Jerry's View: Proving immortality at dump
(Editor’s Note: Jerry Robinson wrote this column in January 1979. He remains immortal.)
I think I’ve finally done it. Achieved immortality.
I approached it last month when, after two years of restoration work, I took my little Austin-Healey for a test run and was so delighted that everything worked…Till I came to a stop sign and went right through.
I escaped unscathed because there were no cars coming the other way. Some of you will marvel at that—and will call it luck.
Not luck, my friend.
I recall the time I was steelheading on the Green when I stumbled over a slippery rock and went floating down for a quarter of a mile.
All I got was wet. Luck?
Well, Sunday I gave it the ultimate test.
For 10 years there has been a big stand of thornbush in our front yard. Like any good suburbanite I spent Sunday morning rooting out those abysmal trees and after loading them in the pickup headed for the South Park dump. As I headed out the driveway I spotted old Earl walking his dog. You know old Earl. He’s not really that old. We just call him that because he always makes like Socrates and drops philosophy on you.
I leaned out the cab of the truck and shouted, “Boy, those people who live4 in condominiums have the right idea. No yard work.”
“Well, I don’t know about that,” he yelled back. “You know a thorn in the bush is worth two in the hand.”
Or something like that. I couldn’t really hear him as that old truck makes a lot of noise.
The trip to the dump was scenic but uneventful. I took the usual route, past Lenny’s Fuel, down Boeing Hill and first thing you know, I was there.
For a Sunday it was not very crowded and after stopping on the scales for my ticket, proceeded to the big pit. One opening was not in use and the attendant waved me right in.
There were about 10 other vehicles disposing detritus alongside the edge of the pit as I backed in but I learned you don’t stare at what the other guy is throwing away. Among garbage haulers that is considered gauche. You just go about your business.
So, dropping my tailgate, I climbed up and started dragging limbs out and throwing them into the pit. That pit, you know, is about 20 feet deep. And it’s full of some wonderful things. Like stumps, angle iron, scrap lumber, old stoves, etc.
That’s when it happened.
In the process of pulling on a stubborn limb, the dumb thing broke and I went clean off the end of the truck, head over heels into the pit.
Now, that’s a sensation.
Did my life flash before me? Nope. Did I impale myself on a jagged two by four? Nope. Did my head land in an empty paint bucket? Nope. Not a chance.
In that entire 150 foot long pit there was one pile of leaves. Dropped there by some thoughtful guy who had been in my stall just ahead of me. I hit it dead center. It was like landing on feathers.
The only thing injured was my dignity. Not even a scratch from the thornbush.
From up above came a voice, “Are you okay down there?”
Scrambling to my feet I looked up and waved and from the assembled throng of garbage dumpers there came a loud cheer. Just like on a football field when the injured star regains his feet and heads for the sidelines.
There is a stairway for guys like me and stepping gingerly over the rubble I started making my way out.
One last voice came out of the stillness. “Hey, as long as you are down there, would you mind bringing that old bicycle to me?”
Is that any respect for an immortal?