This motorcycle wreck on Hwy 51 near Lutesville in July 1967 didn’t make the paper. It might have been because the wreck was at the edge of our circulation area or it might have been that the wreck wasn’t all that serious.
The main reason, though, is that I didn’t have the rights lens or the right skills yet to make a good piece of “sign” art.
Elements needed to be closer
Unfortunately, the “Prepare to Meet Thy God” sign was just too small to be read.
This might have been the start of my superstitions and hunches. When I moved to Florida, lots and lots of cars had “Arrive Alive” bumper stickers on them. I shot so many of those things on wrecks they became cliches. I refused to put one on my car because that was just tempting fate.
I did a number of stories about houses that burned down on the day the homeowner brought home a smoke alarm, but held off installing it. I made it a point to ALWAYS put up the smoke alarm with fresh batteries as soon as it hit the door. I didn’t want some photographer doing that story about me.
Hunches and feelings
I also paid attention to “feelings” and hunches. I can think of a couple of times when I started to walk into a hot spot news scene only to turn back to grab my body armor out of the trunk. I never needed it, but I could see myself in a hospital bed wearing all kinds of tubes and wires telling a reporter, “I had this hunch…..” That vision was the convincer.
I pushed the envelope in a lot of situations, but never when I had that bad feeling alarm bell ringing. Well, ALMOST never. I guess you can get away with a certain number of false alarms.