Nobody died

On Saturday, all I wanted to do was take everyone to a show in the city. We almost paid with our lives.

I was darting up the New Jersey Turnpike towards the Lincoln Tunnel. Just before Exit 15, in the heart of the industrial ugliness of Newark, a piece of something—metal or rubber or plastic—catapulted off a dump truck ahead of us in the next lane. It bounced in a high arc once, twice, and then shot under our car. It happened in a matter of seconds but I saw the whole thing unfold in slow motion.

It smacked the bottom of our car hard, like someone punched it. *bang* I looked in my rear view and saw thick smoke billowing out the back of my car. My wife yelled, “What was that?!” I looked at my daughters and their eyes were wide with fear. My oil light clicked on. My hands hurt and I realized it was from gripping the steering wheel.

My mind was racing through scenarios. The object could have gone through the windshield instead of under the car. It could have ruptured my fuel tank and we could’ve been blown to bits. The car could have flipped. There could’ve been someone tailgating and they might have slammed into my back end. We weren’t out of danger yet.

An exit came up. I took it. The car was losing power fast. It finally died, and I mean died, on a street that might see traffic during business hours, but on a late Saturday afternoon with a winter storm and a deep freeze approaching, there was no one. We were across the street from some giant oil tanks. Nothing was open. It was an apocalyptic, industrial wasteland. The temperatures were plummeting, it was getting dark and it started snowing.

I am never going to badmouth cell phones again.

Miracle #1: My wife is a member of AAA but the membership is restricted to her car. It doesn’t include mine. A few days ago, I received an offer in the mail to attach a second driver in the same household to the membership at no additional cost for the length of the current contract. I rarely drive but I thought it couldn’t hurt and since it’s free, I responded to the offer. Guess when I signed up? Right before we left for the city. I was a member for about an hour and I called AAA to come get me.

Miracle #2: We sat for about :15 minutes gathering our senses, calming down, figuring out a plan when a Port Authority police car just happened to pass by. It was one of the few cars we’d seen since we broke down. They set up flares and called for the police. We were only about five miles from the Newark Airport so they drove my Bride and Daughters to a Hertz rental car agency there while I stayed with the car. We called AAA to confirm the tow truck was on its way and everyone left.

Busy night for tow trucks. I waited for three hours. It was dark, scary, lonely, quiet and cold. I froze my ass off but was glad my family was somewhere safe and warm. During that three hours, I had two complete and total strangers pull up and ask if I was okay or needed help. One was a Latino kid in his mid-20’s and the other was a middle-aged Jamaican. Who pulls up to a car with its hood up in a desolate neighborhood during a winter storm and says, “Hey, brother, are you okay?” Angels walk this earth.

A flatbed tow truck took my car to a garage in downtown Newark. They called me this afternoon. The object I hit pinged around and caused severe damage. My oil filter housing was snapped clean off and lodged near my muffler, becoming a second projectile. All the oil drained and that caused irreparable damage to the rods and bearings, whatever the hell those are. The engine is cooked to the tune of $3,200.

But we’re alive.

My wife drove the rental from the airport and picked me up at the garage in Newark. We got home late. The dog was laying on the sofa. The tip of her tail started the thump-thump-thump, happy to see me dance. I sat next to her. Pet. Pet. Pet.


That fucking dog bit me again.

bite1It’s a bad one this time. Probably the worst bite yet.

bite2I didn’t touch her in a weird spot or approach her in an aggressive manner. It came out of nowhere. I wish that dog would drop dead. Dogs suck. They’re dirty, stupid, needy, smelly beasts. I’ve never liked them. Plus, I think my car it totaled.

So…How was your Valentine’s Day?

175 thoughts on “Nobody died

    • Thanks, Ned. Much appreciated. Do you know what else? Aside from something catastrophic, everything can be fixed with a series of phone calls. Keep your head and it’ll all work out. Get upset and it’ll still all work out, but the ride is rougher.

      • Absolutely 😉 Sometimes it’s these little shakeups that help us gain a better perspective. My dad always told me: There are no road blocks, just reasons to find a different route.

  1. Glad you are alive. What a scary experience. Sorry about the dog, though. And I say as a dog lover, you’re totally correct. They are dirty stinky needy. But then, so am i 😉

  2. Ouch! On several levels.Especially the dog level.Bastard! Maybe you should muzzle it.
    But what nice folk to stop and offer help. Remember, it was a Jamaican who dug my friend and me out of a Bronx snowdrift the first time I came to NY.

  3. Wow how scary is that. I’m glad you’re all alright! Nice to know there’s still some good people in the world.

    As for dog ouch! Sounds unpredictable. What kind is it? Ours is a wiener dog. We also have a big snake.

    • Those two dudes who pulled over restored my faith in humanity. I asked myself if I would have done the same thing if the roles were reversed and do you know I’m not sure I would have? Shameful.

      Can I feed this cockapoo to you big snake? And film it so I can enjoy it over and over?

      • Well I bet you will now if you see someone stranded. One can never know these days if it’s safe to pull over and offer help sadly.

