (the prop hit me in the butt 3 times)

Shot twice (once in the hand, once in the leg)

Stabbed once (knife blade stuck in my rib)

Fist fights, wrestling (the trick to putting your fist through a window is to be careful not to catch your wrist on the broken glass where you could free a vein)

Thrown out and off of a car 3 times.

Thrown out of the back of a pickup truck at 60 mph (remember to ball up and roll, also wait to slow down before you uncurl)

Bit by a dog at age 4.

Laid a motorcyle down at 55mph when I hit a pile of gravel (note- wear leather clothing not gym shorts like I did).

Worked in the tree trimming business (need I say more)

Jumped off a cliff more times than I can count while snow skiing. (It was fun…yeah thats it… fun)

Jumped out of a ski lift chair (my cousin, who jumped with me, is an orthopedic surgeon and said he’d fix anything I’d break)

Caught in an avalanche while snow skiing (remember to swim and try to keep your head up)

Experimented with dynamite (too long a story there)

Started a gas line fire while rabbit hunting (another long story)

Almost got gunned down when crossing from east Berlin to west Berlin at check point Charlie by an east German border guard. (I had to go to the only bathroom BETWEEN the fence and the wall).

Was with a friend who decided that we could fire a 25mm anti-aircraft round out his bedroom window by putting it into a vise attached to his desk and then setting it off with a hammer and screwdriver. The windows were replaced but the pine tree we hit was a gonner.

Fireworks, bottle rockets, roman candles need I say more.

And you don’t want me to start with my driving stories!

You are batman.

I nearly fell off the Niagara escarpment once. I stumbled forward during a class trip, and if another student hadn’t been there to catch me the next step would have been a doozy.

I suppose they don’t have class trips to the Niagara escarpment anymore. Can you imagine the waivers they’d have to write up these days?

I was just 2 months old. My mother pulled up into the gas station and as she was getting out of the car, she discovered that I had turned blue and that I wasn’t breathing.

Hysterical, she got the attention of the station attendant. He performed CPR on my little lungs until I started to breath again. My mother said I was covered in the black grease and grime from his hands. An ambulance came for me and took me to the hospital.

According to my mother (who was told this by a doctor), it’s not uncommon for little babies to stop breathing at least momentarily if their noses are clogged (as mine was).