A CLOSE ENCOUNTER!
A few years in the late 1970's I drove a dump truck (sober, OK?). In Florida at that time was a mandatory annual inspection for all motor vehicles. I took my truck in for inspection, and it always passed with colors, especially the air brakes which behaved and performed perfectly. It occurred to me the reason they worked fine: because the truck bed was empty during inspections.
Filled with 12-ton of gravel, sand, or wet limerock, it was all I could do to get the rig to slow down, much less stop. I had to plan my stopping far in advance. One year I had 7 accidents. One of the times I could not stop, SIX stopped cars in front of me all got demolished--Bam-bam-bam-bam-bam-bam! And my truck drove away undamaged. The fact was, those brakes would not stop under a load. (There is more to this story...another time.)
Around the same time I was a member of a jury panel in a manslaughter case. A motorcyclist had been run down by a dump truck, which had possible brake failure. (The insurance companies wanted me on the jury, thinking I would be favorable to their defending case.) They didn't know me--didn't ask enough questions. Didn't ask the right questions!
Part of the trial evidence was brain matter, and other body-part material found under the wheel wells, and embedded into the tire tread. It was a pretty gory scene with lots of evidence, both pictorial and actual. I've never forgotten. One of the jurors even became ill from viewing evidence and a substitute was called up.
SKIP to thirty years later--this morning--and I'm wondering who EVER checks the brakes on a truck carrying a top-heavy load of many ton of slowly-rolling, mixing, wet concrete?
On my bike, riding from meetings to mass this morning, I narrowly escaped becoming one more Florida Highway fatality statistic. A concrete mixer came shooting through a red light at an intersection through which I had already started (on green). I had instant recall of that long-ago trial. In this morning's heart-stressing moment I almost had to lay my bike down...or be instantly killed.
I did not wish to be the subject of that kind of courtroom litigation, especially were it MY brain material clinging to the underside of truck wheel wells. Flex (my Guardian Angel) was there (I KNOW that! --NO grin.) and the incident was a 'personal' warning for more caution on my part, to "Ride Safe!"
I no longer fear death, but I am certainly not afraid to live either--in fact, I quite prefer it.
I hope Prayer Girl doesn't read this one--she'll 'ground' me! On a cold day WHERE, you say?
(Still sober, and ever so glad to be with you all today!)
In love and service,