Okay. This is the ONLY time when I have averted violence and a bad outcome through quick thinking. I have never thought this fast before. I don’t expect to think this fast ever again.
It was three years ago. I had broken my leg in a bicycle accident. I was not supposed to put weight on the soft-boot on my left leg. I could go maybe 500 feet on my own on crutches. The one positive part of this experience is that I had developed big shoulders and forearms like Popeye (though not for this reason). So from the waist up, I looked beefy in a good way. And I’d been stuck at home watching a lot of bad TV–catching up on old episodes of Dexter, the occasional Law & Order.
One day I had to go somewhere that wasn’t served by mass transit (not that I could get on a subway at the time anyway). There was snow on the ground, and where there wasn’t snow there was ice. I called a cab service I hadn’t ever used before. Ride was quoted as $12. I hobbled out to his unmarked town car, threw myself in the back seat. Something about the driver I didn’t like, but nothing I could put my finger on.
So we’re rolling for a few minutes, and I’m going through my wallet and I said “How much is this going to be?”. Big Pause. Driver said “One Hundred dollars”. I waited for the punchline. He just smiled.
“Really?” Said I, suddenly feeling pretty vulnerable.
Driver smiled. “One Hundred Dollars. You know what my old man used to tell me? He alwuhs tole me, If you have a hundred dollar bill in your wallet, there’s nothing bad that can happen to you”.
Before I even thought about it, the following words came out of my mouth: “You know, I had an Uncle like that. Lots of good advice. You know what my uncle told ME?”… (and I caught his eye in the mirror).
“My uncle told me ‘whatever you do, make sure you don’t leave any DNA evidence behind'”.
This was the ultimate bluff, and I had no good cards to play.
Long pause. Things were quiet. Nothing else said on the ride.
My ride cost $12. I gave him $14.
Do not try this one at home, kids.