        Our snake prefers rats but she might be will to give your dog a big hug. (She’s a boa constrictor. 😉

      • Yay lots of good came out of a horrible situation. I’m still sorry it happened.
        Mr. Gibber is a mechanic, he says your car is totaled. 😦
        Okay we can try the rat disguise with maybe a rat

  4. Well, you are, indeed, lucky that no one was hurt in that freak car incident, although it’s too bad the damage was so severe. My AAA policy covers all household drivers and all cars in the household. Weird that yours didn’t, but good timing on getting enrolled.

    What kind of dog do you have? Sheesh, after what you just went through to come home and have your own dog bite you. What is that they say…adding insult to injury? Bummer.

    • I found out that the policy extended to me was just the most basic policy. There are different tiers. I had to pay a portion of the tow but it worked out to only $20 bucks, so I was pretty happy with that. I just wish it hadn’t taken so damn long.

      It’s a cockapoo with a bad attitude, but only towards me. If she ever bites one of my girls or my wife like that I’ll beat her with a ball peen hammer.

      • Is the cockapoo a pedigreed dog? I know that they are mixes of cocker spaniels and poodles. but were the parents AKC registered? I have found that mutts generally have a much better disposition that pedigreed dogs. Mine is primarily a Shepherd/Lab mix (along with who knows what else), a rescue dog, and she is a total sweetheart. As long as you’re not a bird or a squirrel, you have nothing at all to fear from her.

      • Now you tell me. I paid $800 for that dog, which is a LOT of money for me. I thought I was doing the right thing. There’s a mutt down the street who’s the nicest dog I’ve ever met. Someone told me after the fact that poodles can be aggressive. Again, too little too late.

      • Well, if you ever get another dog after you kill your cockapoo, go to a dog shelter and pick one up there. I’ve never had an issue with a shelter dog. They are so happy to find a good home that they will love and adore you forever.

      • The most valuable lesson I’ve ever learned. Unfortunately, this devil is only about three years old, so she’s got a lot of life in her. Unless she bites the girls. Then she’s out of luck.

  5. That must have been terrifying. Bet you had the shakes for a while after that–and not just from the cold temperature. So glad you weren’t seriously hurt. How amazing that you’d just signed up for AAA. And it warms my heart to think those guys stopped to see if you needed help. Being stranded in a big city is scary. Nice to see not everyone is out to get us.

    • In hindsight, it was a bit of a thrill. When you’re in the middle of it, it kind of sucks, though.

      Those guys changed me in a profound way. I was the kind of person who would just keep driving and mind my own business. I’m less likely to do that now. So that’s one good thing that’s come from this.

  6. You are so right in your statement that in every step of this tale, something much worse could have happened to leave you, your Bride and your Delightful Daughters in dire straits, from the through-the-windshield to marauding, gun-toting druggie with an evil heart. But you got the bouncing plastic, made the exit, had a transit cop find you and were offered help from Samaritan strangers. Serendipity! Living right.

    And maybe insurance or warranty will pay for the repairs.

    You can talk your daughter down from her fears with calm sense.

    I have no idea what to do with that freaking dog. I love my pooch, Mark, but your dog, not so much. He ran away (to the new-home finders at the humane society). Sorry, girls …

    • We never lost perspective on what COULD have happened. Even when we were sitting in the middle of nowhere before we placed that first cell phone call, we realized we were lucky to be alive. Everything kind of fell into place after that. The insurance company has been shockingly agreeable about this whole episode. Because I’m cynical in nature, I thought they were going to do whatever it takes do NOT pay on this accident but they’ve been great. Shout out to Liberty Mutual.

      If that dog ever disappears, they’re going to know it had something to do with me. They’re young, but they’re not stupid.

  7. The post title should have been “Nobody died. Unfortunately, that includes the dog”.
    I saw that photo and assumed that the injury was from the car accident. It’s kind of ironic that you got more serious injuries from petting your dog than from an accident on the highway. It’s good to hear that most of you were unhurt and your faith in humanity (at least strangers and insurance companies) has been partially restored.

    • Nobody died but my dignity suffered a pretty severe setback. I can’t win. I’m running a risk by keeping the dog and I’m a monster if I chuck it into the Shreswbury River.

      I didn’t make that connection between surviving an accident, only to be hurt later at home. That’s a funny point. Sort of.

  8. i HATE driving behind those big open trucks for that very reason! glad y’all weren’t hurt, well, except for you, but while on the road. you’re right, the car will be fixed or totaled and everyone will build up that scar tissue over “the road incident” but it might be a while before anyone wants to drive into the city again. now that dog…
    i’m not going to do anymore personal complaining after reading this, sweetpea! 😉 xoxoxo

    • One of the main reasons I stayed in New York City for so long was because I didn’t have to own a car. I know people love their cars (Queen wrote a great song about it) but I can’t be bothered. What I spent in subway and taxi fares pales in comparison the cost of an auto. Plus, you can get killed in those things. Or pretty close to killed.

  9. I, too, headed into the city to see a show (A Delicate Balance) on Saturday. But losing a suede boot to a puddle of vomit is nothing like your harrowing experience. You know, the fact that it was the dog that drew blood was a twist for me too. Brutal.

