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Thursday, 30 October 2008

Downhill

By Tom J. Mariani

"Come on, Tommy. Tell these people about the last time you drank while driving. It sure as hell will get them to stop." Ken could only get this out in spurts. He was laughing too hard already.

"Knock it off. I barely know most of these people. They got better things to do in this bar than listen about me being stupid."

Ken had worn out this story with all the truck drivers and fisherman we usually hung out with. The story had changed each time he told it. One time in front of an audience in a bowling alley, tears ran down his face he was laughing so hard as he told the story.

The gal bringing us our next round of drinks had heard him tell the story before. "Should I start handing you napkins now to dab you eyes? The first time I heard Ken tell it, I was worried he was gonna wet his pants too."

All that did was get more people to turn around to wait to listen to the story.

She added, “I always wondered what all those ‘Watch For Runaway Trucks’ signs and the sand pits were for on the side of the road to Tahoe. Glad to see you made it down the mountain without having to make a ‘pit stop.’ When Ken was almost through telling your story, I thought you were a goner. This drink's on me. Find yourself a designated driver. No bottles outside the building. That goes for all of you. Listen and learn your lesson."

“Come on, Tommy." Ken urged, "We still got 20 minutes 'till kick off. I'm giving you one last chance to tell your version. If you wait until I have another beer, they'll get mine." Ken kept pushing.

I didn't know most of these people. But since there was no way of stopping Ken, I decided to tell my version.

Ken's version is much longer, and much more exciting than mine. He's had a lot more practice telling it. Since there's was now only 15 minutes to kick off, we don't have time for Ken's version anyway.

I started, "The short version is, I delivered a truck-load of Calistoga Water to Sparks, Nevada. On the steep down-hill drive back with an empty trailer, I had already shifted down when I thought I lost my brakes."

Ken had to butt in: "You tell 'em how you lost your brakes and found them again, Tommy."

"OK. Give me chance. After shifting down, I pushed harder on the brake pedal. Nothing happened. The pedal wouldn't go down, and I was picking up speed. I passed one of the emergency-stop sand pits, and was looking for the next one. As I flew past a Pepsi driver, who I just had lunch with in Boomtown, he gave me the finger. He thought I was just trying to pass him."

At this point I got a dirty look from my wife. What? These people had never given or gotten the middle finger?

Then I finished my story. "I flipped on my jake-brake to let my engine's compression help slow me down. I'm giving all the pressure I can on my brake pedal, when I realized the problem was my empty glass bottle of Calistoga water had rolled on the floorboard. It was jammed under my brake pedal.

“With my left foot, I kicked it loose. I then hit the brakes a little too hard. Looking back in my rear-view mirror, I could see smoke coming from under my rear trailer tires. The Pepsi driver was flashing his headlights, as I am sure he was having to tap hard on his brakes. I'm glad I couldn't read his lips."

Dan was leading the laughter. "And that my friends, is why you should never drink and drive."

[EDITORIAL NOTE: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. Instructions are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post

Comments

See, I told you bottled water is a product of the devil.

Great Story

Rich

Very funny. I can see why Ken wanted to repeat it so often.

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