It was 1974, I'd been out of the US Navy a scant three months and I was happily enrolled at Delta College outside of Bay City Michigan, collecting my GI Bill college education and having a blast finally being a college kid (after a four-year delay).
I was the head cartoonist on the student newspaper the Delta Collegiate and everything was going swimmingly. I was the sage veteran, finally out of the disciplined life of the military and enjoying the company of many fun people, including some really cute girls.
One October night the Collegiate crew decided to head out to a nearby pizza and beer joint for an evening of fun. What a treat! The evening was to take quite an unexpected turn however.
(The staff of the Collegiate. That's my sister Francie at left with her feet up on the desk. The beautiful Marsha Ross is at top third from right - I had a crush on her. I'm represented by a sketch, at right, that was done from my hospital bed. Hmmmm. Finally that's me a few months later, lower left, wearing my "spare" glasses.)
This tribe of nearly twenty jolly jokers had just begun the evening, parking across a busy street from the pizza-joint in question. It was dark, and had been raining. As we crossed the rain-slicked pavement in a pack little did we, or I, know that a motorist was about to intersect our path.
The motorist in question was a young guy with a clean driving record, and was completely sober. As he rounded the bend of the blind curve he was presented with the sight of a gaggle of collegians mere feet from his front bumper. With fate casting its ironic smile upon me, I was the one selected for stardom that memorable evening.
I lost consciousness seconds prior to becoming this airborne.
Later, the police report revealed some fascinating details:
[official photo, Bay County Sheriff's Department]
My glasses and boot were found two days later in a cornfield and returned to the custody of my mother.
From the point of impact, I was able to actually fly, if only for a moment, a distance of 37 feet. Considering I was unaided by wings, I think that my flight compares very favorably with the 1903 maiden flight of the Wright Flyer which stayed airborne for 120 feet.
My sister got her wrist broken in that same accident, not by being hit by the car, but by the impact of me as I collided with her upon my takeoff to the stars.
Mercifully, I was never able to recall any of this event. Its all a total blank, save for the vague memory of a very deep pain and someone resting my head upon a spare tire or something.
The result? A broken pelvis, a broken collarbone, a severe laceration to my left upper thigh (still somewhat misshapen), a concussion, and abrasions too numerous to remember, let alone mention.
I was in the hospital for seventeen days learning about numbness, anxiety, and boredom.
Eventually, I healed, unlike my poor glasses.
A month later, I limped back in to the office of the Collegiate, too behind in my classwork to continue on that session. As years went by I finally stopped freezing up at the thought crossing busy streets, I graduated from college, and I became the superhero that that guards over all of you today.
and look both ways before crossing streets.