Life Lessons: A Deer Story

I count no fewer than ten life lessons you can learn from hitting a deer with your car. It (1) prepares you to expect the unexpected, (2) that life is full of cheap shots, (3) that disaster often happens at night, but the darkness protects you from having to view the gory details, and (4) that the moment you're minding your own business the most is the ideal moment for Life to dropkick you in the spleen.

This was me last Wednesday night, circa 1:30am. I was blissfully enjoying my final night of work --I'm a courier-- before my weekend ( (5) this is the peak time for unexpected bullshit to transpire --right before your weekend). I would say it happened suddenly, but I figure that's more or less implied. When was the last time you heard someone say, "Ya' know, I saw that deer a good fifty yards down the road, but I'll be damned, when I got up there, I just swerved right into it." Fortunately for me, I was driving a cargo van. Related, this was less fortunate for the deer. While I didn't hit the poor animal square, (6) a cargo van at 70 mph into your backside doesn't bode well for any living creature.

I'm incredibly sensitive when it comes to animals --I'm the guy who traps the fly in his hands and sets it outside rather than squash it-- so this kind of thing has the potential to ruin me for several days. As it stands, I feel bad about it. The only reasons I can fathom that it didn't totally ruin me was because I had zero chance of avoiding it, and I can't confirm that it died (though it most likely did). I heard the impact before I even caught a glimpse in the corner of my passenger-side headlight. (7) You don't always see the damage you do to those around you before it's too late.

The deer never crossed in front of me. He started to come from the right side of the road and sadly chose to double back. There are two variances to this lesson: (8a) If you make the decision to do something, go all in. Of course, had the deer kept coming, it probably would have been blasted head on, killing it instantly and putting me in considerably more danger, which brings us to the other variance: (8b) When a decision to do something is particularly idiotic, no amount of analytical consideration will save you from yourself and your particularly idiotic decision, and the horrible consequences that will inevitably follow.  

Yet another lesson: (9) When an unstoppable force is bearing down on you, you won't win, but you have the capacity to do some damage on your way out. That deer eradicated the entire headlight assembly, destroyed part of the grille, bent the radiator hoses, caused some kind of fluid to leak, and made it hard to open the passenger-side door.

In short, (10) if you're on the way out, give as good as you get.