    • That’s supposed to be a great production but I cannot abide by Edward Albee. All that screaming and shouting! Did you see Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf with Amy Madigan and Bill Irwin? It received all sorts of accolades, which I’m sure were well deserved, but I passed. I just saw On the 20th Century with Kristin Chenowith and Peter Gallagher and even though I’m not fan of musicals–I tend to avoid them at all costs–I ended up having a pretty good time.

      • I didn’t see Virginia Wolf. I like Bill Irwin, though. I saw him in Fool Moon 20 years ago – so delightful! Funny about Albee. It did seem stilted. I like Lindsay Duncan, but not in this role – awkward with the accent. Maybe it’s not her fault. I kept imagining how Elaine Strich must have done it in the 1990s.

  10. I knew someone once who was beheaded when a sewing machine flew off the back of a truck and went through his windshield. Can you imagine such a thing? “Cause of death – sewing machine”. The moral of the story is, stay ahead of trucks!

    And your dog … Argh, that’s a tough one. I spent five years in rescue and the products of uncaring, unethical breeders were among the worst wrecks we saw. I’m not saying a mutt is guaranteed to be a good dog … but what happens in puppy mills is a particular kind of horror. Not saying you necessarily have a puppy mill dog – maybe you did your research and found a wonderful, caring breeder and this dog is just a natural born jerk … but if not, my guess is that dog was handled roughly by a man and simply cannot trust men because of it. Probably the best thing YOU can do is simply ignore the dog and not keep trying to make friends. Maybe one day it’ll accept you, but in the meantime the fewer opportunities it has to bite you, the better.

    Next time around, I hope you’ll go for a rescue dog! Pound puppies can be wonderful – or, if you want a little more help in ensuring that you get a dog with a known temperament that’s a good match for your family, go through a good, reputable rescue organization. The better groups can be a pain to deal with because they ask a bazillion questions before they entrust one of their precious dogs to you – but that’s because we really, really want to be sure it’s a good fit for everyone.

    • That’s a horrific story! What a way to go, is right. Another tip about trucks: never follow a rental. Behind the wheel is someone who drives cars and thinks there’s not much difference between the two.

      I certainly thought the breeder was reputable and we paid enough money for it. (Although, since when is paying money a guarantee of anything?). We were all hung up on getting a hypoallergenic dog that didn’t shed. I forgot about the personality. I’m supposed to be the alpha dog! I’m the only guy in the house. I still think a shock collar might be my next step (barring chucking her out into the cold). It sounds cruel but I’m at the end of my rope.

      God, I used to have this vision of a dog that would sit next to me while I watched football, would fetch my slippers and go get the newspaper at the end of the driveway. What a joke.

      • Honestly, a shock collar would be a very, very bad idea. Unless used by someone who has knowledge of how to use them (there’s more to it than pushing a button and hearing a yip!) they can make a bad problem worse. You also might find that If you get lucky and she stops biting you, she’ll switch to some alternative bad behavior – because you haven’t dealt with the underlying issue.

        Would you like me to chat to my friendly neighborhood behaviorist and ask her for a recommendation? We’re way over on the other side of the continent from you, but she will probably be able to say, “Tell him to find someone who has studied with xxx or uses the yyy method – and here’s a website for a starting point.”

        But in the meantime … Honestly, my first suggestion would be to see if a GOOD private rescue will take her, rehabilitate her, and rehome her in a man-free home. If you absolutely cannot give her up, you need to give up your dog dream (for now) and simply have nothing to do with her. Every time she bites you, the habit is becoming more firmly entrenched – it’s a lose-lose situation.

        And … yeah. Money is no guarantee when it comes to dogs, unfortunately.

      • agree with Ms. Took on both counts: IGNORE that nasty-ass, yappy dog. Consider it to be invisible. Also, don’t do the shock collar – it might be fun to have a bit of retribution (and i would be sorely tempted to do so if i lived with that nasty bastard), it would likely lead to worse problems. my mom had a nasty cat – and someone told her to squirt the cat with a water bottle whenever she bit. the nasty cat got nastier.

      • The only part about ignoring her I can’t abide by is the fact that my bride would responsible for 100% of the care and maintenance. That means walking the dog every day, feeding her all the time, throwing a fucking tennis ball once in a while so she doesn’t get bored and start to chew the furniture. How fair is that? I can’t just wash my hands–clap-clap–and say, here, you deal with her.

  11. I’m sorry you had to wait so long for AAA! I’ve had to call them 5 times over the years (I have a lot of car problems) and the most I’ve ever had to wait is an hour. Big picture though, waiting for 3 hours isn’t that bad. That’s a scary experience, and I’m glad everyone is ok!

    Is your pet of the diminutive yap yap variety? That’s not a dog, it’s a rat in disguise! Give real dogs a chance. You should get a big one, maybe it will do you a favor and eat the one you have 😉

    • The reason it took so long were purely circumstantial. It had nothing to do with AAA. They were swamped with calls because of the storm and I was in an out-of-the-way place. Plus, it was Saturday night and there were very few drivers working. The guy who picked me up still had two more stops after me!

