Do Not Thank God.
Wednesday, my wife and I were in a wreck. Sledded
down a snowy S-curve into the back wheels of an oncoming garbage truck. The drivers
side was nearly crushed. My wife was fine; I had to be cut out of the vehicle.
Damage to self and wife? Bruises and one 16-stitch cut to the elbow. I've already
almost gotten rid of the limp from the bruised hip socket.
My mom has been Catholic all her life, and while I was raised to be catholic,
I kinda saw through it when I was still a teenager. She, of course, thanked God.
You know who I thank?
I thank the engineers that designed my now-tinfoil car to absorb so much of the
impact by deforming in passenger-safe ways.
I thank the delivery guy that stopped on the road and provided his belt as a
tourniquet to help staunch my bleeding arm, and who called the police and knew
where we were (middle of nowhere in Little Valley, NY).
I thank the small town Sheriff who, I discovered, makes it a habit to beat the
EMTs to every scene, and was thus able to provide me with fast first aid before
I lost a significant amount of blood.
I thank my wife who, in the confusion, had the presence of mind to grab the essentials
we would shortly need, once she was sure we'd both live: my laptop and our overnight
bag. I thank her for having insisted on car insurance that meant we will not
pay for anything. I thank her for, years ago, helping me transition from an underpaid
geek with questionable hygiene to a fairly respectable, well-paid programmer
(because having money makes surviving disaster - like many other things - quite
a bit easier). I thank her for riding with me in the ambulance, and for staying
with me as long as she could, and for getting mad at me for standing too soon,
and for everything any time, ever.
I thank the fireman who cut me out of the car. I thank the EMTs who kept me aware
and monitored and strapped down during the half-hour ride to the hospital, and
who lifted my fair mass from one uncomfortable position to another to a hospital
I thank the RN who gave me an IV, kept me covered in warm blankets to stop my
shivering, and to whom I told how my wife and I met. I thank the RN and doctor
that took care of my wife, making sure that the first ultrasound of our baby
was taken immediately to me. I thank the pretty radiologists that scanned my
body for fractures, and talked about radiation physics with me.
I thank the physician that stitched my arm up with a well-practiced hand, and
who chatted with me about a love for science and tech, and how his has evolved
since he was a med student at the dawn of computing.
I thank the nurses assistant who, realizing we now didn't have a car, bought
our prescriptions for us from the hospital pharmacy.
I thank the hotel worker that, after our hospital stay, gave us a ride from our
impromptu hotel visit to the local pharmacy to pick up bandages and other medical
I thank a society that, for all its quirks, supports the infrastructure needed
to make any of the aspects of our recovery possible. I thank an academic history
that makes crash engineering, jaws of life, painkillers, IVs, X-rays, CAT scans,
tetanus shots, antibiotics, radio, cell phones, and every other piece of technology
that helped turn what could have been a complete tragedy into a painful inconvenience.
We did this. Us. Humans. People seeing problems and fixing them, rather than
praying for salvation from their own diseased imagination. Where this event somehow
made my mom more love God, I loved humanity so much more Wednesday night than
I did Wednesday morning.
The world is fucking awesome without an imaginary friend.