Thank no god!

Driving home late last night on 476, I narrowly avoided hitting a deer. I’m guessing that with the lack of lights and traffic then, and the highway surrounded by woods, the deer frolicked along and suddenly found itself in a big, open area with an usual surface under its hoofs. “What the hell?” might have been the thing going through the deer’s mind as it stood there perplexed. How long it stood there perplexed, I have no idea, but I just happened to roll along during that deer’s moment of contemplation.

Thankfully, my reflexes are pretty sharp, as is my hand-eye coordination (a result of years of creating art, martial arts, and/or excessive video game play) so I avoided the deer. Also, the rumble strips on the shoulder which I swerved into probably provided some additional traction, preventing me from spinning out. Having driven for a long time (and some of that driving being, well, not exactly how they teach and expect you to drive), I expected when I cut the wheel the second time to return to the road that I might spin out or in some way lose control of the car. It sounds silly to say I waited for the result because the whole experience probably took less than a second or so, but that’s what I did and hearing the rumbles and feeling the response of the car, I knew things were going to be just fine.

Now I’m bringing this story up because it’s the kind of story that would illicit quite a different reaction from the religious, much like when that guy landed the plane in the Hudson. Oh, clearly god intervened, he was looking out for us (and/or the deer), blah blah. Perhaps the rumble strips were a godsend, as was the fact that this happened on the one day in the past week or so where there wasn’t rain. Perhaps the deer was a sign from god to reflect on my life and so forth, like finding a frozen stream in the forrest. All of this shit can be seen as faith inducing or faith fortifying.

Instead, the atheist that I am gladly thanks Sony, Sega, and Nintendo for making video game consoles that I’ve played so much. I’m thankful for the reckless driving I did in my youth. I’m thankful that my car isn’t a huge SUV which might have tipped over due to it’s high center of gravity. I’m thankful that I’m not the type who panics or flies into hysterics in the face of adversity. I also understand that there was no special reason for what happened last night. I’m not talking about reasons such as deer overpopulation or a serious lack of lights on 476, I mean some special purpose for the event. Of course, I can always infuse my own special purpose, like now, using it to prompt this posting, and that’s EXACTLY what the religious do as well.

We assign meaning and purpose to life and assorted things and events in our lives. Realizing that is not a bad thing. It’s like the old saying, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. If you need to think there’s some special purpose, perhaps by a god, for why you got lemons, well so be it. I see it as superfluous and perpetually dangerous to do that, but regardless, you’re still infusing your own meaning and purpose. Why that’s so hard to see, I don’t know.

Btw, I did see headlights pretty far back behind me. I hope that no one hit that deer, and I also hope that no one behind me afterwards said, “thank god”, but odds are at least one did if that deer was still there. I wonder if the deer thanked its god, or just thought, “note to self – hard surface with lack of vegetation is bad”.

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18 Responses to “Thank no god!”

  1. Clearly driver skill has played a role in this random event. I remember one time when I was driving back from a 2 day camping trip with my brother out by Lake Mary, about 40 miles southwest of Flagstaff. I was driving my front-wheel drive Honda Accord back on a narrow dirt road with both way traffic and it was raining and I hit a puddle going 30 miles an hour and started skidding toward the edge of the cliff. I, started to slam on the brakes, but then my brother told me to take my foot off the brakes so to regain traction. I must have overcorrected there and narrowly missed the oncoming pickup truck, but got out unscathed….anyhow, the reason I brought that up is that I now trust Honda Accords a great deal more, plus the beauty of their low required maintenance level too. The Japanese know how to make a good vehicle, no doubt about it. Oh yeah, plus my own driving and my brother’s quick advice helped save us from going over the cliff too.

  2. I loved when they asked the pilot of the plane that landed in the Hudson if he was praying while they were going down.

    His response: No, I was too busy trying to land the plane!

  3. There was a story about another pilot shortly afterwards who crashed, and the reason was he started praying instead of addressing the situation.

    I learned the majority of my “creative” driving when I owned a used Honda Prelude. I’m driving a Toyota Matrix now. One of these days I might buy a car I can fit in (or manufacturers will make interiors customizable to the point where I can fit in any car).

  4. Nice! What years were the vehicles?

  5. Prelude – 88
    Matrix – 2003

    The Prelude saw a lot of action in Philly. I never washed it, and I spent the insurance money I got after getting hit (the car was parked when hit) on something frivolous like rent or food (I can’t remember which), so when I switched lanes and drove up fast near people, they looked at my dirty, dented car and moved out of my way, probably thinking:
    1) this guy doesn’t care about getting hit
    2) this guy doesn’t have insurance

    In contrast, the Matrix is the first new car I ever had which is great, but then I give off no scary intimidation factor anymore. Oh, and I occasionally wash it, too. Wax, even.

  6. Oh come on now, an ’88 Honda Prelude is a sweet car, surely you must have washed it a few times at least.

  7. I remember the old (79-80) Honda accords had the best headroom of any small car I had ever been in. My first new car was a ’76 Datsun (Nissan for you youngsters) B210. I literally had to lean the seat 1/2 way back so my head wouldn’t crash into the roof every time I hit a bump. And there was a reinforcement bar right where my head would hit. I blame that car, to this day, for my bad back. Well, at least in part.