      The dog barks incessantly. I can’t think of one redeeming quality. Well…it doesn’t shed. But that’s about all I can say. I have no idea what my daughters see in it. As soon as they’re off to college, it’s gone.

      Big dog idea = lol!

      • My aunt bought an AAA membership for me when I turned 16 and she renews it for me every year as part of my Christmas present. I’ve only recently begun to appreciate what a great present it actually is! They really are life savers.

        Big dogs are so great though! Have you looked at Labrador retrievers? They’re THE BEST. I live in a teeny apt so a pet is out of the question. I need to live through others!

      • That’s a most thoughtful gift. That’s a gift that says she cares about your safety.

        My sister has a giant black lab that’s the most gentle animal I’ve ever met. When my daughters visit, they lay all over her like she’s a piece of furniture.She doesn’t seem to mind. In the meantime, you can live vicariously through me and be GLAD you don’t have a dog!

  12. I am so glad that you and your family weren’t hurt. That is so scary! On a lighter note, you probably set some kind of record with AAA.

    Sorry about the dog, too. That’s not good either.

    • Thank you for that. We all dance on such slender threads. It was supposed to be a fun show for the kids and then right back home. I didn’t see it coming. Nobody would. That’s why they’re called accidents, I suppose.

  13. I caught a glimpse of the hand and immediately thought, “Oop, the dog bit him.” Then I read the piece and thought, “Oh, he injured his hand.” Nope. The dog. Sorry, I laughed.
    Scary stuff and miserable time. Glad you are all okay.
    I have a fear of things flying off trucks ever since watching the opening scene of “The Descent,” which is a messed up but scary movie. I could just do without that scene.

    • And what does that say if a pic of my bloody stump automatically makes you think I’ve been bit again. Once too often, perhaps? You should scroll down and read Pinklightsabre’s comment. It’s a classic and succinctly summarized exactly how I feel.

      I’ve never seen The Descent and based on what you’ve written, I never will.

  14. Glad to hear that you and the family came out of that scary situation relatively unscathed. As for your dog, look at it this way: How will you feel when (and it’s just a matter of time) it bites one of your girls, she is seriously injured and has to undergo surgery and prolonged physical therapy? You will say: “Gee, I knew this dog was a biter, but I didn’t do anything about it because I thought the girls would never forgive me. Oh well! What’s a little disfigurement in my daughter?” Please, I beg of you, be the parent you should be and get rid of that thing NOW. Being the parent means making the hard decisions to keep everyone safe even when your actions are not popular at the moment. Thanks… Hopping off my soapbox now!

    • You have just described my worst nightmare. I’ve been convinced that a trip to the dog behaviorist will change things. Mind you, we’ve already had a few classes and trainers visit, at no small expense. But I’m outnumbered and trapped. When I dance around the subject, my daughters wail and suffer and I eventually back down. I don’t want them to hate me and, quite frankly, they will. It’d take a long while to go away.

      Soapbox, schmopebox. I appreciate the input. Thanks.

  15. Mark, dang it! Have you not learned that the dog from hell is just waiting to lure you in with a wagging tail. DO NOT PET THE DOG. She or it- whatever, knows deep down that you do not really like her/it. Just throw it a pet treat and be on your way.

    I hope those bites do not get infected. I’ve had many cat bites and scratches become infected and had to take a round of antibiotics each time. This past summer I had a cat bite on my hand and had to go to Urgent Care on a Sunday. I was given an injection of Rocefin (sp?) plus follow-up oral antibiotics. It was a bad bite on my index finger. Very red and swollen, plus painful. Happened when trying to medicate a cat. It was my stupid fault.

    Now about that ugly catastrophe. Thank God or your lucky stars that it was not worse and be thankful that you had so wisely signed up for AAA. A small miracle there. And you know, angels come in all sizes, colors and, from some of the most unlikely places. There are good people in this world. Just too few of them.

    • That dog has burned me for the last time. I’m done with it and somehow, it knows. It used to bring one of its toys and drop it on my foot while I was reading the paper. I’d toss it like the programmed idiot I am but since Saturday she has kept her distance. I threw some hydrogen peroxide on the bite immediately after. It stung like hell but at least I’ll recover without an infection. Funny thing…I’ve been scratched and bitten by cats, too. But I’m more forgiving of them. Do you know why? Because they’re superior animals, that’s why.

      AAA did a fine job but I learned in the course of filing my complaint that my auto insurer also offers roadside protection. I wonder if I wouldn’t have waited as long if I’d called them instead?

      • Mark, I don’t know if cats are superior or not but I know that I am partial to my cats. But, I love cats and dogs. Funny thing is that almost all the bloggers that follow me and those who comment on a regular basis all have just one pet and that in most instances happens to be a dog/s. You are the first man to comment on my blog that happens to like cats.

        My husband always had a favorite cat among my passel of cats. After he became ill and during the last 4-5 years of his life one cat slept by his side. Sometimes I’d see him walk past a cat that was on his desk and he’d grab the cat and kiss the top of its head.

        My son has three cats and they all sleep on his bed with one that lays on his head. My son’s girlfriend told me that she was jealous. How juvenile is that?

