Tuesday, July 10, 2007

What's the Stupidest Thing I've Ever Done?

So I was heading home from downtown this weekend, driving the speed limit in the right lane going up 35th Avenue, when I noticed a brown flash in the rear view mirror. The car behind me seemed to come from out of nowhere. He sped up close to me and then pulled into the left lane at the last second. As he did so, he fishtailed, lost control, and accelerated across the street, over the curb, and into a retaining wall. Boom! At least one of his tires popped, his grill was smashed, and his air bag deployed. Then the guy put the car in reverse and started driving in the other direction.

I can't get this accident out of my head. Why? Why did he zoom up to me and swerve at the last second? The left lane was wide open. Was he intentionally trying to be reckless? Was he angry? Drunk? Programming his iPhone? And why did he accelerate after losing control? Was he trying to swing the rear end around like in the movies? Was the gas pedal stuck?

Here's the closest thing I could find to the incident on YouTube. You may want to mute your computer so you don't have to listen to the irritating narrator:

I'm fascinated by wildly impulsive acts, no doubt because I am rarely impulsive. I'm also fascinated by people who do those wildly stupid acts, like the Jackass guys or the Bush administration. So what's the dumbest thing I've ever done in a car? Let's see . . . I've driven drunk in a hotel parking lot with a buddy on the roof of the car, and I hit the brakes so that he rolled down onto the hood. That's just good clean American fun. What else? . . . I drove 115 mph in a station wagon with 7 other teenagers in the car. But I wasn't drunk or reckless, unless you consider driving 115 mph reckless. But I wasn't taking turns at high speed or weaving through traffic. That's about it for cars.

But what's the single stupidest act I've ever committed?

The first time I went scuba diving was in Laguna Beach at night with choppy water and low visibility. That's stupid, but I'm kind of proud of doing it, so it doesn't count. I'm looking for something embarrassingly stupid, like crashing into a retaining wall for no reason. Here's a better one -- after reading C. S. Lewis' Mere Christianity, I was inspired to have unprotected sex with my ex-girlfriend . . . Oh, speaking of religion, here's an even better one. While serving a mission, I once prayed aloud for something bad to happen to a Peruvian family that backed out of being baptized, causing my companion to laugh out loud and interrupt my prayer . . . Ding! Ding! I think we have a winner.