And You Thought Lindsey Vonn’s Slalom Fall Was Bad

When I was a little boy, my family used to take long car trips from Los Angeles to Yuba City, California, a distance of about 450 miles.

Despite the hours I had to kill, I didn’t bring books.  I didn’t bring anything.  I just stared out the window.

My parents found this odd because all there was to see were miles and miles of agricultural land.

But I wasn’t focusing on the crops.

In my mind, I had created a little man.  And he was on skis.  And he was trying to ski through these fields.

But because this was agricultural land, it was filled with fences and tractors and equipment and most of all, trees.  Sometimes whole groves of them.

And this guy had to ski around all of it.  An impossible task.  Because in my mind, he was a good skier, but not a great skier.

So there were accidents.  Lots of them.  He ran into trees, got caught in fences, smashed into tractors.

Worse, there was an imaginary boat pulling him, and the boat driver never slowed down.  So sometimes, when my skier was knocked unconscious by the trees, he would just be dragged along for miles.

When we’d arrive in Yuba City, there would never be anyone to greet him.  Worse, he was dead.

And in my mind, a group of scientists in white coats always ran out to scoop him up and take him back to their lab, presumably to improve his safety equipment, which had failed him again.

And would fail him yet again three days later when we drove home.

Lousy scientists.

67 thoughts on “And You Thought Lindsey Vonn’s Slalom Fall Was Bad

  1. I actually do imagine similar things to this very day when looking out the window in the passenger seat. Only instead of a skier, it’s a super fast runner or someone on roller skates. And often they can fly too when high jumps are necessary.

  2. Brillliant! And to think of the hours we wasted between San Diego and Hanford fighting with siblings and making faces at the people in the other cars…

  3. I did this! Except I didn’t imagine a little skier jumping over trees and whatnot. My mind would just be in a completely different world, I’d always be imagining some story and somehow I could see them most clearly during a long car drive. And of course, my parents would ask me what I was thinking about and I’d just reply flatly, “nothing.” For the longest time they really did think that I was thinking about absolutely nothing.

    (And Lindsey Vonn had an amazing performance on the Slalom on Wednesday!!)

  4. I did not do this, because I was lame and would take naps. But sometimes I did dream about skiers crashing.

  5. Stephen, ever play Line Rider? It’s an online game in which you draw lines on your screen then press a button to make a little guy on a sled ride them. With a little ingenuity you can stage some spectacular crashes. Could be theraputic for you.

  6. My guy was on a motorcycle and since we drove through the deserts from San Diego to Phoenix a lot he had some really cool jumps. I always feel sorry for the kids today who spend their time watching videos instead of staring out the window.

  7. I read books and daydreamed about how creative I thought I was, but wasn’t. Sometimes I made up imaginary lives for the people driving by us!

  8. I would do this too! Except I used a divot in the window, and I had to move my head so my perspective on the divot made the divot go around obstacles. Thus it wasn’t an insane inner game, but a strange head weaving game…

  9. I hate to say it, but I started killing my imagination at a young age. I read books on long trips. After a few years, it was reading books and navigating with maps. But the books were always a major part of the trip. I’m now a decently well-read guy, but I can’t make anything up, because I’m sure everything’s been written somewhere…

  10. I always imagined a galloping horse and he made some spectacular jumps! It had to jump over every type of obstacle. Sometimes it was a Pony Express horse and when that horse got tired I would switch him out!

  11. I do this sometimes, but with a super-fast runner along the highway, jumping over cars and avoiding traffic cones, if any. Yeeeeeeah…

  12. I always used to imagine a lazer shooting out of the side of the car, and it would cut everything it hit down. Just like a super-powered lawnmower. I’d just sit for hours looking out the window thinking of the trail of destruction that it would leave in it’s wake.

  13. Wow. So many people did this. I did, too, back in grade school when we would take trips. I think it was a motorcycle rider or bicycle rider or something for me. I choreographed jumps and ways to avoid the obstacles and still keep up with the bus driving down the road.

  14. Ok, this story is strip material. I can just picture the crocs doing this and Rat driving the boat.

  15. … I do this, except it´s usually a monkey(we have amany trees here) or a guy being dragged my a tractor.

