Most kids probably get their car-wreck experience out of the way when they are still a freshly licensed teen. Not having my own vehicle until I was 20 years old meant that my wrecks (or, as I like to call them, "little accidents") until later in life.
Clooney came with a few bumps and bruises, it's kind of what happens when you buy a used truck. But I'm pretty sure Clooney thought he was done with those days. Instead, there was a period of about a month where it seemed I was destined to get all of those little accidents most drivers have at sixteen, just to catch up and keep the world at peace and all that jazz.
At the time, I was working two jobs (kind of like I am now, but with a second different job) at a museum and a college bookstore. It was rush at the end of the semester. That joyous time when students rush to sell their used books back to the bookstore, get some cash, and loudly proclaim that we are "gouging" them. Also, it means that we're open late. Because, you know, it's normal to need to sell a book back at 10:30 pm. So, after working from 7:00 to 11:00 with virtually no breaks (because college bookstores have never heard of OSHA) I headed out to Clooney to go grocery shopping and then go home.
Apparently, the lightpoles that I thought were situated in the grass behind the parking lot are instead randomly placed in the middle of parking spaces. So, as I reversed Clooney I thought we were good to go. Instead, the jolt was enough to cause Clooney to stall out and my seat belt to effetively knock the air out of me. When I got out and walked to the back, I didn't think it was that bad. Sure, his bumper was dented, but not badly. I called my mother to tell her what happened so the 'rents wouldn't totally freak out when they saw I bumped Dad's li'l grey truck. Mom thought it was funny (Dad not so much), and told me that it was genetic because she'd backed Dad's Ford into a lightpole two days earlier.
The next morning it was blatantly obvious I had done more damaged to the Cloonster than originally thought. Instead of a little ding, the entire left side of the rear bumper was crumpled under, and I couldn't for the life of me get the tailgate down.
I waited a few days before calling Dad. His sage advice (after the swearing ended): "Get a strong rope or a chain and loop it around something. And then pull forward slowly. It'll pull it out!" I didn't try it. I could just picture ripping Clooney's bumper off. So, crumpled it stayed.
About a week later I was going through the drivethrough at Taco Bell after work -- another late night. Apparently, this Taco Bell was not planned very well. I'm sure a small car or maybe a Vespa could handle the turn around the building...but Clooney could not. The sound of his side scraping the ill-placed pole at the corner of the building was loud...and embarrassing. As I rolled down my window, red-faced, to hand my money to the cashier he just had to mention it.
"Is it bad?"
"Where I hit it?"
"Nah, it's just scraped up. Not bad."
When I got home I took a look at Clooney. Not bad my foot. The side of the...thingie. You know, the side of the bed where it goes back to the wheel but not really a fender, was cracked. and there was scraping.
I told my parents it must have happened in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Someone must have hit Clooney while I was shopping for healthy foods.
About a week and half later, again after work, at a Chicken Express. This time it was the right front bumper. This was also attributed to some mysterious person in a parking lot that has it out for Clooney.
Rather than blame my poor driving skills, I did the most sensible thing. I cited too much work and quit the bookstore.