Roll the hanging dice

Tyler Murphy

My friend asked me yesterday about why I would hang a pair of gaudy black dice from my rear view-mirror. I’ve heard it all before, they’re totally lame, technically illegal and a minor safety hazard. Bla, bla, bla.

I told her they’re my good luck charm. She laughed and mocked my superstitious reply. But it’s not superstition that keeps the dice hanging but rather their power of reminder.

You see I’ve covered a number of accidents in my time at the Evening Sun, dozens, a handful of them fatal, and although sometimes the person at fault suffered the shorter end of the stick the dice remind me of the other person. The one who didn’t do anything wrong except get out of bed that morning.

I’ve been keenly reminded of the fact in recent weeks as a number of fatal accidents have occurred and a close co-worker was struck down by such random circumstance. These recent incidents didn’t involve any choice by those killed or hurt in them. No prior decisions or precautions made before those moments mattered, fate just reached out and snatched at an innocent. It is an undeniable and unfortunate part of life sometimes.

The statistics kept by the federal Department of Transportation show that the most dangerous activity the average American partakes in on a daily basis is climbing into a motor vehicle. 115 people are killed each day, that’s one person every 13 minutes. Of those only two thirds involve the driver being killed the rest are pedestrians, passengers and other non-driver victims.

I had a friend once who frequently rode a motorcycle and his favorite saying was “You can’t live life in constant fear of random circumstance.” He’s right you can’t, but you can be constantly aware of the aspect. Maybe it’ll help maybe it won’t.

Every time I climb into my car I glance at the dice and I think about those odds and I remember the accidents I’ve witnessed. Cars crumpled like aluminum foil and bodies covered in white sheets on stretchers with blood still seeping to the surface. I’ve talked to bereaved family members and grim emergency workers-it’s left an impression.

My good luck charm represents random circumstance. We all roll the dice when we get in the driver’s seat no matter who you are. Sometimes just knowing the odds though might keep them from being so fixed.