  16. My guy was a skateboarder… and he was good. He could leap over cars and fences, but he lost points when he wasn’t on the ground. Go figure. And here I thought I was the only one weird enough to be entertained by such things. 😛

  17. Mine was a dirt bike rider. I don’t find it comforting that there are others that share traits with Pastis.

  18. Like Susan, mine was a horse doing spectacular jumps. No crashes or destruction, just a beautiful animal performing super-equine feats. Must be a “girl” thing.

  19. I do something similar to that. When I stare out the window, there’s a little dude leaping in between each pole we pass by. He has to take one step perfectly in between each one, and then he leaps really far, and does it again. Don’t worry, Steph, you’re not the only weirdo in the world.

  20. As a kid we took trips from Florida to New England to visit relatives. I never did what you did. My sibling and I were too busy making fun of billboards, people, cars, trees, bridges, trucks, cartoonists, buildings, streets and many other things rather than make up imaginary beings moving along with our vehicle. We still to this 40 years later. Boy, are you stupid!

  21. Don’t know if I’m frightened or relieved to know that I’m not the only one; apparently there are many people (including syndicated cartoonists) who also do this while riding in cars and trains.

  22. I ALWAYS used to do this except it was a cartoon frog, kind of like the honey smacks one, and he ran. I never ate honey smacks though, so I really don’t know why.

  23. Me too. Skis. But he could lower wheels sometimes. 17 mile bus ride to and from school every day. The crashes were quite spectacular.

  24. LOL, I would do this with a skateboarder, and he would jump onto rails and do tricks and stuff, but he never fell.

  25. I wonder if that’s what my youngest daughter is doing when she stares out the window on long trips???

    And you MUST HAVE been visiting relatives in Yuba City. I can’t think of any other reason you’d intentionally drive all those hours to that place. I live near there. There’s nothing there.

  26. It’s me, Zarion Kreena. I like the added part about the scientists. Can I start doing that? Well, you probably won’t answer anyways, so I will. Bye the way, I love today’s Pearls strip.

  27. Hmmmm. You are obviously and completely mad. If you had imagined the a man on a motorcycle riding across the landscape (as I did), you would be normal and sane like the rest of us.

  28. I think it’s awesome that so many people did this. I thought I was the only one!

    My guy was actually on roller skates but the same principles apply.

  29. I did this. He was a skateboarder that grinded on the powerlines and gaurdrails.

    I also counted how many times the windshield wiper would come down before it “shot” or “hit” a telephone pole.

  30. i love you people!!!!! Seriously,i still do this,some of my friends and i were talking about this just the other day,and now,i’ve discovered tons of normal people who do the exact same thing! It rocks! Cheers!

  31. lol. i used to do that all the time sept the only difference with mine was it was a cat on a skateboard (i made a cartoon and so it was him(my cartoon cat) on the skateboard)

  32. I used an aeroskate in the Back to the future’s fashion, and some alternative transports. I can’t believe this was so common.

  33. me too! I bet everybody does this (anyone cool, anyway), but they just don’t want to admit it. Keep up the awesomeness!

  34. I did that too, except I had a little guy on rollerskates skating along buildings. And then later, a dragon or a puma. They’d climb each pole as it went along and had to jump down to reach the next one.

  35. Haha I either have a guy on roller skates running into stuff or a giant knife that knocks everything down

  36. I had a guy that looked like the flash with ice skates and he would run into telephone poles. He would follow us home from church every week.

  37. mine is a girl named sally, she just runs. but she doesn’t jump, instead she has stretchy legs.

  38. I do that!

    Well, minus the part with him dying. And the boat. And the safety equipment. Obviously, my guy is a much better skier than yours. And, sometimes it involves landspeeders like on Star Wars.

    That’s weird.

  39. I did this with Pocahontas. If my English teacher knew that I used a disney character as opposed to an original character, he’d probably die on the spot for the express purpose of rolling around in his grave. She ran around big things like telephone poles and jumped over stuff like fences or logs. But for some reason, she always tried to stay out of sight, so she’d run in the woods instead of right at the edge of the road, and she was always specifically following us, as opposed to just running or whatever.

    I always marveled at how Pocahontas could run so far and so fast.

  40. I am from Yuba City, California. When I read this post, it was a bit of a shock, because honestly, the only thing to do in Yuba City, California, is leave. Also, the imagination? Priceless in that town. 🙂

  41. I had a monster truck crushing the trees and fences… I think I may have gotten the idea from someone else though

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