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The curse of the one-eyed car

Joe Bushue is a travel agent and lifelong Gresham resident who has been tolerating multiple sclerosis for 30-plus years. His column recounts some of the humorous sides of his disability and his slants on life in general. Reach him by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

I have been no stranger to unplanned vehicular mishaps. After totaling several cars in a three- or four-year period (believe it or not, they were not my fault), and being run into or driven off the road by people with no insurance, I began to think I had a target on my car.

Even though I knew that probably wasn't true, I made sure to keep up on my insurance so if someone with no insurance ruined or wrecked my car, I wouldn't be left without wheels.

Then a few years went by, and my car and driving record went relatively unscathed. Maybe my imagined curse had finally run its course. I decided it was time to get a car that merited more than minimum liability only. I bought a car that was only a few years old, and I was proud to drive it. I didn't even look the other way when someone asked, 'Whose car is that?

I washed the car every week and kept the interior spotless. I also enjoyed not being nickeled and dimed by having to constantly fix something. Safety and passing DEQ were no longer major concerns.

I noticed that one of the headlight lenses was cracked. The slightly broken glass had allowed some water to seep into the housing. I thought I could just replace it with a new glass lens. No big deal, or so I thought.

I found out instead the entire headlight housing unit had to be replaced. A new unit was about $250. I found a unit at a wrecking yard that was still $140! I finally had a decent car that I was proud of, so I bit the bullet (really hard), paid the money and got the light fixed. It looked really good.

A couple of weeks later, I was driving home from work with a new sense of being 'curse free.' A pickup on my left ran a stop sign and proceeded to pull out in front of me. Mayhem ensued. I pretty much ran into the truck, smashed up the front of my car and vaulted about 100 yards into a tree in someone's front yard.

In a real switch, the other guy had insurance! My brief ER stay and ambulance ride, along with my totaled car, was all covered!

I didn't see my car until I went to the wrecking yard where it had been towed. My once proud, fully insured vehicle was now a sad shell of mashed, twisted metal and chrome parts.

In fact, I noticed that every recognizable part of the front of my car had been smashed and violently assaulted except one. The headlight that I'd just paid $140 for was completely untouched and in one piece.

It was just staring at me, as though it were saying, 'Don't get too cocky.' Or else it was giving me the stink eye as if to say, 'Just wait, there's more!'

Try as hard as might, I can't really find a good way to spin this story, except to say it shed a whole new light (pardon the pun) on my views of insurance, curses, bad luck etc.

But most of all, I was left with the thought that maybe my own driving actually might be to blame. Either way, I couldn't help but feel I was being watched.