Joe Peacock is one of those rare people to whom interesting things just sorta happen. For the amusement of his friends, he'd often recount in long e-mails his latest misadventure, whether it was witnessing an armed robbery or being vomited on during his first sexual experience. In 2002, he started collecting those stories on a Web site he founded, mentallyincontinent.com.
Soon he had a large following of visitors, including a rabid core group who suggested edits and helped him hone his writing craft. In 2005, he self-published the best stories from his site as a collection and in the years since he's been holding impromptu readings across the country, selling thousands of copies (mostly out of the back of his truck).
In "Mentally Incontinent," Joe delivers a batch of hilarious and brand-new stories, featuring his misadventures with a stalker, his blind date with a fifteen-year-old, and his frustrated attempts to convince his mom that he's not gay. A natural storyteller and a self-proclaimed magnet for weirdness, Joe Peacock has emerged from the bowels of the Internet with some interesting tales to tell.
Check out an excerpt of the book below, then head to the "GMA" Library for other great reads.
Chapter 7: Sorry, Dear
Have you ever talked to someone who has hit a deer with his car? Even though the situations may differ between individuals—"It was dark and he ran out in front of me" or "I went around the corner and he was just standing there"—no matter what the tale, they will all end with the same sentiment: "I had no idea it could do that much damage."
Deer are dense animals. They're upward of three hundred pounds of muscle and tissue and bone, and they eat healthy and exercise all day. And when you hit one in your car at thirty-five miles an hour, it'll put one heck of a dent in the thing. God forbid you hit one going any faster. I've heard of bumpers ripped off, windshields smashed, and hoods caved in. I have an uncle who swears that he hit a deer once and flipped his car completely over (of course, he's the type who might actually hit an already-dead carcass like a ramp just to see if he could get some air). I've even heard stories of deer flying through the windshields of cars and kicking people to death as they writhed through their own death. It's a thoroughly unpleasant thing, hitting a deer.
And if a deer can do that much damage to a car, can you imagine what it would do to a bicycle? I can tell you the answer to that one: not much at all. But the rider? He gets absolutely nuked.
I used to be quite an avid mountain biker. I enjoyed racing when I was much younger, and then I got married and complacent and fat. But then sometime around 2004, my wife suggested we get fit by participating in the Balance Bar Adventure Sprint. This is an event where you run over six miles, swim a mile and a half, kayak around a lake, ride your mountain bike across fifteen miles of terrain, and test your mettle in feats of strength and dexterity. It's what would happen if Fear Factor adopted a triathlon format.
To get ready, I would drive down to Dauset Trails Nature Center, home to one of the absolute best mountain bike trails in Georgia. I started lightly, going every weekend, and as I got faster and braver and the adrenaline junkie in me began to awaken, I started going every single night. I couldn't get enough of the steep hills, log jumps, ramps, and bridges—all in all, over fifty miles of excitement and adventure. But my favorite part of the entire trail was a short, extremely steep jump run called Pine Mountain.
I ran the Pine Mountain course at least three times every single night. I adored it. It started off at a high elevation with a gorgeous view of the nature preserve below. Once you started down, you reach twenty-five miles an hour extremely quickly, and then the jumps started. These earthen banks launched you straight outward while the ground below you sank ever farther, allowing you to catch major air. Given the steepness of the terrain and the speeds you were traveling, you had to keep your wits about you at all times. Flubbing a landing on any one of those jumps meant the difference between going home sweaty and going home bloody and/or broken.
On one particular evening, I was going through my paces on the trail system and reached Pine Mountain just as the sun began to sink beneath the tree line. I knew I had only about thirty minutes of usable daylight left, and I had to make this one run count. With a full head of steam and all the confidence of a mountain biker who'd just crossed the line from amateur to "experienced," I pumped my legs as hard as I could to get rolling down the hill.
In no time, I was at my top speed of about twenty-five miles an hour, and when the jumps arrived, I began popping and landing them with the skill and finesse of a guy who thinks he has a lot of skill and finesse but really looks like a grown-up hopping molehills on his too-expensive bicycle. Just as I reached the first turn in the trail, a huge brown blob whipped in front of me and blocked my path.
There was no time to brake, or skid out, or try to bail off the bike and let it take the damage. I couldn't even brace for the impact; it just happened. It was like hitting a brick wall that was built waist- high. It hadn't even registered that the thing I'd hit might have been a mammal. All I really knew is that something brown had just stopped my wheels from moving and dislodged me from my mountain bike, and I was going to die wondering what the hell it was.