        Hopefully, the day will come when you can have a cat in the house. Meanwhile, just ignore the dog. One more word of advice. Wear a tee shirt that you can tolerate to get good and dirty. Wear the tee so that your body odor soaks in. Then get your wife to put the tee where the dog must sleep on it. Keep doing this for several months. The dog will get a better understanding of who you are and that you are the top dog in the family. No joke. This often works. Just don’t pet her again.

      • I had two Siamese cats for about 15 years–Mr. Chow and Lucy–and I can tell you with complete conviction that they’re superior animals. Girlfriends would come and go and those two were always there for me. And I admired their independence. They didn’t mind one bit when I wasn’t there for them. They didn’t hold grudges.

        I think the tee-shirt idea is excellent. We crate the dog every night I can just toss one in there with her. Thanks for the tip.

        “Passel” is a new word for me. I had to Google it. Thanks!

  16. Oh my god! Angels do walk this earth. So lucky, Mark. You must feel happy to be alive and safe and warm. What’s a little dog bite? But ouch! That does look bad, mister. I hope it feels better. Those accidents happen in slow motion, don’t they, but so fast at the same time. How very scary and lucky you are. I was at water polo all weekend and the weather was beautiful. No candlelight dinner, but I have no complaints.

    • Just imagine all the horrible things that could have happened. That’s all I’ve been doing! I’m glad we didn’t meet with a more serious fate but the dog bite does suck very much. It hurt like hell, truth be told and was almost as scary as the accident.

      Beautiful weather? What’s that? What is this beautiful weather you speak of? I’m not familiar with the concept. Please elaborate.

      • It’s just terrible these things happened and then to have happened back-to-back. But you’re ok and that’s the important thing.

        I was in Southern California this weekend. 85 degrees. A summer day. It was gorgeous. But, you know, we have that drought and it’s actually really really bad.

  17. Fuck your dog. Kill it and then get rid of it, like discreet. Poison. Look it up on the Internet. People are here to help with these scenarios. God: I just can’t imagine a fucking dog biting me like that and then me being such a pussy I take photos of it and blog about it. I’m sorry, but what kind of man are you, really? I’m getting pissed off now and wondering what kind of man I am. FUCK that dog. Now you’re probably pissed off at me and it’s your dog, to blame. I’m mad at it for you, truly.

    • This is a five-star rant, brother. These views you express aren’t a new sensation to me. It’s what plays in a loop in my head over and over. And not for the first time. I’ve been bit before and have thought the same thing: I work my ass off all day and come home to dog I have to dance around for fear I’ll be bitten again. I’m trying to do the right thing by everyone and that requires keeping my ego and anger in check. It ain’t easy. Somehow, I know I’ll end up being the bad guy in the end, even though my intent is to protect my family. I can’t win.

      • Oh gosh I’m just glad you’re not from the Pacific Northwest. There would be silence and then malice for me writing this way. I miss the east coast. But I do sound like more of a jerk than I am here, I think. I just empathize with you and after all that, well…enough said. At least they live fast and may take longer to die, even. Glad you’re well Mark.

  18. Oh goodness how scary! So great that it all worked out though in terms of the series of events! When those two separate people stopped to see if you were ok, was their a brief moment with each one when you wondered if they were stopping to mug you? In the UK most breakdown packages (well I think most, all the ones I’ve had anyway!) cover the person rather than the car, so any car they are travelling in, even as a passenger, is covered.

    • I’ve had better Saturdays, that’s for sure. As far as being a potential crime victim in addition to an accident victim, the thought didn’t really cross my mind until the first guy stopped. After he pulled away, I thought to myself, I’m a sitting duck. I’ve got a wallet with some money in it, a new iPhone and nobody around for miles. Isn’t that kind of shameful? I think it is.

      ‘Breakdown package’ is a UK term. I’ve never heard it before. I mean…I’ve heard the words ‘breakdown’ and ‘package,’ but never used together. I love England. I’ll bet if I fled to Britain I’d never be bitten by a dog again.

      • It is kind of shameful that the thought is a real possibility. Not you, but society. Then again, I don’t think anyone should take something that isn’t theirs, and should lend a helping hand when they can.

        I have never been ‘across the pond’, but I bet dogs bite there too.

  19. Glad you are all ok but what a scary experience. 3 hours is awfully long to be on one’s own in the dark, cold night. Must have felt like forever! But get rid of the dog – soon as possible!

    • Three hours IS a long time! Especially when you don’t have a radio or anything to entertain yourself. The car battery died and I didn’t want to use my phone because I couldn’t afford to let that die, as well. So boring. I wish those guys would have stayed just to chat for a bit.

      Hi, Val. It’s nice to see you pop your head in every once in a while.

  20. Holy hell – sounds like something out of final destination! (Hopefully an irate grim reaper doesn’t try and finish the job!).
    Good timing with the AAA – at least you had some cover, part is better than none! Here in NZ our version is AA and they are pretty good also.
    Glad to hear your insurance company hasn’t been dragging the chain – hopefully you’ll get it sorted quickly. Insurance is compulsory in the states, right? Here it isn’t, and you wouldn’t believe the number of people who don’t get at least 3rd party. Seems stupid, really.
    I can’t offer much in the way new advice or suggestions about the dog on top of what others have already offered – fingers crossed it doesn’t go for anyone else. Remind the dog that you are the alpha of the home – not the other way around. A dog needs to know its place in the family pack.

