Signs and Superstitions

Wreck Hwy 51 near Lutesville 07-07-1967This 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

Wreck Hwy 51 near Lutesville 07-07-1967

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.

5 Replies to “Signs and Superstitions”

  1. What an interesting topic! My premonitions are almost never right. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. My husband, on the other hand, seemed to have pretty good intuition, especially for someone who seemed so logical and rational. Right now, I can’t think of any examples, but I always knew not to ignore his hunches.

  2. I’ve learned to listen to my intuition. In most cases and most of my life I had to learn the hard way. For example that persistent voice in my ear about buckling my seat belt and close calls… finally wore me down. It’s easy to get complacent in safe Cape but my voice wouldn’t take no for an answer. It also helps to have grand-kids in the back seat strapped into their booster seats saying, “Poppy… you are not buckled in!”

  3. Your picture of the cycle wreck gives me a shudder having ridden small cycles and scooters around town since high-school. It’s easy for you to say it “wasn’t that serious” Ken – bet the driver had a little different perspective. I’ve never had the desire to get a high powered motor cycle on the highway as the hard-core bikers like Magnum PU Hopkins does. He’s such a stud!

    I’m also the “lucky survivor” of 4 incidents where I either collided with a car or had to put the bike down to avoid it. In each case I have the moral high-ground of knowing I was in the right, but in each incident the car easily “won the war”. That’s a tough and important lesson to learn if you want to ride cycles safely.

    I still own a cycle that I ride occasionally, and really enjoy the freedom and wind in my face. It lifts my spirits and touches my Soul. If I could figure a way to take my faithful and chunky companion “Olivia” with me I would ride a lot more. (Olivia is my Terrier not my wife, Magnum!)

  4. I was told it cost a million bucks an hour to shut down an interstate but in the safety of my crews working an mva I never hesitated to shut down all or part of the lanes. Just one example, my crew had just finished working an accident and they were standing at the back of the truck. I told the captain to get his crew in the truck. A few moments later another car slid off the slippery road and hit the rear of the truck near where they were standing. Call it intuition or common sense but no one was hurt!

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