I hit the ground—hard. I was lucky as hell, because I'd hit the only finger of land that extended out to a much steeper decline down into the nature preserve. A foot to the right, and I'd have soared like Wile E. Coyote into the abyss. Good thing I didn't, because I hadn't packed my Uh-Oh sign in my CamelBak.
Like anyone does upon falling down, the first thing I did was attempt to move. A quick internal system check registered severe pains from my knee, abdomen, and right arm. Were they too severe to stand? Let's see . . . nope. I could get to my feet. My knee was cut, and my sock and shoe were soaked in blood. Any break? Doesn't seem so, just a minor flesh wound. Where the right arm was concerned, I knew immediately that I'd rebroken my wrist, because it felt like it had the last six times I'd broken it. As for the abdomen, every step I took and every breath I inhaled sent a shock up my body. It felt like someone had knocked the wind out of me and then kept punching me for fun.
I trudged over to my bike, which lay about twenty feet ahead of me. Once I got to it, I propped myself on it and surveyed the area for exactly what it was that I'd obliterated (there was no way in hell that anything could have survived the impact with the bullet my bike had become). Lying a few yards up the trail was the deer I'd hit.
Even in the fugue state I was in, I knew better than to walk up to a hulking mass of horns and hooves and attempt to awaken it. But I needed to know if it was still alive. I'd have felt horrible to have killed this poor thing just because I wanted to go down a hill really fast. So I called out: "Hey, deer!"
No response except for the little bolt of pain from my side.
"Deer!" I continued. "Hey, deer! Wake up, deer!"
I winced a little as I reached for the strap of my CamelBak. Slowly, I removed the bag and brought it around to the front of me, so I could reach in for a PowerBar. With what little effort I could muster, I lobbed the carb-loaded food replacement bar at the animal. The landed on the deer's hind quarters with a lackluster paff.
I hurled my full CamelBak at the thing. The full weight of the water-filled bag hit the deer right in the head and startled it awake. It began lurching to its side, attempting to right itself, and once it got to its feet, it stared at me.
Which surprised me. I'd figured he'd get a glimpse of me and take off running. But I guessed these nature-preserve-raised animals weren't really scared of humans. He just looked at me, silently asking the question: "Dude, what the f*** was that?"
"Uh, sorry, deer," I said to him.
He just kept looking.
"You, uh, you okay?"
No response save for a small sway of the head and a shake of his antlers.
"You wanna, like, trade insurance information or anything?"
He stood there, staring.
I didn't know what to do. I was somewhat scared that the deer might try to charge me. But the sun was going down, and I'd run out of whatever patience one might possess that would allow him to stand in the middle of the woods with a bloody leg, a broken wrist, and fractured ribs and have a one-sided conversation with a deer. I abandoned the little chat I was having with Mr. Deer and let him keep my CamelBak. I began pushing my bike up the hill I'd descended, keeping one eye on the huge mammal I'd bludgeoned with a bicycle.
The entire time he watched me walk up the hill. He didn't make any moves toward or away from me. He just kept his eyes on me. Every time I'd look back, he was standing there watching me limp up the hill with my bike. When I got to the top, I waved at him with my good hand and said, "Okay, later, deer. Get checked out by a doctor."
I failed to notice the two mountain bikers at the head of the Pine Mountain Trail who'd arrived in time to hear me talking to the animal. They took one look at me and said, "Holy s***, dude!"
"Yeah," I said, not even bothering to play tough. "I hit a deer."
"F***," one guy said.
"You want some help?" said the other.
Usually, when someone takes a fall or has a flat or whatever, someone else will pass by and offer help, knowing fully well that the offer won't be taken up. I wanted to tough this one out and be a hero and make it out to my car on my own, if for no other reason than to prove that I wasn't nearly as bad off as I felt. But the bolts of pain going through my body were telegraphing to my brain, saying, "Hey, dummy, you need some help." So I accepted their offer.
The bike had taken relatively little damage. The wheel and the handlebars had gotten twisted and turned sideways, which was a relatively easy fix, and I'd broken a reflector. I learned that there's very little you can do for a broken rib besides sit around and do nothing. But I also learned that dusk at a nature preserve is the wrong time to go testing the speed and handling capabilities of your mountain bike.
The recovery efforts from the accident put the kibosh on my mountain biking for a while, and I ended up selling the bike and turning to other endeavors, like eating a little too well and watching too much television. But I never lost the thirst for the speed and thrill of trees whizzing past and the sight of rapidly approaching earth as I descended from a great jump. I still hate deers, though.