The Widening Gyre

Rogues' Gallery
Signs of the Times

Richard R. Abidin, Ed. D.

Clinical and School Psychologist, Department of Human Services, Curry School, University of Virginia. (Picture of Dick Abidin taken outside of Northern Exposure Restaurant in Charlottesville, Virginia on November 21, 1996).

An Angus Done Bang Us

"No disrespect is meant for any bovine members of our community."

"Mary and I were returning from Atlanta, coming north on Interstate 81 when, all of a sudden, I saw this large black object descending from the sky, striking my car."

"It was about dusk and it was rainy out. Things had a surreal look. I thought it was the wheel of a tire and I slowly pulled over. Our car had anti-lock breaks and I was able to come to a quick stop. I was lucky the car worked. I had to decelerate at a high speed and was very anxious to hold the car straight."

"When I got out, Mary said, 'what was it?' I was really not sure but there, low and behold, was a cow which had kind of flown down and landed on the front of the car."

"The cow crumpled the hood and completely covered the windshield. The point of impact was the ornament on the hood. Fortunately the engine block absorbed most of the stress. My son and I calculated it out later. If Mary and I would have been a second further down the road the cow would have come through the windshield and probably killed us both. The car was totaled."

"It was only later that I found out what had happened. A tractor-trailer truck in the slow lane hit this cow which was on the road and threw it up into the air and it came down on to the front of my car in the fast lane. Cows were on the road because a guy, bringing them from the stockyards in Augusta county, forgot to lock the back door. So he spewed out about twenty four cows on the road and this one crossed from the southbound lane and was struck."

"When the rescue squad came, no one would believe me. I had pain in my shoulder and this young guy probably just out of rescue squad school said you have to get on a backboard and I said I don't need that. But he was so persistent and I didn't want him to wrestle me to the ground. So the next thing I knew, I was strapped to a backboard with a neck brace and was taken to the hospital at Augusta Medical Center."

"People who were in the rescue squad didn't know what had happened to me and, as I began to tell them about the cow, Mary noticed the look on their faces and said, "It's okay. He is a psychologist." And I said to her that this is the wrong thing to say. 'I'm sure they are going to think I am crazy.' When I got to the hospital and a doctor and a nurse asked me what happened I had to clarify it quickly because I know they were thinking 'psychiatric ward' and 'do we have enough space?'."

"Having survived, the moment you knew you survived it, it has added a lot of humor. But at the time, it was frightening. After this, began a series of play on words. Mary asked me what had happened and I said, 'Well, we have a new herd ornament'. And she said, 'What really happened?' and I said, 'An Angus done bang us'."

"And we started talking this way until it began to catch on with friends and one friend called up and said, 'I herd you had a cowlision' and I said, 'yah' and he said, 'Did it cause a lot of cowmotion?' and we would get letters saying, 'I found a big mac on the tarmac' and 'I understand that you weren't able to steer out of the way' and 'you had a major cowlamity'."

"There was no end to it. We went to the car dealer where the car was towed and we brought some friends with us and the wife looked at the front of the car which was totally demolished. The hood was crumbled up to the windshield and covered with all kinds of plastery stuff. And out of character one member of my family said, 'Well, that's where the cow (shit) hit the fan. Actually everyone thought I was joking.'"

"The airbag never did go off. So I called the Lexus people and I told them the story. The man I spoke with asked where the cow hit and I told him about the cow flying down. And he said, 'Mr. Abidin. I want you know that we pride ourselves on having the most reliable equipment on the car but the truth is when our engineers were working on crash tests they never envisioned a cow hitting hit your car at an angle greater than 37 degrees. The way you described the impact it sounded like it was about 45 degrees coming out of the sky. So we never included a cow in our cowculations.'"

"If the cow had been walking, we would have struck its legs but the way the cow hit the car was backbone first: literally its backbone, with the legs away from us. The point of impact was exactly the emblem on the hood. The airbags sensors are below. There is no impact up to two feet."

"Once you tell the opening line of the story you can't see anything but humor in it. But I felt sorry for the cow."

Richard R. Abidin, November 1996

Back to Animal Behavior

Back to Home