Taking a Stab at…The Strange Moments in Life

What is the strangest thing to ever happen to you, good or bad, in life, at work, or wherever?  Life is a perplexing and wonderful experience, and we all have our separate journeys with alternate paths and endings.  It’s what makes for good conversation over coffee at the Huddle House or McDonald’s when we are 90.  The following aren’t all photography related, but they document the strange and memorable moments in my life thus far.

1)Wedding Sword Fights – It’s inevitable, at some point during the day of a wedding, someone will say to me, “You didn’t know what you were getting into” or “I bet you think we’re all crazy” etc.  But I tell them all, until they top my most memorable wedding story, which I hope they don’t, then I still have them beat.

At a previous wedding, the groom gave his groomsmen nice automatic pocketknives, but they should have waited until after the partying.  After a few drinks, two of the groomsmen started to sword fight with their new toys.  One thing led to another, and one of them stabbed the other in the arm!  They rushed him to the ER, saying he got cut slicing limes or something like that.  They tried to glue him together, but the alcohol was preventing the blood from clotting!  They spent most of the night there, finally getting him back together.  I arrive the next day to hear the story, and they show me the still partially bloody knife and a program with a few spots of blood as proof. It was the first wedding I had to look for smiles and ensure no one sprung a leak at the same time!

2) Near Death Experience – There was a fender bender on a small bridge in the country, and police were alternating traffic through the one open lane.  I was sitting in line, on my way to take a family’s christmas portraits. I was the last in the line of cars on our side.  Looking around, I see a large dump truck / tree chipper barrel around the corner behind me.  I had nowhere to go, so I pressed the brake as hard as I could, hoping to not hit too many cars in front of me, and I pressed my body and head as hard as I could into my seat.  I didn’t watch the mirror, because I didn’t want to see it hit.  I just waited.  Then I heard the screeching. The truck swerved into a church parking lot, and the chipper went airborne.  I saw the shadow go over my truck.  The momentum kept the truck from making the turn, so it ran head on into the curb and flipped upside down and immediately caught on fire.  The guys inside kicked out the windshield and got out cussin’ up a storm.  I was praying thanks, and thinking to myself, they should be doing the same! The cop came over and extinguished the fire, and I went on to take the photos; miraculously, I was still on time!  Coincidentally, I photographed a wedding at that very church a few years later.  The skid marks were still across the entrance and curb.  God is Good!

3) The ‘Truck Story” – Quite possibly the most over-told story I have experienced in my 29 years of life occurred in 1997 when I was a freshman at Bleckley County High School. During Cross Country practice, I was tired of running the “Triple Threat” which is a triangle of dirt roads.  An old redneck pulled up and asked if we wanted a ride.  We said sure, planning to get off before reaching the group running in front of us.  We held on to the tailgate, crouching on the bumper  to remain unseen.  We had to jump off because the driver wouldn’t stop.  The other 2 guys made it off relatively unharmed, just a scrape or two.  Then it was my time.  Brand new spiked shoes did not fit into this equation very well at all. I jumped and started “running in air” but the spikes caught the dried Georgia clay and slammed my eyebrow into the bumper before momentum continued to drag my face down the road at whatever speed we were going.  My legs ended up flipping over my head, effectively flipping me over onto my back as I skidded to a stop.


All I could see was blue, no clouds, nothing.  I thought I was dead. I waited for an angel to lean over and tell me I was an idiot, but I realized I was still alive and i sat up. I was not in pain, so i just smiled and stood up, i had a scrape on my knee and i was filthy, but so what.  Then I looked at my friends and their faces dropped.  I touched my face and my entire left side was gone, nothing but road rash in its place.  Oh crap, what am I going to tell coach??!!  I was also worried about getting blood on my Florida State shirt..I really liked that shirt!  We headed back and coach thought i had berries smeared all over my face.  When I got closer, I told him my devised story, i tripped and fell into the ditch onto some glass.  He bought it!!  Needless to say I was done running for the day.  I was picked up and went home. I spent 3 days at home with a very swollen face and it took several weeks to heal. I managed to scare plenty of people at school who would see my “normal” side and then, like the Phantom of the Opera, they see the bad side.  I took most of it in strides and just laughed.  What else could I do?

I finally healed with no scarring to my face, which was a miracle! I don’t jump off of (moving) trucks anymore, and now I have a great story for the kids one day; if only I would have let someone take a picture of it back then! Not long after, coach asked me “Hitched any rides lately?”  I guess I didn’t fool him after all!

If you’re actually still reading, what events have shaped your life?

Although not an official “Truck Story” photo, my self-made Halloween costume from 1994 was strangely foreshadowing how I would look a few years later.

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