Every week, I send out one true, hilarious story about my week with four kids and two pigs (and possibly one wife, depending on whether or not she’s too ashamed to admit she’s married to me). This is 2,000 to 3,000 words of content you can’t get anywhere else, and it shows up in your inbox every Sunday night/early Monday morning for free. Make the start of your work week suck a little less. Sign up today.

 



 

If you’re not sure you should trust me with your email address, here’s a true story I sent out last summer. This sort of thing happens all the time at my house. Seriously, my life is never more than 30 seconds from completely falling apart. Enjoy.

 

Email from 8-18-18

It all started with a knock in the dark. It was 10:30 Friday night, and someone was at my front door. I wasn’t expecting anybody. In fact, I barely know anybody in this town, just one of the many perks of a lifetime of social awkwardness. Now someone I had never met urgently wanted my attention. Naturally, I assumed I was about to be murdered.

The kids were all in bed, and my wife and I, like most happily married couples, were playing Halo on separate Xboxes, her in the dining room and me in the living room. The best quality time is spent in different rooms but in line-of-sight of each other so as not to disrupt the flow of trash talk. We were on our headsets chatting with my friends from high school and college, who are scattered around the world but team up with us once a week so we can all lose to 13 year olds together. Literally everyone I’m friends with was in that group chat, so when there was a knock on the door, I was sure it wasn’t someone I wanted to meet. But by that point I’d had a few drinks so I went to the door anyway. Few good stories start with responsibly waiting for an intruder to go away on their own.

I flipped on the porch light and looked through the leaded glass to see a girl in her late teens. She didn’t look like a murderer, which is something people usually think right before they get murdered. I opened the door.

This was our conversation.

“There’s a guy bleeding. Should we call 911?”

“What?”

“My phone is dead. He flew off his bike.”

“Then call 911.”

“My phone is dead.”

“Oh. Right.”

So I ventured outside barefoot and in my pajamas to decide the proper course of medical care for someone I’d never seen before. There’s an alley that runs on the side of our house. We didn’t think much about it when we moved in here, but it turns out it’s one of the most heavily traffic pedestrian walkways in town. It connects a bunch of low-income apartments and rental houses to some bars in the downtown area. There are people walking up and down it all times of day and night, which is why I was so adamant that we get a guard pig. So far, no one’s broken in, so she’s doing her job.

The teenage girl on my porch was with a teenage guy, who was down by the curb. She said they were driving down our street when they saw a guy on a bike come shooting down the alley on an intercept course. The teenager driving the car slammed on his brakes. So do the guy on the bike. The car stopped safely with room to spare. But the bike rider went rocketing over his handlebars.

You have to understand something about adults who ride bikes in this part of Indiana. There are only two types. There are the ones in tight shorts who ride $2,000 racing bikes and go on 20 mile rides to stay in shape between crossfit classes. And there are the ones who lost their licenses for having too many DUIs and now ride to the bar on mountain bikes they bought at Walmart. Where I live, there is no in between. I looked through the darkness and saw bike guy sitting next to his ten-speed. Not groaning in pain. Not standing up and brushing himself off. Just sitting. He was clearly the second kind of bike rider.

I called 911.

Before you judge me for judging him, understand that I have nothing against drinking. I already admitted I was drinking, too. But there’s a difference between having a few beers in your own home after all your adult responsibilities are done for the day and being out in public while too drunk to safely operate a bicycle.

I was content to give the guy some space until the emergency responders arrived, but then my wife walked out the front door with a roll of paper towels and instantly transformed into Florence Nightingale. Soon, Lola was dabbing up a considerable amount of blood from the guy’s face as me and the two teenagers crowded around. Both of my snap judgments immediately proved to be correct. Bicycle man admitted he had “quite a few drinks” before the crash, and he was hurt badly enough to need medical attention. He had a y-shaped gash above his eye that looked like it would need stitches in the double digits, and he had another cut on his cheek that might require half as many. Not that the injured man agreed with my assessment. He was annoyed that we were making a big deal out of this and said he was fine to walk back to his house a few blocks away. I might have believed him if he exhibited either the desire or the ability to stand up. But instead, he just sat there as his blood soaked into paper towel after paper towel. His night was going well.

Within a few minutes, the first police officer showed up. The cop was very polite; the drunk guy, not so much. He still didn’t stand up. Then a fire truck came down our narrow street with its lights flashing and siren blaring. The drunk guy who just wanted to walk home was thrilled about that. So were our neighbors. By now, people were poking their heads out at all the flashing lights in front of our house. They wondered which of our kids finally tried to burn the place down, but my children were blameless. This time.

The firetruck was followed by an ambulance and another police car. All told, there were at least six EMTs and two police officers for a single-vehicle bike crash. Apparently it was a slow night for our first responders. Bike guy continued to insist he was fine but remained unable or unwilling to stand up even as every emergency vehicle in the city showed up.

With bike guy safely in the hands of the professionals, I began making the rounds to the neighbors to assure them my family was only tangentially related to the current disaster. I had to personally repeat this story to each neighbor since none of them are on this email list. In fact, none of them even know that I write or have a presence of Twitter. I have people on the internet tell me all the time that they wish they were my neighbors, but my actual neighbors mostly just wish I would move out.

Finally, the EMTs loaded drunk bicycle guy into the ambulance and all the emergency vehicles dispersed. Then my phone started blowing up. Apparently the last things I said into my headset before abandoning my Xbox game were “There’s someone at the door” and “There’s a guy bleeding. There’s lots of blood.” Then I just disappeared. It was one of my better exits. I should have just left them all in suspense till next week. None of them are on this email list, either. The more you know me in real life, the less you want to hear from me ever again.

Last of all, Lola and I went back inside to reassure the kids. We figured they’d be wide awake and freaked out by the commotion and flashing lights, but all four of them slept through the whole thing. It’s good to know they can handle themselves in an emergency situation. Sleep tight, kids. You’ll always be safe as long as I keep my phone charged.

Thankfully, that’s all I’ve got for this week. I hope to have a much less eventful update next week. Catch you then.

James