With St. Patrick’s Day last week, I was thinking about sharing some stories about my lucky shamrocks, but as I was writing, I couldn’t help but think of my brother. Forget about Luck of the Irish, if it weren’t for bad luck, my brother Joey wouldn’t have any at all. Here’s a perfect example to illustrate just how unlucky he is – picture it: Merit Gas Station: Long Island: September 2000.
My brother pulled into the gas station one man and left in tattered pieces. Nowadays, you can pay at the pump, but for anyone of the young’uns that might be reading this – back in 2000 it was down-right prehistoric: you won’t believe it, but we had to actually walk from your car to the attendant’s booth, prepay for your gas and then walk all the way back to your car to fill it up. Simple enough for most people, but not for my brother, not that day. Joey put the pump in the gas tank, headed over to prepay, paid for his gas, and headed back over to pump it. All normal and the same thing he had done hundreds and hundreds of times when – BOOM he’s suddenly a hood ornament!
Out of nowhere, an old man rammed into Joey, knocking him to the ground, and proceeded to drive over him like he was gas station roadkill. Seriously, he was a Merritt Muskrat flattened like a pancake! Picture a possum on I95 wriggling under the front tires trying to break free before he’s crushed to bits – that was my brother there on the pavement. As he was screaming in agony and trying to figure out what the hell was going on, the old man realized that he hit something, stopped the car, and threw it in reverse. HE THREW THE EFFING CAR IN REVERSE AND THEN PROCEEDED TO HIT HIM AGAIN! HE RAN HIM OVER TWICE! JOEY GOT HIT BY THE SAME CAR TWICE!!!
My brother was in pain the first go around, but the shock of the car re-running him over set him over the edge. Screaming for help, the other customers could only watch in horror until that pimped out old Caddy finally came to a resting halt. One would think that people watching this unfold or the Police on the scene might rush over to my brother to assist and try and see if this real life crash test dummy was still alive, but they instead ran to the old man, who was clutching his chest. At this point he was outside the car on the ground next to Joey because after stopping the car, he got out, took one look at my brother, turned white as a ghost, shrugged his shoulders as if to say “Shit happens” and then his feet came out from underneath him and he hit the pavement.
As the police and emergency personnel were tending to the old man, my brother was screaming “What the fuck? He ran me over twice and you’re helping him? Someone pump my gas or get my fucking money back from that attendant!” It fell on deaf ears though, as the police were trying to get the old man’s information. He directed them to his dashboard – he had flash cards with his name, address, and directions back to his house. Apparently, he had suffered a stroke almost four months to the day of the accident and wasn’t supposed to be driving. Of course, they felt the old man was in critical condition and immediately got him out of there in an ambulance and then asked my brother if he wanted an ambulance as well. Who stops to ask the person that got ran over twice if they’d like an ambulance? If ever there was a clear cut need for an ambulance, I’m pretty sure that was it.
It’s like every time he gets gas, that Elvis song “Steamroller Blues” plays in the background like his very own theme song: “I’m a steamroller baby, I’m ‘bout to roll all over you…” I’d like to say that my brother is now safely crossing on the green and not in between, but when we recently followed him to my sister’s house, he pulled over to get out and switch drivers right on the highway and his wife said “Why in the world would he get out of the car on a highway instead of pulling into a parking lot? Wasn’t getting run over twice enough?” Apparently, you can take the boy out of the gas station, but you can’t take the gas station out of the boy!
Apparently, the first sense you lose once you get struck by a car is your sense of humor – and it’s still on the fritz because almost 17 years later, he still doesn’t think it’s funny. In hindsight, he really did get seriously hurt: he had his shoulder operated on, broke two toes and messed up his knee pretty bad. I only make light of this happening because it didn’t happen to me and it’s been years since it happened so it’s OK to laugh about it now. Granted we laughed back then too, but that’s not the point. We live and we learn and since then he looks both ways twice before crossing just in case…