Acid Heroes

January 23, 2015

Accidents can happen

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 10:07 pm
Tags: , , ,


Accidents.  Of course there’s something a little un-nerving about the concept of accidents.  I guess it’s the random factor.  That they can happen at any time to anyone.  No matter how alert and defensive we are.  And accidents have their own cock-eyed logic.

I remember this one odd accident.  I was walking across this crosswalk in Berkeley on Bancroft Avenue with a bunch of other people.  About 40, 50 yards up the street this guy on a  motorcycle had just taken a sharp left-hand turn on Telegraph Avenue and was barreling down Bancroft when he completely wiped out.  The turn was a little too sharp, I guess.  He went flying off of his motorcycle.  And his motorcycle went skidding down Bancroft on it’s side at a rather fast speed.  He was probably doing 30, 40 miles an hour at the time.  And Bancroft is a hilly street, it’s an incline.  So that motorcycle was skidding towards us at a pretty fast speed.  Sparks and smoke were flying off the bike.   Most of us got out of the way.  Except for this one Asian woman college student in the middle of the crosswalk.  She froze with her hands up.  Like a deer in the headlights.  I guess everything happened so fast her brain couldn’t quite grasp what was going on.  Anyways, that motorcycle hit her full speed on her legs.  Clipped her.   She went flying in the air like a bowling pin.  That’s exactly what it looked like. Like the motorcycle was a bowling ball barreling down the lane and she was a bowling pin in the middle of the lane that got a direct hit.  I don’t know what happened to her.   The ambulance came and took her away.  She probably had two broken legs at the least.  One second she’s standing there.  The next second, everything has changed.  Accidents.

*                                              *                                                         *

I remember another surreal accident.  One night I was hitch-hiking from Berkeley to San Francisco and this guy in this beat-up old jalopy picked me up.

“Do you have any money for gas?”  he asked.

“No,” I said.  “If I had any dough I wouldn’t be hitching.”

“Oh well,” he said.  “I think I have enough gas to get us across the Bay Bridge.”

So we’re driving across the Bay Bridge.  And as we get about half-way across, right as we hit this hilly part of the bridge, his car dies.


He revs the excellerator several times.  But nothing.  We’re stuck there in the middle of the bridge.  Even worse, there’s no shoulder to pull over to on the bridge.  The car is sitting right there in the right-hand lane in the middle of traffic.  So the other cars are all buzzing by us.  The best he can do is put his red brake-lights on to alert the other cars.

“Let’s get out of the car,” he said.    “They got these buzzers on the side of the bridge that you can use to call for a tow truck.”

“OK,” I said.

So now we’re out there  walking around on top of the Bay Bridge amidst all the traffic.  Which is a surreal feeling.  All the times I’ve passed by this spot from the safe cocoon of a car.  And now  I’m suddenly outside in the middle of it.  So we walked over to the buzzer, buzzed it.  Then we’re walking back to his car.    We’re about 10 feet from his car (so we had a perfect view of the whole thing) when this other car — this little white Toyota — comes barreling at his car and hits it in the back at full speed.  KA-BLAMMO!!!   It was like a rocket making a direct hit.  The guy never even hit the brakes.  Never saw it coming.  Hit the back of the car at full speed.  He was just driving across the bridge minding his own business.  And the last thing he expected was that the car in front of him was not moving.  I mean, he had about a split-second to react. And he didn’t.

We rushed over to the car. There was this Asian guy in the driver’s seat.  His eyes were sort of sprocketing around in his head like he was half knocked-out.  Probably from smacking his head against the dashboard.  But at least there wasn’t much blood or anything.   We stood there by his car, waiting for the tow truck to show up.  Accidents.

*                                        *                                               *

I remember this other accident where I almost got this young woman killed.  There was a bunch of us waiting at this cross-walk at the Bancroft and Telegraph intersection.  The light was just about to turn green. So I started to take a step off the sidewalk into the street.  But just before I did I noticed in the corner of my eye this huge AC Transit bus barreling down Bancroft right at me.  The bus-driver was in some crazy hurry for some reason, so he was rushing through the yellow light just before it turned red.  Even worse, the bus was pulling right up to the curb to make it’s stop so it was headed directly at me.  I pulled myself back to the curb in just the nick of time.  But even worser (if that’s a word), this young woman who had been standing next to me, had seen me stepping into the street.  So she started to step into the street.  You know how it is when you’re at a crosswalk.  A lot of times you’re not paying attention to the redlight.  You just wait until everyone else starts to go and then you go along with them (there’s probably a message here about “Don’t follow leaders.” Or maybe at least, “Follow Ace Backwords at your own peril.”).  I shouted over at the woman:  “STOP!!!!”  She froze in an instant.  And the bus went flying right by us.  Inches from our faces.  WOOOSHHH!!   You could feel that breeze.  We stood there looking at each other.  Kind of stunned.  Then we turned and crossed the street and went our separate ways.

What’s weird is: It took me an entire long paragraph to describe something that basically took place in a split-second.  And both of our lives could have instantly been changed one way or another in that split-second.  Sometimes, our destinies are measured out in fractions of inches.   Accidents.



  1. I broke down on the Bay Bridge just west of Treasure
    Island one night and a CHP with pushbars on the front of his car pushed me the rest of the way to San Francisco!

    Comment by Darrell Legg — January 24, 2015 @ 4:01 am | Reply

  2. I have read a lot about accidents in a lot of books. Your analysis in the beginning of your piece about the randomness of it and so on is unique. I think your brain is really good in certain ways
    You can donate your brain when you die to Harvard brain center. They need them to study and yours is extremely unusual I think.

    Comment by Richard List — January 25, 2015 @ 6:40 am | Reply

    • In truth I believe there are no accidents. That everything in this life is intricately ordered. Even the disorder.

      Comment by Ace Backwords — January 25, 2015 @ 9:35 pm | Reply

      • A while back I read a book that had taken the idea that there are no coincidences, everything is played just exactly as it is supposed to be . When I was 30 or even 40 , I never would have believed that notion, now I have learned to really look at situations in a totally different light . Who am I to really believe one way or the other is correct . So , I agree with you, it just took me a while to get there!

        Comment by Rich — January 26, 2015 @ 11:12 pm

  3. This is sort of my big philosophical leap of faith. . . The physical world is so intricately-ordered. The earth revolving around the sun in this exact pattern. And the molecular level is so intricately-ordered. All the molecules and atoms and protons and nuetrons. It’s probably likely that the spiritual and moral levels are also equally ordered and structured. As opposed to random “accidents.” Even as they often sure as hell DON’T seem ordered.

    Comment by Ace Backwords — January 26, 2015 @ 11:38 pm | Reply

    • I noticed your last comment was placed at 11:38 .That was the name of the movie by Lucas. His first movie. THX 1138 …coincidence ?… Perhaps
      All kidding aside … I am the one controlling everything. Every electron. Every accident.

      Comment by Richard List — January 29, 2015 @ 9:19 am | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: