Mark of the Beast

by Patti Wigington

Editor's note: I love this column so much I had to run it twice. It's nice to be queen. Enjoy!

When I was seventeen, I had the coolest car on the planet. It was a 1967 Chevrolet Impala Super Sport convertible. Nineteen feet long, and in a color that can only be described as Arrest-Me Red, it sported a 327 under the hood, and a gas tank the size of my parents’ bathtub.

Whenever I went out with friends, I drove. It was partly because the Impala looked cool, but mostly because you could comfortably (although illegally) squash eight people into it and still have room for purses, Bon Jovi tapes, and cans of White Rain hairspray.

This was 1985, and I spent all of my hard earned (i.e., burger-flipping) money on that car. It ran like a champ, despite the layers of Bondo holding the rear end together. The biggest problem with the car – affectionately known as The Beast – was one of the things that made it so glorious. It was heavy. I’m talking armored-car heavy. I’m talking about “my grandfather could have used it to liberate a small German village” kind of heavy. And so, because of this massive weight, occasionally Bad Things Happened.

For example, a Bad Thing happened when I missed a curve and plunged The Beast about fifty feet into a muddy cornfield at midnight. I drove home dragging muddy cornstalks behind me, like giant golden tentacles. There was a Bad Thing when I swerved to miss a squirrel and ended up hitting a mailbox, which shot, cannonball-style, into the yard across the street. And then, the most Bad of Bad Things, there was the Boob Incident.

I was in my parents’ driveway, top down -- the car’s, not mine. I stood at the front quarter panel, where the open driver’s door joined the body of the car. I leaned forward, probably to pick something off the windshield, and made some comment about cracked Bondo.

Then it happened.

The door. Swung. Shut.

And when it did, it managed, somehow, to pin the underside of my right breast between the triangular driver’s side window at the front of the door, and the heavy outer edge of the windshield. I was pinned. Held in place.


I remember, after the initial shock of OHMYGAWDITSGOTMYBOOB, trying to reach over and open the door. But remember, this was a car that was nineteen feet long. I couldn’t reach the door handle.

Twenty-odd years later, I can’t recall who was there when it happened. Possibly my best friend, or maybe my boyfriend. What I do know is that I did the only thing I could think of, once I realized I was stuck in the car door.

I pulled away.

And let me tell you, it hurt. It hurt a lot. It left a mark four inches long and two inches wide, angry purple and throbbing, right there on my boob. It took weeks for that bruise to fade, but worse, it took a long time to get over the humiliation of admitting, “Um, yeah, I shut my boob in a car door.”

There was no long-term damage to anything other than my pride, but to this day, when I see the rare animal that is a 1967 Chevy Impala Super Sport Convertible, I cringe a bit, and whisper, “You’re not gonna get me this time, Beast.”

Patti Wigington began writing at the age of seven, when she ran out of books to read in her small-town library. Since then, she's grown up (a little) and published a couple of books, a whole bunch of columns, and a few short stories she's embarrassed to even have on her resume. In addition to writing, Patti spends her free time putzing around in her garden, coming up with new and exciting ways to re-use stuff she didn't think she wanted anymore, dying her hair odd colors, and full-contact recipe experimentation. She is married to the most patient man in the world, and is raising three children who are remarkably well-adjusted, despite their mother's best efforts to turn them into very strange people. Patti lives in central Ohio, and keeps people updated about her shenanigans at http://www.pattiwigington.com.

1 comment:

  1. This is just as horrifying -- yet funny -- as the first time I read it. ;)


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