A Road Trip They’ll Never Forget


Before you can do this, you have to take a class. I learned the finer points
of scuba diving as a college student. Photo by Francisco Jesus Navarro
Hernandez via Unsplash

I studied mechanical engineering in college and got my commission in the Army at the same time. I was a pretty busy guy. However, each semester I made time for a one-hour PE class. I can’t recall the titles of the engineering classes I took, but I can still throw the heck out of a frisbee.

It was here I learned to roller skate backwards, get my butt kicked at racquetball, accurately score a bowling game and execute a textbook cartwheel. I also learned how to scuba dive. Obtaining my scuba qualification entailed regular training sessions in the university swimming pool followed by an open water certification dive off the coast of Florida. As you might imagine, a weekend at the beach that technically counted as school was pretty sweet.

I was a good student. Not in the sense that I made good grades, but that I didn’t drink alcohol, do drugs or get habitually arrested. Some of my classmates seemed not so encumbered.

The scheme of maneuver had us dividing into groups and heading south to rendezvous at the hotel on Friday afternoon. I made the trip with a sweet girl named Brooke in her spanking new 944 Porsche, while three of my classmates rode in a Celica Supra hatchback.

The owner of the Supra and his buddy were typical vapid Ole Miss frat guys straight out of central casting. The third addition to their motley mob was a foreign student named Wong from mainland China. Wong spoke English but only just. For reasons we came to appreciate later, Wong did not own a car. His willingness to cover a third of the gas bought him the back seat for the seven-hour trip.

These three guys eventually arrived Friday evening several hours late and in a different car. Their story likely didn’t do much to foment cordial East-West relations. It was honestly a miracle they survived.

I never had much time or inclination for such as this myself.
Photo by Jacob Bentzinger via Unsplash

Wong’s two loser buddies had come prepared. An hour or so into the trip they broke out the beer. An hour or so after that they had no business crossing the street unsupervised, much less driving. Throughout it all, poor Wong just sat quietly in the back soaking up the salient aspects of American college culture.

The Supra was a nice car for its era. Snazzy and fairly powerful, the entire cockpit was one continuous space from the driver’s seat back to the cargo compartment. The frat guy in the passenger seat was easing in and out of consciousness, and the driver felt the need to answer the call of nature. He called upon Wong to crawl up into the front of the car and spell him at the wheel long enough to urinate. His brilliant plan was to make his way into the back of the car, pop the hatch from the inside, drop his drawers, and pee onto the interstate.

Wong, for his part, did not much care for this plan. He vociferously objected, but the unfortunate language barrier precluded his message from transmitting clearly. In short order, he found himself desperately gripping the wheel while the intoxicated driver teetered on his knees in the slipstream trying not to befoul his luggage. The cruise control kept the vehicle at a steady state 70 miles per hour. It was in this configuration that the Supra unceremoniously slammed into the back of an errant minivan.

If ever you need to pee while on a long car trip just pull over at a minimart someplace.
Only a drunk college guy would try to answer the call of nature while tearing down the Interstate.
Photo by Alexander Schimmeck via Unsplash

The violence of the crash launched the inebriated owner of the car forward, his pants still securely around his ankles. He ended up sandwiched between the dashboard and the front windshield with his bare butt mashed against the glass. Wong miraculously maintained control of the careening vehicle until it eventually coasted to a stop on the side of the road. The guy riding shotgun slept through it all.

By the time the Highway Patrol trooper arrived, the driver had thankfully retrieved his pants. Now with time to articulate, Wong explained that he did not possess a driver’s license nor had he actually ever before driven a car. The poor guy had just held the wheel in a death rictus right until he slammed into the unoffending minivan.

The cop eventually sorted everything out. As the two Americans were not technically driving no one got a DUI. I have no idea how Wong escaped the scene without some kind of legal citation. On the way home, Wong wisely chose to tag along with Brooke and me in the Porsche. There wasn’t a great deal of legroom in the back, but he strangely didn’t seem to mind.

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