Friday, December 08, 2006

Exxon Valdez? That Was Nothin' .............

Everyone's heard the story of the Exxon Valdez.

(Cue Music, Here)
What do you do with a drunken sailor?
What do you do with a drunken sailor?
What do you do with a drunken sailor?
Early in the morning?
Put him in charge of an Exxon Tanker!
Put him in charge of an Exxon Tanker!
Put him in charge of an Exxon Tanker!
Early in the morning!
(Fade Music)

Yeah, drunk Captain runs Supertanker aground and spills oil all over the place. Bah! Where's the excitement in that?

The day that the Redneck Valdez burned? THAT was exciting.

The Redneck Valdez? That's the name of my old red Ford Pickup truck. It's a ratty old junker that I used to haul shit around with and occasionally drive to work.

I named it, The Redneck Valdez, because it looks like it's been run aground and wherever you park it? There's an oil spill. Simple really.

And what oil doesn't leak out while parked, gets blown out the exhaust pipe while driving. Not, "A Little Oil either", I'm talking A LOT of oil. In the neighborhood of 1 quart every 60 miles or so. Coupled with the 10 mpg (highway mileage) gas consumption, you can see how The Redneck Valdez doesn't get a lot of use other than hauling things from point A to point B.

Circumstances forced me to drive the old beast to work one Friday afternoon. 60 miles each way. Hey, just take it easy, make sure there's some extra oil, and stay in the slow lane on the Interstate. What can go wrong?

I'd been using it to carry a load of straw, a mower and some other BS the day before and had to get all that shit unloaded before going to work, which I did. Well most of it anyway and hit the highway.

I hit the Interstate and headed South for the longer than usual drive. It was the 4th of July weekend and the traffic was crazy heavy and I was chugging along at 55 in the slow lane and pissing off everyone, but things were going ok, overall.

Now I've got a bit of a vision problem, as in, I don't see much out of my right eye. I'm used to it and do OK most of the time, but I kept getting this weird impression of seeing something in my rearview mirror. I'd look up and check to be sure and there'd be nothing but the traffic behind me. This happened repeatedly for about 10 miles and it was starting to bother me and My Official Trouble Sensor, Spider Sense, or whatever you call it was beginning to ping pretty hard.

Traffic was very heavy, but I tried to keep checking the mirror more frequently and sure enough, just for a second, I thought I saw a wiff of smoke back there. I was just getting to the WTF is that shit coming from stage, when all of a sudden, a BUNCH of smoke started coming from the back of the truck!

Remember all that straw I'd been carrying? Yeah, there was a LOT of loose straw still left back there and one of my cigarette butts I had tossed had landed back there and started it alight. Those fleeting images in the mirror? The smoldering straw.

There was a minivan right on my bumper and when I next looked up the whole bed of the truck went up in flames. Whoosh! All I could hear were tires squealing and horns behind me.

Hey, it's only some loose straw. No big deal, right? Wrong. There was a plastic, 5 gallon can of gasoline right in the middle of the conflagration.

I thought to myself, Shit I'm not driving a truck, I'm driving a damn bomb!

There was a guardrail on the side of the road and not much room to pull over, but I whipped over while leaving only a small streak of red paint on the rail. I jumped out the passenger window and started thinking of Richard Pryor. Oh Shit, Oh Shit, Oh Shit. Like I said, there was a LOT of straw and it was really burning. Flames were 3 feet above the cab now.

As luck would have it, there was a 1/2 full bucket of water back there too. I dumped that over and put out the flames, breathed a sigh of relief ............ and saw the Peterbilt that was aimed right at and bearing down on the back of the, now smoldering Redneck Valdez. I jumped over the guardrail and rolled down the embankment about 6-8 feet and waited for the crash which I was sure was gonna happen, but didn't occur.

I sat there for a second and then crawled back up to the truck and gave everything a quick look see. Hmmm. Everything looked ok, so I crawled back into the passenger window and got behind the wheel again. That's when I noticed that the drivers side mirror was knocked forward into the front fender.

Damn. That was close.

Then I started laughing like a Retard with a new container of Silly Putty, thinking about the driver of that Minivan! He, most certainly got a shock from The Burning of The Redneck Valdez!

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