It’s been one year. Huntington Beach is bitter and windblown from a big storm, and the sky flashes occasionally, like it remembers. Tonight, my seatbelt was warm and secure, wrapped around me like my oldest blanket. My eyes darted for cops and drunkards like tongue-stretching iguanas at buzzing flies. I stayed close and cautious, bracing myself for anything to happen, wondering about chance. I’m safe now in bed; the chance of another car crash is out.

Ever since that night, one year ago, I’ve worried terribly about jinxing myself, about talking of things that haven’t yet happened and increasing the probability that they will shortly after. I’m unaware of how people know this, but they say, “You can’t affect the outcome by saying something.” These people probably don’t believe in luck, and certainly laugh at fate, but what if they are wrong. Let me tell you what happened to me:

I had driven to Los Angeles to see my best friend and several others who were home on spring break and everything was great. At one point, I was having a conversation with someone about being invincible and I boasted that I’d never gotten a ticket, never dealt directly with the cops, and never gotten in an accident, and naive as I was, I knocked on my own car window and kept driving. A few hours later, 2:30 am, I was airborne, upside-down, in my flipping truck…

I’d like to believe that my saying something had nothing at all to do with it, but my guard is always up, and I’m chained by words. (Ironic that I am a writer?) Do I believe it was fate that I left without peeing even though I was doing the pee-pee dance in the parking lot? That I was wearing my seat belt? That that black car was upside down in my lane? That I saw it in time? I think yes. I think I was extremely lucky, and that an event of this nature was bound to happen to me, because there are just somethings you must see to believe.

Do you remember, in Big Fish, when Edward is with the witch and says:

I was thinking about death and all, about seeing how you’re gonna die. I mean, on one hand, if dying was all you thought about… it could kinda screw you up. But it could kind of help you, couldn’t it? Because, everything else, you’d know you could survive… I guess I’m saying I’d like to know.

When you put it like that, Edward, it’s very hopeful and quite exciting. But, to my knowledge, I don’t have access to a witch with an all-seeing eye. Or do I? I should probably finish the movie and see the metaphor through. Then I can finish this thought.

But for now, the moral of my story is: wear your seat belt (even to the liquor store on the corner)… and don’t fall victim to Invincibili-citis. No matter how super-human you call yourself, you are vulnerable to the forces just like the rest of us. Be wise and careful; your words show what you take for granted. This world is too corrupt to walk around very naked. Does that make sense?

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