Jerry Martin’s Daybook

Spring was bursting out. My terrific assistant, Laura Buck, who has a daughter in high school, was talking about senioritis, that seductive listlessness that besets students as their summer escape approaches. “I remember it myself,” she said. I don’t. I have a quite different memory.

About a month before the end of the term, I was hit by a car. Driven, of all things, by the daughter of the owner of Rin Tin Tin, star of the silver screen. I had been in the crosswalk of the big parking lot next to the athletic fields. I think she had been checking out the athletes rather than watching where her car was going. She was driving slowly, but fast enough to knock me into the air. Flipped skyward, I remember looking down at the asphalt below. Gravity did its work. An ambulance came. Guys put me on a stretcher. I had remembered from Drivers Ed that they are supposed to put your personal belongings on the stretcher so you don’t worry. Were my guys up to snuff? Yes, there were my school books and shoe, which had flown off, duly resting next to my legs.

I had come down hard and had lacerations on my legs and an acute contusion on my head. Two holes had to be drilled into my skull to drain it. My mother came into my hospital room with a distraught look on her face. I smiled. “Now, Mom, don’t get all shook up!’” She laughed. Her boy was alright.

The owner of the wonder dog was afraid of being sued – that’s what happens to people with celebrity wealth. My family wouldn’t think of such a thing. It was just an accident. No malice, no criminal negligence, a momentary glance in the wrong direction. Rin Tin Tin paid all the medical bills, replaced damaged clothing, and gave me $100 for my discomfort. A hundred bucks doesn’t sound like much but it would cover my McDonald’s tab for the foreseeable future.

The whole episode had been more adventure than trauma. I got a Get Well card signed by all the students in Miss Finley’s Latin class. And it got me out of the end of the term. I didn’t even have to take finals — or resist the lure of senioritis. It was one of the best months of my life!


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