What's your best "Hey! Watch this!" moment? Share it here.
Tom shared this dubious moment on this week's Car Talk. But, we all know there are other great "Hey! Watch this!" incidents out there. Maybe it was a brother, a best friend, or a college buddy. The result? Smoke, charred car parts, stitches in the ER.
Tell us yours -- we'll be enjoying the reading. In the meantime, try to keep all your fingers intact, the fire trucks at bay, and the insurance adjusters away.
Hey Tommy and Ray, you forgot the follow up to “Hey! Watch this!” it is “Hold my beer.”
I’ve Written About This Before, But It Was Quite Memorable And Won’t Leave My Memory Bank.
I was going to fix the hesitation problem on my off-road dune buggy. The one with 1700 jugs on a Volkswagen 1600 dual port engine, Tee-Pee straight pipe exhaust and Holley Bug Spray carburetor, that I had built taking the time to weigh and balance all the connecting rods, etcetera.
I set about removing the centrifugal air cleaner and starting it up and with beer in one hand, was staring down the throat of the Holley Bug Spray carb. My intention was to blip the throttle arm, rev the engine, and make sure the accelerator pump circuit was working properly by watching the gasoline spray in there.
Hoo-Bah ! . . . Hoo–Baah ! . . . Hooo—Baaah ! . . . Hoooo----Baaaah ! . . . WHOOOSH !
It was years, ago. I have eyebrows now and hair where it’s supposed to be. The pump was working just fine.
This was a hold my beer one. I had this rubber boat rated for a 5 hp motor. So what do you do if you don’t have a 5 hp motor? You put the 18 hp motor on it! This worked well for maybe a 100 feet at which time it became a sub. It was going about 15 20 miles per hour when it nosed dived in.
When I was a teenager it was considered classy in my circle to “burn rubber” at every opportunity. A friend of mine had just purchased a 59’ Chevy Biscayne with a straight 6 and “3 on the tree”. He claimed he could smoke the tires for over 100 feet. We took him up on his bet and gathered in a large, deserted parking lot across town. He launched at full throttle and the smoke billowed from underneath the beast. He passed the 100 ft mark with smoke still coming from under the old Biscayne. We laughed for several minutes after he stopped knowing what the smoke was really coming from. His clutch was toast. I later towed him home with my trusty chain and we spent several hours replacing his clutch plate and disc. He never even chirped a tire after that.
GM ran a test on the longevity of their pickups in the 70s. They installed a “black box” recorder in hundreds and when there was a catastrophic failure of any kind the shops mailed the tell-tale in to Detroit. There was a very common scenario on many of the Mississippi trucks. The last sounds on the recorder were HEY, HOLD MY BEER. NOW WATCH THIS…
Luckily for me, when I was young there were no video recorders.
My wife and I were barreling down a frozen gravel road in my Ford F150 when I hit a section of washboard bumps and the truck began to do a graceful 360 spin while continuing in the same direction. As our excursion from “normal flight” began and throughout the entire slow-motion pirouette, I barked, “Hang on…Hang on…Hang on…”
Miraculously, my trusty Ford stabilized after one perfect 360 and we continued down the road, still at the same speed, with Steve Inskeep still talking calmly on Morning Edition as if nothing whatsoever had happened. My wife, however, sat in stunned silence for several minutes before turning to me and saying, “HANG ON?”
That got me thinking and, from that day forward, I vowed that, no matter how dire or unexpected the emergency, if something bad was about to happen, I would always shout, “WATCH THIS!” instead of “Hang on!” or “Help!” or “Oh my Gawd!” or “Not again!”
Why? Because, if things by some miracle work out (like my high-speed 360 degree spin in a Ford F-150…) then I would forever look like a genius.
And, if they don’t? Well it won’t really matter, will it? And bystanders won’t be left with the memory of that haunting cry at the very end, “Not again!”
So remember, if anything bad is about to happen: train yourself to scream, WATCH THIS!"
