When I was eight, my family was living in a rent house, waiting for our house in Catoosa, Oklahoma to be built. The following story is now a legend in our family; nobody is exactly sure how it came about, but it’s funny in retrospect, mostly because I didn’t die. I somehow averted tragedy that day.
As my sister remembers it, I was angry about something, and I decided to hide in a place where nobody could find me.
I remember it a bit differently. I remember randomly wanting to scare or surprise my mom (ironically, I did both in the worst way).
Regardless of which thread is true, I ended up in the clothes dryer.
I vividly remember there being a load of whites inside. I climbed in, somehow not drawing the attention of anyone in my family (the laundry room was more of a closet that opened up to the kitchen).
I situated myself under the clothes and kept a lookout through the slightly ajar door. Eventually, my mom came over and shut the door.
She had turned it on with me inside. As the legend goes, my parents were flabbergasted as to what was in the dryer that could make such a racket. After quick deliberation, they decided it was best to investigate.
My mom opened the door, and there I was. Somehow, I was unscathed. I remember my elbow hurting, but I was big on not showing any signs of pain, so I didn’t complain.
My mom freaked out. She was beside herself with shock. I remember her crying, which probably freaked me out, so I likely ended up crying as well.
She took me to my room, and we had a come to Jesus meeting about climbing inside of household appliances. She told me I could have died. I don’t remember being overly concerned about it; I just didn’t have a firm grasp on the concept of death as an eight-year-old.
I do remember seeing my dad after coming out of the dryer, and for the longest time, I thought he was crying like my mom. Years later, he allayed that misconception by telling me he was actually trying not to laugh.
My parents still have that washer and dryer. I hold no grudges, but I’ve kept my distance.
I’ve never climbed into another appliance, and I’ve considered going on tour to share my survival story and the dangers of clothes dryers. The only problem is, the story is only 380 words long, which isn’t even enough for a three-minute speech. No tours for me.
I’m glad I lived because that would have been a really dumb way to die.
Two good things came out of it, though. First, it’s a great story; one that will be passed onto my children and grandchildren. Second, it’s an awesome and misdirecting truth for the game two truths and one lie.
That’s probably the closest I’ve ever come to death, if you don’t count all those times I forget to put the toilet seat down, which gives me a heart attack every time.