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Car Safety
or, "My foot hurts. Can I go see the nurse?"

by David
July, 2000

I have an extra 1994 Geo Tracker. That is, I don't have multiple 1994 Geo Trackers, one of which I don't need -- what I mean to say is, I recently bought a new car and have yet to sell my old car, a 1994 Geo Tracker. And, as there are only two spots allotted to me and my fiancée in our apartment building's garage, I am forced to park my Tracker on the street. And, as Sherman Oaks is apparently some kind of neat-freak about its streets, twice a week I have to move my Tracker before 8am to avoid being ticketed by the street-cleaning cop squad.

So, as on any Tuesday morning, I threw on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt and went outside to move my car. I didn't bother to put on shoes, for my feet hard and leathery from my years slaving in the diamond mines of Madaglaziar (another time, dear reader), and the weather in sunny southern CA is warm and dry, even at 7 in the morning. I cheerfully crossed the street, flipping my keys in the air with a jaunty flick of my wrist, and catching them nimbly whilst I chuckled at the Goodness of Life (even though I have to move my car every Monday and Tuesday morning before 8am). I unlocked my car door, unlocked the ClubTM from my steering wheel, stepped into the car, and closed the car door.

It was at that precise moment that I noticed that the little toe on my left foot was still outside the car.

To make matters worse, my driver's side car door appeared to have been placed between my left foot and the little pinky toe thereon.

I must say, the look of surprise on my face would probably have made even the most stoic man chuckle. I quickly recovered from my surprise and calmly opened the car door once again. This time I brought my entire foot into the car (I made a visual check, since my left foot had gone partially numb, so I could not trust it alone to tell me where it was located), and closed the door. I then moved my Tracker to the other side of the street, parked and locked it (replacing the all-important ClubTM), and returned to my building, somewhat limping.

In the elevator I took a moment to examine my mangled foot. The numbness was subsiding, only to be replaced with what I would describe as pain, with the volume turned to, say, eleven. My little pinky toe and transformed in shape and color from it's normal pink teardrop to an enormous purple Ping-Pong ball. It looked (and at this moment, still does look) more than a little bit like W.C. Field's nose. Did I mention that it hurt? It did. A bunch.

As I gingerly limped down the hallway to my apartment, barely cursing at all (my parents raised me to be a genteel young man, not at all vulgar like some), I wondered if I could be sued by the estate of the late W.C. Fields for sporting his likeness without permission. I live in LA after all -- such suits are common. As I unlocked the door to my apartment, I resolved to cover the nose/toe with a sock, cleverly concealing the likeness and avoiding all such lawsuits.

And then it dawned on me -- why was I wondering about being sued? I was the victim here! I should sue!

But whom should I sue? Chevrolet seemed the likely suspect. Clearly they were negligent -- there are no warnings anywhere in my Tracker or its user manual which indicate that one should perform a visual check of all extremities before closing one's clearly life-threatening car door. Perhaps a large placard should have been placed on the dashboard. Perhaps a robotic sensor should have detected my dangling toe and warned me of danger with loud sirens and butterflies. Better yet, perhaps there should have been no door at all, or at least a door made of NerfTM. Yes, clearly Chevy would be the appropriate target. And, Chevrolet has deep pockets -- my settlement could be worth Millions.

But as I was taking pictures of my swollen toes to use as evidence, I blanched. Surely a company like Chevy would be able to hire lawyers, and probably expensive ones at that. Surely those accursed lawyers would try to blame me for the incident. I am merely a humble actor/web designer -- my company's stock is in the crapper -- I cannot afford such fancy things as "lawyers."

Reluctantly, I admitted to myself I should not sue Chevy, even though they are clearly at fault. In fact, I probably did not have time to sue anyone, especially not before work started. As I showered and dressed, I resolved to simply write this scathing condemnation of Chevy and post in on my popular website. That will show them.

And, who knows, perhaps I'll sue the estate of the late W.C. Fields. He's dead, so his lawyers presumably are as well. How dare he place his horrible nose on my foot?!

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