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  • I had just turned sixteen when I totaled my first car on my first date. I wore my seatbelt and lived. She did too, but if the police weren’t there to uphold the law, I’m certain her father would have changed that outcome. I don’t know whom I called first, my father or my mother, but it was my father who showed up to the scene of the crime to protect me.

    I hadn’t been drinking, but I was drunk off the aura of the girl in my front seat. She made me dizzy. Her name was Victoria and she lived in a small farm town with only one stoplight. It had taken me forty minutes to find her house in a world before Google Maps, and on my way there I didn’t pass another car on the road.

    I rang the doorbell. I met her father and her brother. I opened the door for her as I’d been carefully instructed to do so by my parents. She thanked me and was sure to compliment my car. December Sunday nights in Ohio are wastelands of arctic tundra and silence, and she wasn’t wearing a jacket. I wondered if this meant she was hoping I’d put my arm around her at the movies.

    Our date lasted sixty seconds. I ran a stop sign at forty miles an hour fifty yards from her front door, and slammed into the passenger side of another vehicle crossing the intersection. The driver had a small child sitting in the front seat who emerged miraculously unscathed. After the neighbors went back inside and the chief of police turned off the blue and red lights igniting the night and the tow-truck took away what I’d spent sixteen years saving for, Victoria said with a shrug, “Well, thanks, or whatever, for not being boring. Call me sometime."
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