You Led A Good Life

A Heavenly Message (Free clipart)

It was one of those days where my life’s real troubles were apt to be things that never crossed my worried mind.

The kind of day where I was literally blindsided at 9 a.m. on an idle Tuesday morning.

At 8:00 a.m., I voted in the Bush-Clinton presidential election.

At 8:30 a.m., I cruised, top down, in my brand-spanking-new blue Miata

As the cool November breeze parted my hair, the sun baked the top of my head. I smiled the smile of a trouble-free man driving his mid-life-crisis toy. No need for the radio to be on, this picture needed no background music.

Damn it!

I heard the mood-breaking, troubling beeps emanating from my pants pocket. The digital number displayed on my beeper was a co-worker, followed by our emergency code. As I pulled off I-95, I worried about finding a pay-phone in this dangerous neighborhood. I found one and, of course, it was broken. The next phone I located worked, but my co-worker failed to pick up.

Machine: “This is the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, please clearly enunciate your name, phone number and message after the beep.”

As my mood shifted into negative mode. I responded in a firm tone, “If you beep someone with an emergency, please try to be near your phone so you can respond,” slamming down the receiver in an act of frustration.

At 8:45 a.m., 15 minutes wasted, I jumped back in my car, clicked on my seat belt, and started driving toward my office. I remembered the promise I made to that state trooper three months earlier who was about to write me a ticket for failure to wear the belt. “Officer, as a fellow state employee, I promise you from this day on, I will always wear my seat belt when behind the wheel of my automobile.” (The promise worked. I didn’t get the ticket.)

At 8:58 a.m., I felt the beeper in my shirt pocket. I screamed, “I HATE PEOPLE WHO YELL EMERGENCY WITHOUT WAITING FOR A RESPONSE!” (You can do this in a convertible on I-95 and no one but G-d hears you.)

At 8:59 a.m., catharsis, the scream worked. I felt much better as I turned off the freeway. I was two blocks away from my office.

At 9:00 a.m., I drove under the overpass. Shadows in dark shades of grey reflected on the cement pillars as I waited for the light to change. Green appeared. I inched forward as I glanced to my right. I saw a 10-ton truck running the red light right into me. I entered a slow motion world. I heard a deafening screech of brakes. Then, the loudest crash I had ever heard.

I blacked out as my brain shifted into pause.

In total darkness, an inner voice said, “You’re dead.”

The voice then said the five most important words I ever heard, “You led a good life.”

Now the viewing screen in my mind imagined a large VCR and a heavenly finger pushing down on the play button.

The VCR and the hand disappeared, only to be replaced by black and white twirling clouds.

These clouds formed a tornado.

This speeding funnel disappeared as my eyes focused on the exploded air-bag.

The smell of burning rubber and noxious gasses burned my nostrils as my body rattled from the blow of the air-bag.

I had to get out of the car.


Next thought, am I a quadriplegic?

Moving my left hand pinkie finger on the door handle, I appreciated that I have control of one of my hands.

Next thought, am I a paraplegic?

Slowly, I popped the lock and the Miata door opened. Breathing in toxic fumes, I said a silent prayer, “Please G-d let me get out of this car.”

I scanned my body for injuries.

As I looked for blood, I only saw a small scratch on my ring finger from which one tear-shaped droplet of blood flowed.

With all the energy I could muster, I pushed my body out of the wreck.

I screamed and jumped for joy, “I’m the luckiest man — I’m alive — I’m not paralyzed!”

Standing next to me was the lady whose car the truck slammed my car into. In amazement she asked, “Are you okay?”

“Am I okay? I am the luckiest person in Miami,” I bellowed.

She eye-balled my destroyed vehicle not appreciating my love of life and health.

The police arrived and issued the truck driver a ticket.

Then the ambulance arrived.

The paramedics examined me.

As I lay on their stretcher with a blood pressure cuff strapped to my arm, I studied my ring finger.

I couldn’t believe what I observed. Miraculously, the scratch and the blood had vanished.

The paramedics recommended I go to the hospital for further tests.

I declined their offer, still mystified over what happened to the cut.

As I walked the two remaining blocks to my office, I reflected on how the airbag and the seatbelt saved my life.

I marveled at the sun’s rays piercing though the clouds.

I wondered out loud, “Had I really led a good life?”

For the third time that day, I stared at my ring finger which triggered the memory of that heavenly finger pushing down on the VCR play button.

On that cool November day, I no longer worried about my life’s troubles because I knew the answer.

About the Author
South Florida's Jewish short-story writer, speaker, film producer and retired attorney. He has authored, "A Hebraic Obsession", "The Hanukkah Bunny" and "The Greatest Gift." He produced an award-winning short film entitled, "The Stairs". Movie can be viewed on my TOI blog. Mort is a correspondent for the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel Jewish Journal.
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