It was June 3rd, 2008 and had now been 24 days since my motocross race season ending injury that saw me acquire a compression burst fracture of my lower lumbar 3 vertebrae.
I was attempting my first day back to work, which I know may sound crazy as I had been told to rest my back for a month, but for the past 2 weeks I had made such dramatic improvement I felt I wanted to get going as some developments @ work required I get back into action.
I had with the assistance of my friend Anne Coleman created a rather large fashion stocking order over the past weekend. After the order was prepared into a final form by Mary @ Motovan’s London office I was prepared to follow-up the order for confirmation @ one my large new accounts in Milton Ontario.
The trip in my van was a 45 minute drive from my home and my intention was to move on from Milton to visit other accounts in Hamilton.
Noble intentions that were just not to be!
After performing my duties at the dealer in question, I was prepared to move on to Hamilton but I only made about 500 yards from their exit and my plans came to a noisy halt.
My muffler system on my 97 Ford van snapped in half and began dragging on the asphalt.
I couldn’t believe my luck!
Oops! There’s that non-existent word again Luck! I should say I couldn’t believe my circumstances!
The first thought that came to my mind was, how could this be happening in the exact same location as 2 months previously the van’s transmission gave up the ghost and now here I was dragging the muffler into the very same parking lot of Milton Transmission.
The establishment that had replaced the defunct drivetrain!
Bolstered by the effects of another Tylenol 3 and the security of my custom back-brace, I ventured cautiously into the transmission shop to find the owner/manager Harry and explained my dilemma.
Surprisingly possibly to some, based on my physical limitations and Harry’s previous awareness of my injury, I was told they were extremely busy and short staffed and were unable to assist me and directed me to the auto repair unit next door. I even explained that I may just need assistance to just tie-down strap the severed unit up off the road, but I was still directed to try the place next door.
So off I go to repeat my dilemma to the sole proprietor of a repair shop that looked deserted and the man seated comfortably in his chair said he was all alone and suggested I walk the 1000 yards to a Goodyear tire center down the road. I was becoming slightly discouraged by the lack of sympathy I was receiving even with my very apparent back brace and my mentioning of my now only mending vertebrae.
I walked outside and looked at the Goodyear Center and with the way my back felt it seemed a million miles away!
I had just that morning finished the book Race to Dakar, by Charlie Boorman and all I could think of was what a tiny little trauma this circumstance was in relation to what I had read in the pages of this fascinating book of the exploits of these motorcycle racers who challenge this infamous 14 Day Rally!
Screw it! I’ll fix it myself!
I climbed into the back of the van and acquired a tie-down and proceeded to undress from my Motovan attire and laid down on the ground only to discover the van was tilted in such a way that with my back-brace on it was too tight to squeeze under the vehicle.
Possibly my suspension was a little worn out as well I thought! I really had no choice so I removed my brace and squeezed under the van with the tie-down in hand. It wasn’t easy but within 10 minutes I had successfully strapped the dangling muffler in such a manner that it cleared the roadway by a scant few inches.
I was mobile again!
With the sound of a top fuel dragster, the van roared back to life and I set off for a Midas Muffler shop that I knew was a couple of miles back in the opposite direction of my intended destination.
All I could think about was how crazy life was at times and how these little traumas are a test of our patience and willingness to overcome.
Instead of the usual thoughts, why me? What did I do to deserve this? Instead my mind was saying,
What was the point this time? What was the lesson to learn? Did I need to finally sell the Van? Was I doing more than I should considering my injury? What am I doing wrong?
These were some of the crazy wanderings of my mind as I pulled into the Midas Muffler establishment happy I had hopefully found some assistance to solve my misfortune.
I noted the pop-up tents and BBQ and realized they were having a special promotion but I also noticed they had an open bay and the place seemed to be a bee-hive of activity. I was immediately approached by a friendly individual who over the tone of my extremely loud van, asked if he could be of assistance.
Wow, somebody finally offering assistance! I felt comfortable right away.
The gentlemen immediately asked about my brace and how I hurt myself and like any true racer I was happy to explain the dramatic details and the man was impressed.
He was a motocross fan and rider himself but mainly just in the trails, but he knew the track Walton and had been there himself and struggled to visualize the jump I had miscalculated.
I had an “in” I felt and just knew I wouldn’t be taken advantage of as he quickly put my van in the open bay and told me we’ll get this problem checked and fix you up. The analysis was made and the job was going to take a couple of hours and I quickly realized my plans for Hamilton were dashed and based on the tension in my back I thought maybe its for the best.
I decided to leave the vehicle in their capable hands and inquired about local restaurants. A strip mall was the recommended advice and off I went walking a block east and slowly made my way one cautious step after another.
I decided on a Chinese Buffet and prior to entering picked up the latest issue of Cycle Canada that featured a new KTM and decided I’d dream about my return to the saddle. During the lunch my mind struggled with what had been bothering me since my accident…
Am I meant to be riding now? Should I continue racing? Should I be devoting more time to my metaphysical work? My teaching of others through my work in The Aetherius Society. My nagging pressure of writing my 448 Stories and the remaking of my website to update & more clearly reflect the purpose behind the 448 message.
The lunch was excellent and I read my magazine and no, I didn’t come away with a new life direction, it was just more of the same thoughts that plague me every day. I just want to do what’s right and be effective in whatever I do. I paid my bill and then proceeded to take the cautious, calculated steps once again back towards the Midas Muffler shop and hoped the Van would be ready.
Upon arriving I could see the van was still on the hoist and sat down in the reception area to rest my back. It was pounding now.
The Tylenol 3 must be wearing off I thought.
The friendly manager saw I had returned and came to give me an update. He assured me the work was almost complete. He then pulled up a chair, sat down next to me and proceeded to ask me some advice in regards to riding.
Paul was his name and he wanted advice on jumping so he could pass this on to his son who was just at the stage where he was learning to do this sometimes dangerous stunt on his CR85 Honda.
He looked at my brace and I couldn’t help musing if he wondered if I was really the guy to be asking.
I told him what I knew and emphasized to use caution and go one step at a time.
He seemed like he wanted to talk more but a customer needed attention and off he went.
It was just a few moments later that the mechanic came to get me and told me the job was done and invited me to come take a look!
This place was very good I thought, in regards to their service and I wished this place was closer to my home as my usual repair shop in Erin had just sold and was now closed waiting for the new owners to re-open.
With 3 licensed vehicles all over 10 years old you can imagine the source of my desire.
The job performed was flawless and the mechanic seemed proud of his work as he emphasized to me how this was better than the $1000+ bill it would be to replace the whole muffler system and I agreed enthusiastically.
I thanked him for his efforts and proceeded back to the office to gladly pay whatever the bill would prove to be.
The lady at the cash was busily preparing my invoice and recording all the necessary info required and handed me the bill but not before Paul passed by and said to reduce the labor by ½ an hour for what reason I wasn’t really sure.
The whole cost was $133.63, a bargain I felt and quickly handed over my credit card, very pleased with the results. When the lady handed back my card and I went to sign the receipt my eyes were immediately drawn to the authorization number, clearly marked above the final word.
I couldn’t resist the question, and asked the lady what the number was and she said that’s the number given to approve the transaction.
I asked if the number ever changes and she said she wasn’t sure. The other lady in the office that was managing the outdoor BBQ overheard my inquiry and interjected that she knew for sure that the authorization number is different on every transaction!
I couldn’t pass up the opportunity as I am so used to these 448 situations occurring, and took it as a sign to tell them that I wanted to leave a note for the friendly manager, Paul who now was outside with another customer.
The lady said no problem and asked if there was an issue and I said no, I just wanted to pass on my website address with the message to read my 448 Stories and realize that his intervention in my dilemma had produced a 448!
The lady, now intrigued then asked me what I meant so I briefly told her how the number shows up for me and then showed her my receipt.
She reacted with surprising shock and brought the other lady over to see what I was talking about and the first words out her mouth was,
…Isn’t that a coincidence!
I proceeded to tell them both how my website states quite clearly that I don’t believe in the words,
Chance, Luck & Coincidence.
If they were to read the volume of my stories over the 30 years I’ve been associated with the number 448 they might come to the same conclusion.
I made no mention about the real reason I believe they are there but refrained from mentioning anything about my Yoga Teacher, Sir George King, whose Teachings I promote and had passed away @ the officially recorded time of,
4:48 am July 12th, 1997.
This tragic moment left me with the immediate distinct impression of…
Don’t forget me! I’ve got your number!
I thought if the women went to my website they’d find out soon enough.
My mind began to race again over the procrastination that continued to haunt me over the developing of my to be revised & updated website.
I was struck with the feeling that I was glad I wasn’t racing now as this is what my conscious mind had been nagging me about. It just took up to much of my time and for what!
Who cares if I repeat the +50 title again! It really means nothing! Get your priorities straight man!
I felt I had so much to offer to those willing to listen and yet I was putting these opportunities aside in order to satisfy my ego & selfish desires.
These people were perplexed at this incident and this was nothing to what I could have told them about!
To those who are reading this that think I’m crazy, think about the ODDS that I would get that authorization # 015448 at that very moment when thousands if not millions of authorization numbers are given out each day.
Still think I’m crazy, well let’s add this icing on the cake of your possible skepticism…
I said my goodbyes to the two nice, now perplexed women and proceeded out to the van now quietly purring outside the office entrance.
As soon as I walked out the friendly manager, Paul finished with his other customer and he turned to meet my grateful handshake, and he asked me how he could reach me which led to me telling him how he could get all my contact info from my website as I had left that with the girls due to the funny incident I had just had inside.
Funny incident, he inquired.
I had to show him and before I reveal the authorization #, my eyes were once again drawn to the actual written work order and I saw in the top right hand corner what I recognized to be the Serial # of my van with one major exception.
It incorporated a 448!
How could I have owned this Van for 11 years and not noticed this before!
What was going on?
I then asked the manager where this info came from as I had never given it and he said it came from your Van and he showed me where it was located at the base of my windshield and he then proceeded to read it out loud, but something wasn’t registering in my ears correctly.
The number didn’t have a 448, it was,
They had mistakenly altered the letter A and in its place deposited the number 4 and unknowingly created the 448 within the serial number!
I had to show this to the girls inside and now even the mechanic had joined the controversy and it was then revealed, that the mechanic was the one that had recorded it wrong in the first place and the office lady had just repeated it onto the work order.
This all just added to the spectacle and now 4 different people knew of my website and were aware of my claims.
Believe me they all had puzzled looks on their faces when I finally said my final farewell.
I should call my webmaster and see if I had any hits on my site last night!
I laughed as I drove away, now knowing why this series of events occurred and resulted in me fixing a problem with my van while possibly exposing my message about Chance, Luck and Coincidence, Again through my un-orthodox tool of, The 448 Stories.
I also felt the pain in my back and popped another Tylenol 3 reeling at the thought that 30-40 minutes would need to pass before the aching would subside but I quickly forgot this as I chuckled as another thought passed through my mind.
The famous Midas Motto of the early 80’s….
You can pay me now, or You can pay me later!
Maybe I should have my own 448 Stories Motto for the New Millennium.
You can believe me now, or You can believe me later!
In both cases the intended slogan infers the hope that the message is received before,
..It’s Too Late!
All the Best,