Mine doesn’t invove a car, but a camper. Back when I was just a young lad I was camping with my folks in the Badlands of SD. The spot where we were camping was divided from others by railroad ties elevated about 2 ft. off the ground. I had been jumping over the top of these and landing right in front of the screen door entrance to the camper. My sister came along and I thought I’d show off my jumping skills to her. I said “watch this” and preceded to jump over the tie, but caught my toe on the top of it and ended up making a head-first entrance into the camper…without opening the screen door! Other than a few scrapes and a bruised ego, I was okay. The screen did not fare as well needless to say.
The first time I ever drove in snow, it was in Texas on Thanksgiving in about 1993 or 1994. It was the day Leon Lett blew a game for the Cowboys and handed it to the Dolphins in Dallas.
I knew as soon as I hit ice because the bridge on Interstate 35 was lined with wrecked cars, and I smiled smugly thinking my front wheel drive Buick Skyhawk was the perfect snow car. I drove carefully, but confidently passed vehicles along the way, making it all the way home in Arlington, TX from Austin, TX.
That drive made me so overconfident that I decided to drive to work the next morning, even though the roads were covered with ice and I didn’t really have to be there. As my car started to slide, I said, “Hay, watch this,” while I cut my front wheels to the side and gunned the throttle, thinking this would pull the car in the right direction. All turning the wheels did was ensure that I bent a rim on a curb. I was lucky I didn’t hit any cars in the process.
So it’s not a “hey watch this” type of story, but it is a famous last words from history story.
On may 9th, 1864 the VI corps of the Union Army was approaching Confederate lines near Spotsylvania Courthouse. Major General John Sedgwick, commander of the VI corps, was encouraging his troops to continue their movement forward even though Confederate sniper rounds were becoming unnervingly accurate. Sedgwick was directing his staff in the placement of the VI Corp’s artillery when he noticed the troops cowering around him as a result of what Sedgwick believed to be a few annoying skirmishers. The general could not believe the cowardice on display and in anger scolded his subordinates,
“What? Men dodging this way for single bullets? What will you do when they open fire along the whole line? I am ashamed of you. They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance.”
Moments later a Confederate sniper fired a round from probably more than a 1000 yards and hit Sedwick in the left eye, causing an instantaneous and famously ironic death. Unlike most quotations from this era, the Sedwick quote seems to be legitimate. He was surrounded by much of his staff and many of them testified to the veracity of his last words.
The entire website http://www.darwinawards.com/darwin/ is full of nothing but “hey, watch this” kinda moments. To be awarded you must remove yourself from the gene pool. Most frequently it’s death, but occasionally someone finds a more creative way to keep themselves from reproducing. Of course you must do it while doing something incredibly dumb.
This isn’t me, but a story about a buddy.
We left the local tavern and my friend had a Yukon GT and my buddy pulled out onto the road and decided to do a burnout. We were watching him and all of a sudden, clunk, he tore out his rear end, parts scattered everywhere on the road. I told him to put it in 4wd and back it into the parking lot and we can get a trailer tomorrow and get it home. Well he put it in 4wd and decided he was going home. He made it a block down the road and took a left hand turn. Out slid the drivers side axle and since the city is on a hill his tire/axle passed him, went down the street 3 blocks and hit a Honda Civic, bounced over the hood and put the axle right through the windshield. When the driver’s side axle housing hit the pavement, the passenger side axle slid out also, but stood up like a flag pole.
Well the police showed up in about 5 minutes, arrested him for a DUI. Not only did he get a DUI, he had to fix his truck, pay for the Honda since his insurance wouldn’t cover it, and had to pay to fix the street. Overall it cost over $9000 and 10 days in the klink.
Thats a perfect example of why you don’t drink and drive.
This is my personal fave…
makes me LOL every time I see it!
