Car Accidents and Forgotten Rhymes

I saw a commercial on the television tonight that said a person has a 1 in 8 chance of getting in an accident. It was an insurance company. It didn’t specify whether that was over your lifetime, although I figured that’s what it meant because I drive everyday and I don’t get in an accident every eigth day.

However, I’ve lived in Los Angeles most of my life so I have been in almost a dozen fender benders and 2 accidents that have completely totalled the car I was in; but luckily I’ve never been hurt or anyone else involved, just a bunch of dents and scratches. My wife has only been in one minor accident and of course that was with me. The amount of people on the road and all the places to go and you’re bound to collide into your fellow man every now and then.

It’s what we all have in the common.

Some people get all worked up over a little bump; they’re all frantic, shaking, they grab their necks all theatrically, they ask to leave work early. “Oh my god, I was in an accident on my way here. I can’t believe it.”

“Are you all right?”

“Yeah, I was at a light and this guy just rammed into me from behind.”

“Was he going fast?”

“No. He was barely moving but it really shook me up.”

Yeah. Yeah.

George Carlin said it best about LA drivers:

Everybody driving slower than you is a moron. And everybody driving faster than you is an idiot.

Many years ago I was a messenger for a company that specialized in the entertainment industry. I was sent on a pickup at a trendy sushi restaurant around lunchtime for $160 worth of styrofoam boxes in two plastic bags that I was supposed to bring to a residence up Bennedict Canyon, to a certain smooth jazz artist.

While on the curvy part of Sunset I was next to a truck pulling a billboard for a strip club, a collection of half naked ladies smiled at me at 30 mph. Distracted briefly, I saw the brake lights in front of me a second late, stopped short and nicked a red porsche in front of me.

Kenny G’s sushi flipped over in the backseat behind me.

“Fuck!” I yelled. My world seemingly destroyed all at once. I pictured myself getting fired and humiliated by Kenny G and blackballed from Hollywood all with one lascivious glance.

The driver of the Porshce got out, moved his shades to the end of his nose, and took a look at the bumper; then strolled to my window casually, smiled at me and said, “life’s too short to worry about a scratch.”

I thanked the guy and he got back in his car and the light turned green and we proceeded west into the glare of the setting sun. My life might not be over.

I didn’t look over at the billboard again and when I was able to turn off of Sunset and pull over, I discovered that the bags had flipped perfectly over and landed right side up. I took a peek inside and everything looked perfect still, the sushi had maintained its integrity. I felt like a small miracle had taken place, a gift from the gods. And a message.

Keep your eyes on the road.

When I did the drop off he was sitting in the lobby eating one of the meals I was bringing him. He must eat them everyday. He smiled and said thank you and even though I’m not what you call a fan I think I probably blushed and stammered like any good American meeting a celebrity. I walked out of his house knowing that this would make a good story one day.

So when it comes to playing bumper cars, if you live in L.A, you see, you learn to save up your concern for the really big ones. Car accidents are like earthquakes. You can’t freak out about every little tremor. You learn to take them in stride. Maybe that’s where that laid back reputation comes from.

That and too much sun.

I’m becoming spoiled myself lately.

A regular layabout.

The landlord recently fixed our dishwasher and now thatI have all that extra time on my hands it’s going to my head. It had seemed like keeping up with the dishes was an ongoing, perpetual battle that consumed half the night. Now I just rinse the plate and stick it away in the machine until there’s enough in there to warrant a wash.

With that extra ten minutes a night I go out on the balcony and look at my jasmine plants and try to figure out what I’m doing wrong. I talk to them and plead with them but they seem intent on some sort of teenage gothic rebellion, refusing to bloom for me. The bloody bastards keep dying on me!

Anyway. On a happy note, Monday night is the best night on television. I Love New York and The White Rapper Show back to back. Rico got the boot, he was a bore anyway. But my man Mr. Boston is coming through with the late night snacks.

Tango is the next to go. I’m calling it now. He’s a pussy.

And once again Persia couldn’t remember her raps. The girl gets serious stage fright. It probably didn’t help that she recently suffered from heat exhaustion on some Be a Thug competition and then bailed on the hospital, but still…

Watching her forget her rhymes was painful. Nobody wants to go out with a whimper. It should be that fool Jus Rhymes going home, he’s plain irritating. A fucking U.S.C student spitting shit about the black panthers. It bothers me he represents L.A. Doesn’t he know the conundrum he’s built for himself?

My boy applied for the show, sent in a tape we made on this computer I type these words. He would have blown these clowns out the box. But that’s not the point of the show. It’s humiliation. It’s about catering to the stereotypes. The Political Wannabe. The King of the Burbs. The Southern Rapper with a Grill.

It’s John Brown with a crooked hat mumbling about his Ghetto Revival.

Reality Shows in 2007 are like car wrecks, it’s impossible not to slow down and take a peak as you pass by, but it makes you feel guilty for feeling a little thrill.

I Love New York.
Bad Girls Club.
Maui Fever.
Real Housewives of Orange County.

Somewhere in the cosmos Andy Warhol is looking down and smiling.

Maybe Pittsburgh.


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