    • Hello, NZ. Nice to see you. I was shocked at how agreeable and efficient AAA, the tow truck operator, the garage mechanic and my insurer have been. I’m always taking a defensive posture, waiting for the worst, but aside from almost being killed, everything has gone very well. Yes, we have to have insurance in order to drive. People who get caught driving without it are in for stiff penalties.

      I’ll continue to cross my fingers whilst I still have fingers to cross. I hope it doesn’t have to come to that.

  21. Blimey! Must plan a day out with you!
    Well, if that doesn’t give you faith in something AND faith in human nature then I don’t know what will.
    Glad you are all OK.
    That dog has a taste for you. It needs to go.

    • Yes, a day out with me is not boring. It could cost you your life but you won’t be bored. Maybe I *do* have to start believing in a higher spirit that watches over us. I’d like to meet it one day and ask why I was given such a violent, unpleasant dog.

  22. Cool and scarey story Mark. I’m glad everything turned out as best as could be expected. Loose loads on trucks are a serious problem and the fines are huge if they’re caught.

    The way the events of your day unfolded is enough to give someone faith – in humanity and something higher. I’m so glad that no one was hurt in your family. That moment when you decided to sign up for AAA was pretty inspirational and financially beneficial. Catching moments like that as they flash by can really make quite a difference in how things in life turn out. In my experience, there are little “hidden” moments like that scattered through life, it’s just a matter of becoming aware of them.

    The dog, the dog. Sigh. You should really see someone who understands how dogs think – I can’t help but wonder if there may be some way that her behaviour can be modified. She is obviously an important part of your girls lives, so keeping her should be the first option – but ONLY if her behaviour towards you can be modified. She needs to understand that you are the pack alpha and attacks won’t be tolerated. I have no idea how to make that happen, but I’m sure that there must be specialists out there somewhere who can help. The alternative being the removal of the dog, of course.

    Oh, a quick mention – having dealt with many accidents as a saftey director – when you recount the situation always remember – The piece that fell off the truck HIT YOU, You did not hit the piece. You had the legal and moral right to be where you were, doing what you were doing in a safe and careful manner. The piece illegally fell off the truck and was unavoidable when it hit you, endangering you, your family and all the other drivers around. In fact a very real case could be made that when the piece hit you, removing it from play, you actually potentially saved the lives of others.

    Have a great week Mark – sounds like it is starting out very well!

    • The police officer asked me if I got the license plate number of the truck but, of course, I hadn’t. I was too busy trying to save our lives. It was a city truck with a load of sand getting ready to spread on the roads for the approaching storm. I’d have gone after them legally. The city has a lot of money set aside for this sort of thing.

      The day was full of highs and lows. I’m not a spiritual guy in the least and I’ve developed a somewhat antagonistic view of organized religions, but the fact that I’m alive to type this and my kids are home, safe in bed, really gives me reason to pause and reconsider my cold stance.

      We have an appointment next Monday to see a dog shrink. It’s a ton of money that, frankly, I don’t have, but something has to be done. But this is the last straw. If that dog doesn’t change its mood after this, I’m going to have to get rid of it and my kids will just have to suck it up and deal.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, Paul. Your words are always appreciated. You always leave something to ponder later on.

  23. It sounds like a one-in-a-million accident, and you can pat yourself on the back for doing your part to make it a zero casualty event. May your car rest in peace after taking one for the team. I think the time is approaching for you to give your girls a doggy-or-daddy ultimatum.

    • It was like watching a terrible movie. I was the only one who saw it coming—my wife was napping and the kids were in the back seat. I thought of trying to swerve to avoid it but by the time I processed that thought, it was already too late. My beautiful Subaru. It only had 64,000 miles on it. Plenty of life left in her. But not now.

      I’ve been playing with the ‘either-that-dog-goes-or-I-go’ speech. I have it in my back pocket.

  24. Loved the bit of the two people (from groups stereotrypically assumed to be muggers / druggies etc) coming over to ask after you.

    Not for the first time in my life, I am so glad I don’t drive, but I suppose it’s more a necessity in much of the US.

    • Honestly, I never thought I was in any danger. Who would rob someone who was broke-down on the side of the road in the middle of a snowstorm?! Even the denizens of Newark, NJ aren’t that cold hearted. And, you are correct that driving is an absolute necessity. There’s no escaping it, unless you live in NYC. I didn’t own a car for 20 years while there and never missed it.

  25. Well, I’m glad everyone’s ok. I’m not so happy with your dog – is it seriously just you he (?) bites? Weird.

    Anyway – just think of the stories your daughters will be able to tell when they’re older. My family still dines out on the steel girders through the back of the window story (again, no one hurt)

    • The dog hates me but I think I might have insitaged it by hating her first. It’s like a horrible contest.

      What do you mean when they’re older? My 13-year old has already related it in gory detail to all her friends. YOUR accident sound even more violent than mine!

