It was cinematic.
The loud bang. The huge pull-behind trailer flying through the air, twisting and spinning as it bashed into vehicles and bounced back into the air again, barreling toward us — debris, gasoline and lawn care equipment tumbling out, seemingly in slow motion, and falling onto the crushed cars below. The pickup truck that the trailer had once been attached to rushed down the hill, out of control, brakes gone, headed toward a head-on collision with our car. We were in for a one-two punch. Only it wouldn't be a punch; it would be a crunch. And it would be fatal.
We were parked along the side of the road, about to leave a busy park. I had just strapped my preschooler and 14-month-old in their car seats and was sitting in the driver's seat, looking up directions to our next location, when I heard the boom. I saw the trailer flying toward us first, the pickup truck second.
I jumped out of the car, opened the door behind me to pull out my son. I looked across at my daughter — and realized there would be no time to save her. Then I heard another boom behind me and realized there wasn't time to save my son, either. I looked at their angelic faces, bracing for the impact.
It didn't come.
The trailer stopped a couple of cars back. The pickup truck hit the car parked next to ours. Shockingly, miraculously, no one was hurt.
But I, I was shaken.
When you're a writer, folks always say the same thing when they hear your bad news. "Hey, at least you got something to write about. Am I right?" As if we writers are flying kites in lightning storms, cliff-diving in squirrel suits and taking fire-eating classes just so we have more material. If you know anything about most writers, we don't leave the house. If there's a basement, even better! Who needs fresh air when given the option of a virtual bunker and a few family-size cans of spinach only two years past their due date? We writers tend to be perfectly comfortable using our own imagination to create stories. There is no need to experience actual Armageddon to write a film about the end of days. I once tried Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans, and that foray into extreme living was quite enough, thank you very much.
OK, that's not true. I mean, it would be for some writers. Clearly. Our profession tends to attract mole people. But I happen to like fresh air and adventures. Car accidents are not adventures.
When I told my brother about how I had been shaken to the core, he responded, "Yeah, but now you can write a movie called 'The Trailer.' And the movie will have a trailer featuring a trailer. Whoa."
We're having him tested.
Yes, though "The Trailer" is an inevitable blockbuster hit in the making starring Channing Tatum and Will Smith — a summer feel-good film, if you will — there are a few film plots that I'd rather not have actual life experience in.
"It," for example. When we had deranged clowns creeping out of forests all across America, I never once picked up a large clown net, a flashlight and a chloroform-spritzing flower pin and headed into the woods thinking, "It's high time 'It' had a sequel." "True Lies" is another one, because I have an irrational fear of helicopters and flying in general. With that in mind, we can also eliminate living out the plots of "Sully," "Up in the Air," "Up" and any Superman film. There's also "The Human Centipede." I'm really hoping that one doesn't need an explanation. And of course, there are all those Roland Emmerich disaster films that feature a tractor-trailer spiraling through the air.
Funny how no one ever says you have something worth writing about when something good happens. I had a baby, and not one movie pitch was given. Not one! No one ever says, "Hey! Your puppy in housebroken! Now you can write the next Beethoven movie, 'Symphony No. 2 — In the Backyard'!" Or how about that time I unknowingly ate my weight in weed brownies? No one said, "Now you can write 'Mary Poppins.'" It's only when bad stuff occurs (or, in our fortunate case, almost occurs) that anyone thinks you have a story to tell.
Thanks, but no thanks. I'll stick to being boring.
Then again, it would be cool to meet Will Smith and Channing Tatum...
Katiedid Langrock is author of the book "Stop Farting in the Pyramids," available at http://www.creators.com/books/stop-farting-in-the-pyramids. Like Katiedid Langrock on Facebook, at http://www.facebook.com/katiedidhumor. To find out more about her and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.