Gut Rumbles

April 21, 2006


I don't believe that Catfish has anything to worry about. Young men are very resilient at the age of 15. Tyler will be fine.

I was 15 when I saw a man die in the parking lot of the Shoney's restaurant on Victory Drive in Savannah. My football team was starting a road trip to Augusta to play Richmond Academy and we went to Shoney's for our pre-game meal. After I finished eating, I walked outside to stretch my legs and gnaw on one of those mint-flavored toothpicks Shoney's had before I got back on board the team bus.

As I was standing there, a car careened off Victory Drive, jumped the curb of the Shoney's parking lot and hit a palm tree right in front of me. The car ended up with its nose in the air and its rear bumper embedded in the asphalt as it stopped after climbing that palm tree.

I was frozen in shock, but a couple of men ran over to check on the car's occupants. An old man was behind the wheel and he was BLUE, and limp as a wet dishrag when he was dragged from the car. Dead as Dillinger's dick.

Newspaper accounts later speculated that the man died of a heart attack and THEN wrecked his car, but none of that shit mattered to me at the time. That man wasn't the first dead body I ever saw, but it was the first one I ever saw die right in front of me. It bothered me.

But it didn't bother me enough to keep me from playing a good game that night, and it didn't keep me from sleeping like a log afterward, either. I dreamed about it once or twice later, but I never needed a got-dam government grief-counceler holding my hand and whispering sweet nothings in my ear to ease my trauma.

I got over it. Tyler will, too.


We all face death at different times in different ways. Tyler will do okay, just like you did. It's something we all have to do. It helps to have family and friends' support and Tyler sounds like he is quite the man, already.

Boy, by your description, that guy was definitely dead and gone prior to the impact, whew!

Posted by: A Different Kim on April 22, 2006 05:10 AM

Lots of people go through much worse and come out the other side just fine. It all depends on if you want to become a victim or get over it. When I was 5 my best friend drown with a water wiggle caught in his throat. I can still remember his last words... "can you do this?" of course I thought the whole bloody water coming out of every orifice was something I couldnt top. It was bad, very bad. My dad wasnt one to let me be too much of a victim though and I'm much better for it.

Posted by: doc on April 22, 2006 08:38 AM
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