  26. Wow. Out in Newark? That’s crazy! I’m glad you’re safe.

    What kind of dog do you have, if you don’t mind me asking. Some breeds can be like that. Or maybe she was sore? My dog can do that to me. Although not as bad. Like I’ll be petting her and if I pet in a certain spot where she was scratching and it’s still tender, she’ll snap at me. Or the dog could be getting aggressive. My mom had that problem with her old dog and had to get rid of her because she tried to attack one of my younger siblings.

    • Hi, there! First time? Welcome.

      Yes, out in Newark. And not the pretty part. Oh…wait…there is no pretty part of Newark.

      It’s a cockapoo–a cocker spaniel/ poodle mix. I was told that poodles are a nasty breed and thought that getting a mixed breed would help but, obviously, I was mistaken. She hasn’t bitten my daughters yet. In that regard, it’s a big love fest. They love her and she loves them. But it’s only a matter of time, isn’t it?

      • Yup, first time.

        Oh god. I feel your pain. I live in Trenton so I understand. That’s completely horrifying.

        I’m familiar with the breed. Cockapoo’s are tempermental. I would say just watch them around the dog. Or it could be just you? Some dogs tend to like females more than males. My ex’s cockapoo loved having females over but he would get real aggressive with my ex and his brothers.

      • I really thought I did my homework when selecting this dog. We would have been better off getting a rescue. I’m an idiot. What happened to your ex’s dog? Did they eventually get rid of it or put up with the aggressiveness?

  27. Damn. Glad all of you are okay. I’ve been in several broken-down-on-the-side-of-the-road-for-hours scenarios but never with a looming winter storm or CHILDREN. That’s a whole other level. Quite the V-day. I spent mine getting ill–for the 2nd year in a row! Alex is a lucky guy, this appears to be one of our most enduring traditions.

    That is super weird about the dog. He/She probably senses your desire to kill.

    • Hi, there! I was glad the cops hustled my kids and wife away toot-sweet. The wait was awful but knowing they were safe helped tremendously.

      Next year, maybe Alex can preempt your V-Day tradition by making reservations at the local clinic. Just a thought.

      • Re: your statement on cellphones– do you listen to the podcast Invisibilia? Their most recent episode was about the ways that computers affect us as humans. I think you would like the ultimate conclusion the hosts come to.

    • We missed a show called Cambuyón. A percussion/ dance/ vocal group from Spain that doesn’t use instruments. They bang on crates and use everyday objects. It’s supposed to be a lot of fun but I wouldn’t know. I had to eat the tickets.

  28. Glad you and the girls are okay. That could have ended much more horrendously.

    As for the dog, I’d say it’s time to get rid of it. Some dogs, no matter how well they’re raised, are still aggressive.

  29. I stopped reading after the headline, you need to work on building up some suspense in these bits man, nudge nudge wink wink… now perusing the comments was fun, first off you do know that dog spelled backwards is god so don’t get all mushy on me now, life is a fucking crap shoot man, you play craps you know how it works, problem is then we get all stupid and have kids and worry our god damn heads off about them, before kids we didn’t give a shit, i once posted about all the times i should have been dead but somehow survived now i eat broccoli and work out and curbed my drinking and gave up speed all so i can see the boyos grow up, how fucking lame is that?

    Now about that dog… fuck him, your girls will get over it, someday he might bite someone else and then you won’t need Liberty Mutual you’ll need a Saul Goodman, that pooch is a bit of a loose cannon and sooner or later he’s gonna bite someone else and it quite possibly could be one of your daughters, kids are resilient, they bounce back fast, though they will be teenagers someday and i’m sure the whole “dad killed/gave the dog away” thing will come up, still the first time that puppy bit me would’ve been his last time…

    • You are friggin’ hilarious. That second paragraph is a keeper. It’s complicated. Just wait until you have to do something that really hurts the boyos. I mean, deeply wrecks them but it’s for their own good. It’s tough business.

      Re: dog/God. See Easy Rider. Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda see a dead dog in the street in New Orleans. I think that’s supposed to be God or some such shit.

  30. When you survive something like that you just realise life is for living… Years ago when my son was little we went out to a wildlife park. On the motorway the back tyre was making a noise it was getting worse. I just said we’d pull off at the next exit when BANG it blew at 70 mph. I kept it straight somehow nothing was close when it happened and i fitted the spare on the emergency lane. Lucky!!

  31. Damn, that’s quite a tale you told. Glad to hear everyone is alright, that’s the most important thing. Scary scenario. When I had a car I was always breaking down somewhere and have way too many stories to tell. Not having a car for close to 20 years now, I can say that I do not miss all the drama. Take good care of yourself and steer clear of the puppy.

  32. Wow! Though I am always surprised at humanity at the oddest hours. Glad you and the family are safe.

    I had a flying piece of metal come through the hood of my car on the turnpike…I was gasping when I started reading your post. It’s such an awful feeling. The $ suck (and so does that damn dog).

    • The cops were nice, the civilians were nice, the insurance company has been nice, the tow truck driver was nice and the mechanic has been great. We were all rattled but safe. What more could I ask for?

