I missed the call on Friday, but here goes. It's not my most embarrassing, I don't think, but it may have been for my friend Rick.

Sometime during high school, Rick and I were driving through the Trumbull Shopping Park (mall) in glorious Trumbull, CT. He was driving his 1983 Pontiac 6000LE - decent car at the time, console shift with lovely 80s GM velour - and I was riding shotgun. We were traveling on a loop that circled the entire mall, away from the parked cars.

Rick drove over a 2-liter soda bottle that was rolling around in the road. Over, as in he didn't actually hit it with the tires. It just sort of bounced its way under the car and out the back. I turned around in the front seat and looked out the rear window, likely saying something to the effect of, "You just ran over that bottle."

Clearly concerned, Rick turned around as well. At the same time - maybe to gain leverage in rotating his torso - he firewalled the gas pedal, which very quickly put the poor 6000 over the curb and head-on into a chain link fence.

He nailed the first pole dead-center with the nose of the car, knocking down said pole and two 8-foot sections of fencing, and popping the pole cap off. The cap bounced off the windshield in front of my face. Rick was convinced afterward it was my head that had broken the windshield, despite no bruising or bleeding on my noggin.

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We decided the best course of action was to get the holy hell out of there. Explaining the damage to Rick's dad - a nice enough guy with a really low tolerance for teenage bullshit - was going to be tough, so we better get back to my house to plan.

Back at my place, we inspected the damage. It wasn't terminal, but it wasn't pretty either. The bumper and grill were punched in, just about dead-center. The hood and core support were bent, but the car wasn't oozing fluids. Then I noticed something.

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"Rick? Didn't this car used to have a front license plate?"

We got back to the mall just in time to witness a security guard handing the plate and bracket to a town cop.