NYT Prompt 013: Crash

Prompt: What nicknames have you ever gotten or given?

Throughout my childhood, I was given several names – some of which were well earned. The first of those nicknames I was given my freshman year of high school, though I had begun to earn it in seventh and eighth grade: Klutz. I wore this name somewhat proudly, to be honest. I had it put on the back of my Wampus Cat hoodie, and by the time the first few weeks of high school had passed, there were students that would call me by that name, rather than my own. I earned it by falling down a flight of stares one week, and then a few short hours later, falling off a school bus. The year before, I ended up face planting in my first period class – probably because it was Halloween and I had dressed up, which made that day a little bit unique when compared to others.

My sophomore year of high school, after having attended a couple other schools, I earned yet another nickname. This time, it was Crash. I actually remember my pastor asking me one night at Sonic (we lived in a small town and ran into them there) why kids were calling me that. As it turns out, it was because my luck behind the wheel hadn’t been all that great. One night, after tae kwon do, I met my parents at a Mexican restaurant. I happened to get sick during dinner so my parents told me to go ahead and take the truck and head home. I did, only I didn’t quite make it home. I hit a culvert out in front of the hospital and managed to total my step-father’s truck.

I know what you’re thinking: how can you total a truck by hitting a culvert? Well, let me enlighten you. Our truck was not the first victim that this culvert claimed. In fact, there are plenty of people in that town that will tell you tales of other cars being totaled on it. I guess its the way it is laid into the curb, but I’ve heard stories of it actually bending the frames on vehicles too. When I hit it, the front tire on the truck blew. The rear tire also struck the culvert, and to my dismay, it was ripped off the axle (and it bounced across the street, where it was struck by an oncoming vehicle). The insurance company didn’t immediately total it; they fixed the vehicle and, the truck being returned to us, the front axle broke and since they’d already paid so much into repairs, they paid for it again.

Two months later, I wrecked my mother’s car. It wasn’t a minor wreck, either. I was heading to a nearby city with a couple friends, the sheriff’s daughters, of all people, to go bowling with a guy I was interested in. I was driving a little bit too quickly and one tire went off the road. Panicking, I over-corrected and the car began to fishtail. I hit the brakes, rather than dropping gears, and the car flipped onto its side and slid into the embankment before rolling three times and landing upside down. I distinctly remember looking out the driver’s side window as the pavement slid past and thinking to myself, I probably shouldn’t put my head there. We walked away pretty banged up, but we survived – and surviving a car ride with me became a feat for friends of mine.

Another nickname I was given during my high school years was bestowed upon me by two completely different, unrelated people who probably don’t know that one another exist: Jenkies. This is by far my favorite of my names, perhaps because I find it oddly endearing. Also, I kinda like Velma from Scooby Doo, and I know in part that was the inspiration for these two friends. One was a classmate in high school, the other is one of my dearest friends who is great about encouraging me to write more.

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