The end of daylight savings time is one of my favorite days of the year. It should be called The Clock in the Dashboard is Right Again Day. For six months, many of us have been mentally subtracting an hour from the clocks that we were too lazy to adjust back in April. But all that hard laziness is finally about to pay off. As a bonus, you get an extra hour of sleep, and it magically becomes okay that you left the snow tires on all summer. What an awesome day.
In case you’re thinking that The Clock in the Dashboard is Right Again Day isn’t happening this week, you’re probably right. I have no idea when it is. Every year, people like me depend on people like Mom to call and inform us that it’s time to change the clocks, hopefully before we accidentally get out of bed before noon on a weekend.
This fall is an especially significant one for me, as my fifth service anniversary at work is coming up (the Ergonomic Mouse Pad Anniversary). I think it’s true what they say: you’ll never forget your first half-decade of servitude.
Five years ago, right after I started working, a couple of my college buddies came up to visit me in my new apartment. On Saturday night, some of my co-workers joined us, we all walked across the grocery store parking lot that was right next to the apartment complex, ending up at the corner bar and grill, where we performed the public service of ensuring that none of the restaurant’s ice went to waste in any non-margarita applications.
On the walk home, my buddy Rory crawled into an abandoned shopping cart, squatted down and said, “Push me!”
Never being one to turn down a friend in need of locomotion, I obliged. “Faster!” Rory said, smacking the sides of the cart. So I pushed faster.
Before long, we were tearing across the parking lot, the wheels of the cart madly clacking back and forth, my co-workers wondering who the heck had interviewed me in the first place.
“Faster!” Rory said, clapping, but my RPMs were already maxed out.
And then we both saw it: the curb. There was still plenty of time to stop, or to go around it, but it sure looked to me like the curb was shaped, fatefully, like a ramp. The last thought (and I use the term loosely) that I remember having was this: “We’ll be fine if we just hit it fast enough.”
“Oh, man,” Rory said, ducking lower into the cart, but I knew that his misgivings were unfounded. Anyone who’s seen Bo and Luke Duke ramp over rivers and construction vehicles knows that they didn’t leave Roscoe P. Coltrane in the dust by slowing down right before the ramp. No, they hit the gas. Fast = yee-haw. It was simple physics.
I remembered later that physics was one of my worst classes. Applied physics turned out to be even more painful, which I learned the moment I physically applied my face to the handlebar on that grocery cart.
From the official accounts, Rory sailed through the air far enough to clear two school buses and a helicopter end-to-end. Somehow, he managed not to even skin his hands. I, however, hit the trifecta of minor facial injuries – black eye, bloody nose and fat lip. Lady Luck graciously allowed me to keep my teeth, even though we both knew I didn’t deserve them.
On Monday morning, I stealthily darted past my boss’s open door.
“Good lord, what happened to your face?” she called after me. Legend has it that even to this day, if you listen closely enough on some of our conference calls, you can still hear co-workers saying “shopping cart” when they cough.
You can take Mike Todd through the express checkout lane online at firstname.lastname@example.org.