Note to self: Never do shows in Sackets Harbor, NY in the middle of January.  Where is Sackets Harbor, NY?  Go to the Canadian border and head north.

That’s what I was thinking as my car sat in a ditch at 6:45 Sunday morning.  It was still dark outside, it was 8 degrees, and I was in the middle of nowhere.

How did a nice boy from South Carolina end up alone in a ditch, two miles from Lake Ontario?  By following his dream, that’s how.

I was on the way home from a gig and I was eagerly anticipating the ride.  I was going to watch the sun rise over the snow covered hills of northwestern New York.  I was going to listen to all my favorite music.  I was going to eat Egg McMuffins.

I was ten minutes into the drive, The Roots had just started pouring out of the radio, when all of a sudden I see what I believe to be a quail in the middle of the road. I tapped on the breaks, but it was too late.  I hit the quail, and swerved into a ditch with three feet of snow.  This is not how I pictured the beginning of my trip.

I tried to reverse out.  Nothing.  I tried to go forward.  Nothing.  I was stuck.  I turned off The Roots, I stepped out of the car, and I stared.  I remembered that feeling I get whenever I see someone stuck on the side of the road.  It’s not, should I help them, or I wonder if every thing’s OK- it’s more, Thank God that isn’t me.  And now-it was me.

A truck that was salting the road passed by, stopped to see if I was OK.

“I hit a quail,” I told the driver, explaining the cause of my helpless state.

“No, you hit a pheasant,” they informed me, “it’s right here.  You want it?”  They pointed to the poor pheasant who was still alive and attempting to, but unable to hop away.

“No,”  I meekly replied.

“Really?  That’s good eats!”

They then picked the pheasant up by the neck. Oh Dear God, please don’t wrench this thing’s neck right in front of me.  That’s when they started banging the pheasant’s head against the truck.  As I heard it let out its final shrills of life I thought, Dear God, why aren’t they just wringing this things neck.

Then something dawned upon me- while I’m going to remember this situation poorly: as the awful morning I almost died in the middle of a frozen tundra- these two truck drivers were going to remember this as their lucky day.  This will forever be the day the scored a free pheasant, and watched some moron almost die in the middle of a frozen tundra.

Maybe your bad luck is some one’s good luck.  Maybe one day you are going to be the person stuck on the side of the road.  And maybe pheasants should watch where the hell they’re going.

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