    Yeah, when life gives you lemons – get a sharp blade and cut their innards out.

  8. The other bonus of the Prelude was I never had to drive since the back seat was practically nonexistent, and behind me, it literally was nonexistent. That’s great when you’re planning on getting hammered.

  9. My first car was an ’85 Prelude. Light, nimble, with just enough understeer near the limit to help stop you from getting really stupid (though I did try to be stupid. I really did). I still kind of miss it, in part I think because I’ve forgotten how it rusted out underneath me (I still view the way that it only ran on three cylinders while cold, even after replacing the plugs/wires/cap, as “cute”).
    A good first car. If my second car (’86 RX7) or my current car (’89 Supra Turbo) were my first car, I’d probably be dead (much like the kids who bought a 5.0 Mustang as their first car and two weeks later wrapped it around a telephone pole, or the pile of dead teens during the musclecar era).

  10. I went the other way. Each successive car I’ve bought had less and less balls.

    I miss my ’76 Camaro. 350, headers, dual exhaust, what a monster. It’s amazing I didn’t kill myself with that beast.

  11. Very good! Thesis is spot on!I used to drag race and do some stock car racing when I was much younger.A young friend of mine actually has two cars which would fit you, although she'd fight like a tigress before she gave them up.They are her "pets", 1959 and 1960 Bonnevilles, 389's, one with a four barrel, the other with three deuces. Another guy and me go through the spring ritual of getting them tuned up, adjusted, and on the road. A labor of love! (sigh…)

  12. Weird how although people are getting larger, cars are getting smaller. Of course there’s always SUVs, but I don’t want a fucking SUV.

    I’ve also learned that stealth is a great thing. Cops don’t readily notice nondescript cars quietly going fast as much as loud, shiny, brightly colored sporty cars going fast. I now see the appeal to cars like Jaguars or those sedans with huge engines.

  13. That does sound damn good. My years were filled with people saying everything was evil, but nothing really was. It was all silly, with lots of large hair.

  14. I know a member of the army band who bought a Stingray a couple years back.

    He’d never gotten one ticket until he had that car, then got one a week for various things until he sold it. Hesn’t ever gotten another.

    My son and I were in the same band for a while when he was in high school, and we were going to another town for a concert. Another of the members, a girl, had an uncle as a guest who was helping with transport and he showed up with a 1960 Bonneville, (three deuces) convertable. He’d installed seat belts and a great sound system, but it was otherwise just like it came off the showroom floor.

    He had seen my son drive our Astro up, so he just pitched him his keys and told him it was all his, he was going to sit in back and go to sleep.

    Had to get son to get used to the turn radius, the hood, and the power brakes, but he caught on quick. The uncle and two kids sat in back, son drove, neice sat next to him, I had shotgun. We’re cruising down the highway (at speed limit) top down, tunes from the late ’50s early 60s playing away. Owner says, “Go ahead and put your foot in it, son, ya know ya want to..!”

    My son did so ( I told him he had to be careful of a tri carb rig) and it was quite an experience for him.

    We were driving home (in our Ass throw) and he said,

    “Dad, I’ve heard you guys talking about the 50′s and 60s, and just come back from driving a big, fast convertable with the top popped, a pretty girl next to me…I think I understand why, now. You had the best cars, great music…”

    “But son, that’s when the sexual revolution and the break down of morals in society started, I’m told”.

    “SEE!!??? SEE??!! You had EVERYTHING! It isn’t fair, I tell you! It just isn’t fair”!

    What could I do but give an evil, satisfied laugh?

  15. PhillyChief “Weird how although people are getting larger, cars are getting smaller.”But cars aren’t getting smaller. There was a burp down in the early ’80s, but the Civic now is bigger than the Accord used to be and the Civic’s little brother, the Fit, isn’t nearly as small as the Civic used to be (I have a ’75 Civic in my shirt pocket as we speak. True story).
    It only looks like there are a ton of Smartcars on the road, because they stick out. Even the new Mini, which at 2,600lbs is small, isn’t so mini.
    …not to mention that horsepower, on average, has doubled in thirty years. The V6 Camry now makes more power than my Supra did when it left the factory (sadly, with front-wheel drive, no stick for the six and no posi, the Camry sounds like no fun to be stupid in…which could be Camry’s motto “Camry: No fun to be stupid in”).

  16. So the moral of the story is: reckless driving in youth is to be encouraged? and so are video games?

  17. Rene Benthien: Don’t underestimate videogames. Hours of Gran Turismo “built in” the countersteer reaction, which saved my behind the first time I (accidentally) drifted. Granted, it never taught me that punching the gas in the wet before exiting a corner was probably not the best idea…
    If I’d played something useless like that Polkaman thing that the kids are always talking about, I would’ve swapped ends. Think about it.

  18. Well certainly the video games. I’m not sure about the driving. Not everyone would respond well, only certain select people.

    Speaking of which, I’m all for either a harder driving test or perhaps a graded one where higher scores afford greater privileges.

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