Some say that you aren’t a true Australian until this has happened to you.
Although this tale is not really a life changing experience, it certainly ranks up there as an experience I’d rather never repeat.
For those you currently frowning at the title(or perhaps not old enough to remember), Skippy is in reference to an obscure Australian TV show aired in
the 1960s. It tells the tale of a young boy and his pet kangaroo and their adventures. In short, it was terrible.
Skippy The Bush Kangaroo
I’ve always viewed what happened this day with a clear sense of irony, as the end of it showed me just how meaningless material possessions can be,
and how, up until then I had placed a great emphasis on having a status of sorts, especially in material things.
It’s ironic this tale came about also due to a car crash. My girlfriend at the time had recently lost her sister in a car crash, on the same road I
was on this evening. As a result of the crash she was scared to drive on this road, and as a result after work on Fridays I would drive the 10 or so
kilometres out of town to her place, pick her up and bring her back to my house, then repeat the process after the weekend and drop her off.
So this night, on the verge of dusk, I was heading out to get her. I remember it was very grey, and raining lightly, so the roads were slick. In
hindsight I should have been going a bit (or a lot) slower, but having a brand new, very powerful car under my right heel was just too much
temptation. The money from my first divorce, which had been very messy, had paid for this new ride, and of course I was proud to have gotten something
back, having lost pretty much everything else. So this was my pride and joy and the last bit of four years of hard work.
I was close to half way there when I saw him, or possibly her. I didn’t really get a good look. But there Skippy was. At the time I was rounding a
right hand bend at close to 120km/h, and he was sitting on the other side of the road. Then he jumped right at me.
Now God only knows why a kangaroo would jump towards a car, I did have my lights on, that could well have been it. But jump he did, right at me. Next
thing I know he’s clipped the front of the car, and is tumbling towards the windscreen. At this point all I remember thinking “my poor car.”
Selfish I know, but when you’re young and a guy, your car is like a symbol. Next thing he’s coming through the windscreen. To this day, and this
happened quite a few years ago, I still remember it clearly. His tail kind of came over like a whip and thumped the windscreen as the rest of him
caved it in. His body pretty much was coming through the screen, and it was at this point I actually started to panic.
All I recall after this was the sound of two pieces of very heavy metal being dragged over each other. If you've ever heard that horrible screeching
sound, you could understand.
Next thing I’m standing at the back of the car, with both hands on the boot, hyperventilating. It was still raining, and the first thing I remember
is feeling wet somewhere on my forehead. I put my hand up to wipe it off thinking it was rain, and when I looked at my hand, it wasn’t rain. It was
blood. A lot of blood. I had somehow cut my forehead, and was bleeding from somewhere.
As reality came back, I surveyed the damage. I had braked pretty hard, but in the wet the car had slid, at over 100km/h into a tree. A big tree.
Looking back I was kind of lucky, because there was a 100 metre hill on the other side. For now though, my car and the tree were pretty much one. For
some reason though, I started looking for Skippy. Why? To see if he was still alive, or even to finish the job if the car hadn’t. I don’t know. I
do consider myself to be something of a humanitarian, so I like to think the latter. But surveying the damage, it’s quite possible the former could
have also been true. But alas, Skippy was nowhere to be seen. Looking back it was something of a good thing, because it meaned he or she survived the
impact, as kangaroos going up against cars tend to do.
By comparison my car hadn’t. The front light and the front side of the car had been pushed back to within a foot of the smashed windshield. The
original bonnet was about 5 ½ feet long. It had been ripped up like foil. The front wheel had been torn off in the impact, and it was never found,
most likely down the gully somewhere. I had hit it so hard it had broken the engine free of it’s mount. For those not familiar with engines, it is
basically a joiner between the body and the engine, and pretty solid.
So my car was pretty much dead. After a few minutes, I began to feel pain, but I was more pissed off than anything, so I didn’t pay it much mind at
the time. I got my phone out, and of course it had no signal. Before 3G, country areas in Australia had pretty sparse coverage away from cities.
So, still raining, in now a lot of pain, I began to walk towards my girlfriend’s house, some five kilometres away. I made it almost a kilometre
before I saw lights coming up the road. Luckily for me, my girlfriend had realised I hadn’t turned up in the usual time, and tried to ring, with no
answer. She jumped in her car and came looking for me, despite her fear of this road. I still remember her look when she pulled up.
“Did someone beat you up?” True words.
At the hospital I underwent scans and x-rays and found out I had fractured my cheek by somehow colliding my head with the steering wheel (in the days
before airbags), and received a deep cut just above my brow. I also had three cracked ribs from the sudden grab of the seatbelt, and fractured the
bone in my lower leg somehow. Walking a kilometre in the rain with those injuries actually shocked the doctors. I often wonder if I’d known the
extent of the injuries would I have just lain in the road and cried like a baby.
As for my pride and joy? Total write off. Perhaps it was just another of life’s lesson that being proud of a material thing is just a way to make
fate force you to let it go. I still like my cars, to me they are a sense of freedom and a major money pit and pain in the proverbial all at once. But
as for the day Skippy crossed my path? It is a day I’ll never forget, in more ways than one.
edit on 9-7-2012 by 74Templar because: (no