I’m sitting at my Mac this morning, facing a window that looks out onto the street in front of my house, working on a web site.
I hear the throaty growl of an accelerating engine, and look up just in time to see the smear of a black car flying past. Simultaneously, I hear an enormous BOOM, and see pieces of my car showering all around.
The short story: guy passed out, hit the accelerator, and smashed into my car.
Cadillac STS 1, Toyota Corolla 0. Both cars non drivable. My car: probably totaled, since the rear quarter panel is crunched, the rim is destroyed, it and the tire are pushed up into the wheel well (bent axle), pieces of the bumper are in the road, and what’s left of the brake lights are somewhere up the street.
So I run outside (I’m working at home, barefoot…brrrrr), glancing at the mangled remains of my car. I ask a neighbor raking leaves across the street “Did you see that?”
“No, but it made a whale of a racket. I think that may be the guy who hit it,” he says, motioning up the street. There, three houses away, is a black Cadillac, angled into the front yard of an innocent neighbor.
I sprint (more like hop, skip, and a jump due to the frost-covered cement) up to the car. The driver’s an older guy, scared, but unhurt. I ask if he needs medical help, then chat with him a bit after he declines emergency service. Now thoroughly chilled, I excuse myself, then tippy-toe my way back home for shoes, a coat, a pen, paper and cell phone.
Armed with the requisite technology to get paid half what my car is worth and far less than what I’ve paid so far to the insurance racket, I return to his car and ask for his insurance paperwork.
He hands me his insurance card. The name printed thereon: J. Philip Sousa III.
Yes, my car was totaled by a man named after a 19th century marching band composer; My ride obliterated by a fellow named after the father of the instrument I played in marching band.
Assuming the obvious, I ask the guy if he’s related to the composer.
“No,” he says. He just happens to be the third in a line of guys named John Philip Sousa.
The cops have arrived. Well, driven past, actually. Seems that parking on one’s lawn doesn’t warrant the sufficient awareness of peace officers in this here neck of the woods. I turn to wave them back to the conductor of this mayhem, and glancing back at his Cadillac, I’m struck by his license plate. Seems our JP Sousa, like his namesake, is a marine. You know, that group of combatants who’s rousing anthem is “Semper Fidelis,” written by none other than John Philip Sousa.