I would like to tell you about the time I almost killed myself. No, this isn’t a story about depression or suicidal thoughts. This is simply a story of a dumb teenager … fortunately not quite dumb enough.
During high school I delivered for Il Forno’s Pizza. It’s on the lower right hand corner of this screenshot. All the buildings in this picture are
new nearly 20 years old, because when I was a senior in high school they basically tore down the entire center of town and redeveloped it. When I worked there, Il Forno’s was roughly were CorePower Yoga is now. Pizza delivery is a great kid in school job. Ostensibly underpaid at $2/hour, but we got to keep the delivery fees as well as well as our tips. Normally I’d walk out at the end of a 4-hour shift with $50-70 in cash monies. Not bad considering minimum wage at the time was $5.15, and I left a $6/hour job at the hardware store to take this one. We did have to use our own vehicles and buy our own gas, but gas was like $1/gallon. Ah, the heady days of the late 90’s.
Pay structure being what it was, the more deliveries you made, the more money you made. So, it was in our best interest to hustle. I got really good at finding shortcuts and alternate routes, and figuring out address systems. This was before cell phones were common, and GPS in a car was something I’d seen on TV once. And let me tell you, people SUCK at having their addresses clearly marked, or marked at all.
The train tracks behind the restaurant, and more specifically the train station one block to the north, quickly became my arch nemesis. As you can see in this wider screen shot, the train comes to a stop a full block north of Osterman Road, where I was often waiting to cross so I could make my delivery, and hustle back for another one. The gates wouldn’t open though. I’d just sit there while the train unloaded all the commuters, for what felt like an eternity. When the train would eventually move literally 10-20 more FEET to the north, then the gates would finally open.
After having this same scenario play out innumerable times, one day I had a thought … It was the single dumbest thought, I ever done thunked … “Why don’t I just drive around the gate?” That’s what leaked out of my stupid, teenage, hormone addled brain. Yeah, why not? I always just sit here not making money. I should go around and make more money.
Thankfully my right foot was like, “Really brain? Really?”
Brain then did some quick math, and realized we might be able to make one more delivery, which could possibly net us an extra three entire dollars. Brain decided this was not an acceptable risk/reward ratio, and told right foot to go ahead and keep holding the brake pedal down.
About three seconds later a southbound Amtrak train hauled ass through there on the far track. No question it would’ve eaten me and my Oldsmobile for dinner.