It was June of 2005, I was 12 years old and my sixth grade class was heading to a mountain getaway for our end of the year trip. We headed up in the Adirondack Mountains to a dude ranch where we were going to stay in cabins, cook out, ride horses, play kickball and swim in the lake, any kids dream getaway with a bunch of friends and classmates. We were getting ready to embark on a journey to the unprecedented world of the middle school, I was on the verge of being a man, listening to Fall Out Boy, popping my collar and playing on my playstation portable all while exploring the universe.

We arrived at the dude ranch and had a phenomenal day, swimming in the lake, played some tennis baseball and had a great dinner. Luckily we got all the outdoor fun in before the skies opened up and a torrential downpour began to occur. The dinner was served buffet style, it consisted of ribs, pulled pork, mac n’ cheese, potatoes and salad. I housed this meal, absolutely crushed it and was awaiting dessert when I decided I should call my Mom and check in. I am an admitted mama’s boy and this was my first time ever being away from home without my mom, these were the days before every kid had a cell phone so I was forced to run outside in a thunderstorm and head to the closest pay phone. The good ol’ days of making calls from a phone booth, young kids don’t understand the thrill of using a phone booth, felt like such an adult making a move like this at the age of twelve.

Two of my closest friends, Kyle and Nick said they would come outside with me and wait on the covered porch while I used the pay phone. The rain continued to pour down and the thunder and lightning was picking up, it was a virtual monsoon outside. I had to run about 45 feet or so to the nearest pay phone, so I ran over, soaking wet and got inside the booth. I made the phone call to my mom, as the dial tone continued I heard a very odd swirling sound above the phone booth, I stuck half of my body outside the booth and BOOM.

What had just happened, the next thing I knew, I was being dragged through the mud by Kyle and Nick, my arm was throbbing and I had a ringing sensation in my ears. I could hear the muffled shouting from Nick, telling me to wake up and I vaguely remember seeing Kyle rush back with a couple of what seemed to be adults. Yes, the unthinkable happened, I was struck by lightning.

I laid there on the ground and I finally came back from the haze I was in, the panic on my friends faces along with my principal was unmatched, I knew something was wrong. The news came quickly that the rain had caused severe mudslides and an ambulance was not able to climb the mountain and bring me to the nearest hospital. The owner of the dude ranch said he could make it down the mountain, he had a white Cadillac Escalade, he grabbed me and carried me to his car and laid me down in the backseat, my principal hopped in the passenger’s seat and they navigated down the mountain in the pouring rain and got me to the hospital.

Apparently, someone got on the phone with my Mom during the chaos and she was escorted by my aunt who made the normally 45 minute drive in roughly 20 minutes, great driving by Aunt Sue. I laid in the emergency room waiting, hoping i was going to be alright, I was scared out of my mind. This wasn’t the nicest hospital of all time, it was an upstate New York, back woods hospital. I was hooked up to an IV, got some testing done and then the doctor appeared in the doorway and approached me. The doctor was wearing jeans, a New York Yankees tee shirt and had stains on his overcoat. I thought this was a joke, I was waiting for Ashton Kutcher was going to pop out and tell me I was being Punk’d. He was a good guy though and he told me that I was going to be fine but that if I was standing in any type of water that I would probably be dead.

This hit me hard, twelve year old kid, sitting there, realizing he was close to being a piece of burnt toast that had hit its expiration date. At the time I was scared shitless, now, it’s a phenomenal story to tell, the ultimate ice breaker. People are interested when you can tell them that you have been struck by lightning, it’s like finding someone who says they were abducted by aliens, it’s a once in a lifetime type of story time.

The crazy thing is that people don’t normally believe me when I first tell them, it takes some convincing, the fact of the matter is that this tale is 100% accurate. It’s just a chapter in the book that i hope to write someday and a couple of scenes in the eventual Oscar winning film adaption. If you have more questions on this incident, feel free to comment away. Stay safe during quarantine and as always, hear, hear to the ProcrastiNation!