      Sorry for the flashback. Not every trip down memory lane is meant to be savored.

  33. What a horrible experience you all had to endure. I believe that God always looks after his Angels. It’s great to hear that everyone were in God’s Blessings.
    Good things happens to good people. Angels are all around us. They show up in many disguises, don’t they?
    As for the dog. I think it’s hilarious that at the end of the night, after all that you’ve been through. With no injury at all! It was the dang dog that made you bleed. In your own home too?
    It goes to show, you are amongst enemy in your own home sweet home.

    • Isn’t this your first comment? Am I mistaken? Welcome and thanks for stopping by! I love new readers. Who doesn’t?!

      It all ended well otherwise I wouldn’t be blogging about it. Well…not the dog part, but the serious part. The auto mishap part. The part of this post that works is the juxtaposition between surviving a freeway accident, only to get home safely and be bitten by a mangy mutt. I can’t tell you how dreary it makes me to work my ass off all day only to have to go home and tiptoe around the dog because it doesn’t like me. It’s NOT FAIR. I feel like I’m being punished for something but I can’t connect the crime.

    • It’s all an exciting facets of our family history now but I’ll never forget the feeling when I was in the middle of it. It was truly terrifying. My biggest fear was an explosion. How would I get everyone out? You see these stories like this on the news and they’re just blips. But you forget that they involve real people whose lives have been changed forever.

  34. Your Valentine’s day is a better story. Mind is quite boring. The weather was 80 and sunny. We spent the morning at the beach. I barbecued steaks for dinner. In between was play time with the toddler, with lots of running and giggling… See? Boring.

  35. Holy crap! All of it! I was taking my son back to college earlier this school year and I happened to see a car behind me, I guess attempting to change lanes, but got clipped by the car it was trying to get in front of. Suddenly in my head I saw both cars trying to get into the back seat of my car where my daughter was sleeping! Needless to say I hit the gas a little bit harder but continued to watch the mess behind me. That car went across 4 lanes of traffic and bounced back across again! I didn’t get off the expressway, but I really kinda wanted to!

    Sometimes it is good that things like this happen though, for you were able to see the miracles! There is still good out there, and I really do think what you put out comes back. Just happy you put so much “good” out there!

    Now, for the dog? Are you the only one she acts like this with? Maybe she knows you feel that way toward her? They can sense that stuff. I had a doberman. He bit my girl when she was a baby. Put about 70 stitches in her face. He is buried in my back yard.

    • That story freaked me out. You hear about traffic mishaps on the morning and afternoon traffic reports but to see one actually unfold before your eyes is something you’d never want to luck into. You’re right about it providing a heaping helping of perspective. I dare say I’d have been (would be) more upset about the dog if we hadn’t just escaped a life-threatening circumstance just a few hours earlier.

      Yes, the dog just gives me the business. Generally. She’s got this thing when, at night, if she’s sleeping on the sofa in the living room and you walk upstairs from the family room and she’s startled, she’ll growl and snap. That’s kind of fucked up too, isn’t it? And, yes, I’m certain she knows how I feel.

      • It was really scary. We had just gone under a bridge, I saw it happening, my son heard it. He thought something fell off the road we just went under and hit our car. My daughter opened her eyes and wanted to know what was wrong with us (me and the boy) All I could think was how grateful I was that we were fractions of a second ahead of it. Then I really wanted a cigarette and for everything to stop for a minute or two. It was surprising to me that so few cars were actually involved. It was fairly crowded and crossing all those lanes-twice! We saw the aftermath on our way back home. Man. So very grateful we weren’t involved. Of course, now every time I have to go down there I am ultra vigilant, and worry like a crazed psycho when my kids drive down without me.

        I don’t think that her reaction is that unusual, I mean if she is startled. My little dog doesn’t like to see affection around home. If we are hugging or kissing someone has their hand around his muzzle. Not that it’s all hugs and kisses at my house all the time, but when someone leaves, or goes to bed… My cats tolerate him. My son can get him so riled up you would think he was rabid! I did tell my son that if he continued and the dog bit him, that would be the end of him (the dog, not my son) so he relaxed about it, at least around me. It really throws me, why she acts like that with you. The only thing I can think of is she senses you don’t like her, and she feels the need to defend herself. You will get it figured out, hopefully with a minimum of distress for all involved.

  36. Any dog that bites is a lawsuit waiting to happen. Sorry, kids, but he has to go to the Farm. And, rather than a rescue, see if you can adopt from your vet (mine would sometimes have dogs that needed re-homing for some good reason or other).
    Dad broke down mid-1940’s, late night, bad neighborhood in Brooklyn…Big Black Dude stopped his car, came over with a Big Tire Jack…changed the tire with little help from dad…refused any thought of payment…’just pass it along, man’
    Good anytime thought: Life is hard and life is good.

    • You can’t imagine how complicated it is. How much wailing and gnashing of the teeth and agony enters the room when we dance around the idea of getting rid of the dog. If it were biting everyone in sight, it’d be easier but she love the daughters and the daughters love her. The rough her up pretty good and she doesn’t seem to give a damn.

      Or: Life is good and hard. No…wait…that’s not the same sentiment, is it?

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