I was about 10 and lived at the bottom of a steep hill. A neighbor just up the hill from us was repairing their driveway on a hot summer day. A large mound of sand was piled at the side of the street. “Hey, watch this!” I yelled to my friends as I pedaled my bike to the top of the hill and raced down as fast as I could. I imagined Evil Knevil and a spectacular flying jump. I plowed into the sand pile. My bike stopped instantly. I didn’t. I flew over the handlebars and slid on my bare chest until I stopped on the hot sandy asphalt. It hurt so much I couldn’t move and it was so hot that I couldn’t stay put! It was a couple of weeks before all of the sand worked its way out of my front-side. I survived, but my pride didn’t.
In High School, I had a small Sears motorcycle (yeah, they sold them from the catalog). I was changing the oil one day, and thought I had a great idea for cleaning the sludge out of the crankcase. After I drained the old oil, I poured about a pint of gasoline in through the filler hole. I then shook the bike to loosen the sludge, then tipped the bike over on its side to drain out the last of the gasoline, which I just let run down the driveway.
As I saw the thin black mess running down to the curb, I realized that my Dad would have a fit when he came home. So I stood the bike back up, walked down to the curb, lit a match and set fire to the waste gas/oil, thinking that would take care of the mess.
Then I watched in horror as the flames ran up the driveway and leaped into into the crankcase of my bike! There was a rather loud explosion that knocked the bike off of its kickstand. I ran up to the bike and a feathery flame was still circling the oil fill hole.
After the flames finally died out, I stood the bike up and checked it out. There didn’t seem to be anything wrong with it, so (after waiting for the crankcase to become cool to the touch) I refilled the bike with fresh oil. After a few kicks (no starter; no generator either, it had a magneto electrical system) it started up.
I drove the bike for several years after that, but never cleaned the crankcase again.
Nothing of value was lost
One night a while ago, I was driving around when I heard a friend calling me on the CB (OK, it was a LONG while ago). He told me that he just had his car painted earlier in the day and wanted to show it off to me. I was in a bad mood, but I agreed to meet him anyway. We met in a large shopping plaza that was empty (the stores were all closed). I looked at the paint job, commented that it looked pretty good as far as I could tell in the dark, and started grumbling about the lousy day I had. I don’t remember if his exact words were “Watch this” or “Check this out”, but in an effort to cheer me up, he rolled down his window, drove up to a shopping cart, grabbed the handle, and started driving through the parking lot while pushing the shopping cart from his driver’s seat. I must admit, I was impressed by the speed he had that sucker up to. It must have taken a great deal of concentration to maneuver that cart at that speed, so much that he didn’t notice the large cement base of the parking lot light that he was heading straight for. He looked up at the last second before his impending demise, noticed the light, and cut the wheel hard right as quickly as he could. He JUST missed the cement base, but the shopping cart didn’t. It slammed into the base and bounced into the side of my buddy’s car. Hard. Until that moment in life, I had never laughed so hard that I cried. I cried that night. When my friend got out to look at the side of his car, I think he cried too. I have to give him credit though. He certainly did cheer me up.
While serving in the military with an armored division our battalion was in the field for training exercises on a regular basis. On one particular occasion an armored personal carrier assigned to our company refused to start. Myself and another NCO were ordered to secure it to our track with a tow bar and tow it the 7 miles back to the company motor pool. Since it was just before sunset, and wanting to get the vehicle back to the motor pool before night fall, we quickly hitched the disabled track to our track with the tow bar. We were soon under way with the track in tow to the motor pool tooling along at 45 miles per hour on a long stretch of STEEP DOWNHILL asphalt road.
We gained speed going downhill and very quickly our vehicle speed advanced from 45 to 55 MPH. Rumbling along at this speed on a steep grade was exhilarating and fun
(spelled fool hearty). Nearing the bottom of the grade another track, going slightly faster than ours, pulled into the left lane and proceeded to pass us. As the other track got around us it pulled back into the right lane and slowed as it pulled to the shoulder and stopped dead. My driver came on the intercom and cussed and discussed the lack of common sense displayed by the driver in that other track. I turned around to see that we were no longer towing a track. The tow bar was there but there was no track on the end of it. I can only hope that the statute of limitations has expired years ago.