Fast curves better left to stuntmen

By Grant McGee: Local Columnist

That new “Dukes of Hazzard” movie has been playing in Clovis.

Remembering the old TV show it’s based on, I put a Waylon Jennings album on the stereo. There was Waylon singing the theme from the original TV show.

“Straight’nin’ the curves, flattenin’ the hills,” are just some of the words in the theme. When I heard that line I flashed back. I remembered the time I tried to play “Dukes of Hazzard” with my Chevy coupe on an Appalachian road. Instead of “straight’nin’” the curve, I flew out of it.

I should’ve known better than to speed down a two-lane West Virginia highway. My 30th birthday wasn’t too far in the future. Then, I never was one to mature at a normal rate.

I came up on a curve by a creek. There was a big yellow warning sign. Somebody from the state had determined that the top speed for the curve was 35 mph. I remember I was doing 65. I pulled that old “straight’nin’ the curve” move.

Then something went wrong.

I don’t know what happened, but the next thing I knew I was airborne.

I woke up on the floor of the Chevy hearing running water. I turned over and looked through the shattered windshield at the evening sky.

I sat up.

I tried to start the car. No go. In my scrambled brain logic I thought if I could get it started I could drive away unnoticed. That wasn’t going to happen either. A bunch of folks had gathered by the side of the creek.

I got out, smiled and waved.

A man in bib overalls came up.

“Son,” he said, “do you have another pair of pants in your car? Your rear’s hangin’ out.”

I instinctively reached around to the seat of my pants and felt bare skin. I felt my face form an “oops” expression. “I do have an extra pair.”

“Well, you can go over to my house and change,” he said.

In the guy’s bathroom I saw my face for the first time since the wreck. I remember I let out a small noise of shock. My face was scraped up pretty bad.

I put on my trousers and walked back to the wreck, dutifully awaiting the arrival of the state police.

One hour passed. Two hours passed.

“Boy, I think we gotta get you to the hospital to get checked out,” said the guy who let me use his bathroom.

At the hospital they sewed up a big hole in my seat.

As I lay on my stomach on a gurney, an office-type came to ask for my insurance information.

“I don’t have any health insurance,” I said.

“Oh,” she said. She turned and went away.

Minutes later an orderly appeared to usher me to the hospital entrance.

“We’ve called a cab for you and it’ll take you to a local motel.”
“So I’m OK?” I asked.

“Well, you don’t have any insurance,” he said.

So here it is, 2005. Things sure have changed. I understand some hospitals won’t give you the bum’s rush if you don’t have insurance. I also drive pretty normally. I have for years. As a matter of fact, a few years back my cousin Tish said, “You drive like an old man.”

I’ll leave that “Dukes of Hazzard” driving stuff to the Hollywood stunt men.

Grant McGee hosts the weekday morning show on KTQM-FM in Clovis. Contact him at: