By Wyatt Earp | July 26, 2005
In a comment from “Drop The Puck!,” Kate asked me my age. How rude! I responded, but it occurred to me that since most of my readers have never met me (your gain, trust me), I could occasionally regale you with some of my personal anecdotes. With that in mind, I wanted to start with a bang (no, not like that, get your minds out of the gutter!).
The following story is 100% true.
It’s the Winter of 1990, and I am the Editor-in-Chief of Saint Joseph’s University’s newspaper, The Hawk. My best friend (and previous EIC) Heather Simmons hooked me up with the interview to end all interviews: Miss America 1990, Marjorie Vincent. Now, being a guy (read: pig), I was all for it. Heather, of course, asked me the prerequisite questions, like “Do you even know what her platform is?” I responded by staring and saying, “Eh, what?” Immediately I went from fairly bright college student to Beavis and Butt-Head. The only catch was that the interview had to be conducted in one of the university’s vans, because Marjorie had to catch a plane. Being the trooper I am, I took one for the team and hopped aboard.
Any whoo, we’re driving eastbound on the Schuylkill Expressway (aka The Road of Death), and the interview is going swimmingly. I’m my usual charming self (and Heather, who is in the front seat, is rolling her eyes at me), and Marjorie’s laughing at my dumb jokes. I figure I’ve got it made. And then, she opens her mouth. For someone from Duke Law School, she’s not particularly bright. She blathered on about this and that, and soon I was praying for a quick end.
Little did I know I almost got it a mile later.
We’re still talking as the van is approaching Passyunk Avenue. At the exit there is a brutal curve. The driver is doing about 60 mph. The next thing I hear is Heather and the driver screaming, and I am slamming into the seat in front of me. A tractor-trailer with an open bed took the westbound curve too fast and tipped . . . into our lane! Our van collided with the cab of the trailer. Panic. Smoke. Pain. That’s pretty much what I noticed when I came to. The driver jumped out his door, but Heather’s was stuck. Miss America and her escort were still slumped over, blocking the side door exit. I hurt like hell, but realized I didn’t want to be in the van if it went up in flames.
The next thing I knew, I was jumping over Marjorie, and heading to the exit door. I forced the door, which was slightly damaged, and yelled at Marjorie and her escort to get up. They did, but they were wobbly, so I carried them both (one at a time, of course) to the stopped vehicles a few yards behind us. I came back as the Highway Patrol was pulling up, and noticed Heather was still in the passenger side front of the van. her door wouldn’t open. Like an idiot, I tried to pull the door open, but it wouldn’t budge. (Embarrassingly, we realized later that it was locked!) I told her to get up and come to the rear door, which she did, and I helped her out of the vehicle. Thankfully, the van never caught fire, and everyone escaped with minor injuries.
Rescue took Miss America to St. Agnes Medical Center with her escort, while Highway transported Heather, Bill, the driver, and myself. While we were sitting in an emergency room (the three of us), Marjorie was being looked at by the docs. (I guess Miss America’s bump on the forehead was more important than any of us. ) It took them two hours to look in on my friends. I had a few bumps and bruises, and a lot of glass in my hair, but that’s all. Three hours later, Heather’s parents came to pick us up, and drove us to her house near school. All that time, would you think Miss America would take a second to either check on my friends, or say thank you to yours truly. Hell no!
But, I’m not bitter or anything.
Miss America (Ingrate)