Other people’s stories are better.

The more time you spend in Baltimore, the easier it is to believe that everyone in the city knows each other. Not just because it’s a small city, but because people seem more likely to talk with strangers here than in other Northeastern metropoles. This means I hear a lot of really, really great stories, just in passing.

I work at Hopkins, and sometimes have to take a passenger van shuttle from work. I only know the driver from his right arm and what I can see in the rearview, but Larry is bald, brown-eyed, has an huge collection of glimmering silver rings, and an amazing watch.  While we sat at a stop light today, looking down the road at flashing red and blue lights, the conversation turned to accidents.

It turns out that Larry’s worst accident was on 795, which connects the city to the northwestern ‘burbs. Driving in his first car, a Chevrolet Sprint.

“Welllll… It was kind of my fault,” he laughed. “I was looking down, messing with the radio stations, and when I looked up I was looking at a tailpipe!” Larry’s little Sprint swerved across three lanes, flipped up into the air and over, and went down the embankment. Larry was working as a Macy’s cosmetic consultant at the time, and the car was suddenly filled with a tornado of department store swag.

“Can you imagine? They’d say ‘That man was killed by Hermes umbrellas!'”

A doctor and nurse driving the opposite direction turned back to the scene, but Larry was already walking up the embankment with no more than a bad cut on his finger.

“Do you know what I was thinking, when the car was just rolling over in the air?” Larry asked. “I just kept thinking… Dukes of Hazzard survived!”

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