Dunderhead on the loose

It was July, and I had just found six mattresses from an old motel that was being gutted. (The mattresses were going to be used to catch cannonballs out at Burning Man, an idea that was wisely scuttled.) I had my truck, but no rope to secure the mattresses. Poking about in some debris, I spied a length of telephone cable, the non-curly kind that hooks your phone to the jack in the wall. I figured this stuff could handle the beds.

Bad figuring.

Six mattresses were too tall to be stacked vertically, so I slotted them into the truck on their sides and tied them down with the cord. Satisfied with this cockamamie set-up, I took off. The mattresses stayed in check on city streets well enough, but then, I got impatient and overconfident and jumped onto the freeway. More bad figuring. While the phone cord could keep the mattresses corralled at 30 mph, it couldn’t come close to keeping them together at 60. Within a matter of seconds, I had trouble.

The cord began to stretch, trying to contain these weighty rectangles that were rassling with the laws of Newton. Just past the Spaghetti Bowl, traveling east on 80, the mattress on the far left side of the truck bed suddenly lurched over, stretched that flimsy cord, and then flopped out onto the highway. Oops.

How horribly inconsiderate of me to drop a twin-size mattress in the middle lane of Interstate 80 at 5:45 on a Monday afternoon! As soon as I saw it hit the pavement, I realized there was terrific potential for this situation to be very, very, very bad, bad, superbad. As in maybe a Honda Civic bouncing off the mattress, careening into the next lane, touching off an extremely nasty six-car, rush-hour pile-up, resulting in five dead and nine injured, three critically. Obviously, I needed a big dose of instant LUCK.

I got some. If I have a guardian angel, he may well have been driving that monstrous old Ford Victoria sedan on my left. Because as that potentially killer mattress landed in front of the Ford, the behemoth-like sedan swallowed it up, trapped it under the oil pan and kept rollin’ down the freeway. Un-freakin'-believable.

His journey slightly hampered by the bed now under his car, he pulled over. I followed and ecstatically paid the tow truck guy the 42 bucks to get that mangled mattress from under that Bruce-saving Ford. My angel turned out to be a nice man from Winnemucca, who just wanted to get outta town. No wrecks, no deaths, no injuries, no damage to the Ford, no tickets, no insurance hassles. An encore performance of un-freakin'-believable.

So this holiday season, it’s very easy for me to give gigantic thanks and eternal praise on a daily basis. I’m guessing there may be a similar incident in your life, although probably not as dunderheaded, that you would be wise to recognize.

And yes, I now carry three lengths of REAL rope in the truck at all times.