I Convince Myself I Almost Died (Blog 4, 6/9)

(Absent for Religious reasons.)

So this happened a while ago. I was maybe 10. My sister, who’s four years older, and I were biking to the park. The park was smack dab in the middle of a residential neighborhood, so there’s all these house and stuff around.

So we’re passing this house where this guy’s working in his garage; door’s open, he’s plugging away at whatever, and his dog (might have been a Golden Shepherd, though in my mind it was a ferocious thing with frothy lips and dagger-like teeth and Raptor-sized claws) comes racing out after us. I was a super fast biker, and my sister was slow, and so I’d gotten pretty far ahead of her. So the dog races at her. She freaks out. Jumps off her bike. Tries to use it as a shield. Shouts for help. It’s all very tragic. Meanwhile dog’s jumping around, barking at her, and I’ve gotten off my bike in the meanwhile and am watching it all from the distance. So noble brother that I am, I bark at the dog. Dog, of course, looks at me and decides to race after me know: the idiot that barked. I’m having none of that. I hop on my bike and take off. Dog’s fast, though, and he catches up to me on the bridge in the park. He’s nipping at my heels (maybe not nipping, but he was doing something down there), and I think he’s going to get his nose stuck in my tires and I’m going to flip. All the while I’m wondering where this dog’s owner is, and whether or not I should kick the fellow where it counts whenever he shows up. On foot, the dog comes at me. Athletic dude that I am, I throw a few juke moves at the lunging dog. He whiffs twice; one of the times I accidentally kicked him in the face. But the dog’s not backing down, my sister hasn’t shown me the same graciousness I showed her, and the sun’s beginning to go down (not sure why that matters, but I remember the sun starting to go down; seems like a nice touch on the scene). After another juke, I leap up onto the mini-brick wall running along the bridge’s edge: it’s about three feet wide, maybe four feet high. I think I’ve got it made. The dog’s pacing on the ground; he can’t reach me up here. But then he does this half jump and his paws grab the top of the wall. It’s as far as he can get, but I panic and stumble backwards. I almost fall, but I don’t.

It would be some time after the incident that I would be walking over the bridge again, walk by that spot, and look over the edge, at the flowing water and massive rocks thirty feet down. If I’d fallen on that day, who knows what might have happen? Nothing had happened, really. My life was never in any danger; the dog ended up following us home without further attack, and I never saw it again. But the incident sticks with me today, and I always wonder about the smallest things—how if they’d gone wrong, I’d have cracked my head open or been hit by a bus or got into a crazy car crash. There’s no real morale to this story; nothing really to be learned. Only that always thinking about how you might have died doesn’t really make you think about how to be a better person and be a benefit to mankind; it makes you think about how you almost died, and there’s usually an accompaniment of nausea and sweaty palms.

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