Casey and his mom hug

While I vacationed in the USA my dad and I watched Zero Dark Thirty, which wowed and entertained us. A scene in the movie shows a bunch of Navy SEALs answering "yes" to being in a helicopter crash and surviving. It's pretty damn intense. Then you see the actual crash and wonder how much of this flick is like the real stuff.

So after the movie I asked my dad, an ex-helicopter pilot who did a tour in Vietnam, if he'd ever been in a helicopter crash. I was pretty sure the answer was yes and he told me the story a long time ago, but I didn't really pay attention to him back then.

His response was affirmative and basically his chopper crashed because something they either cleaned or coated the rotor blades with gummed up the gears and caused his big accident. I guess it wasn't pretty. He still feels aches and pains from it, but is "pretty damn happy" he managed to walk out of the wreck alive, let alone able to walk at all. Apparently, helicopters do a lot of damage when they don't land right.

If you don't know, I nearly died a few times from a broken neck about five years ago. I also walked away from this accident (after a gigantic invasive surgery, rehab, and recovery time). As my family does, I cracked a joke.

"I must get my thwarting-death genes from you then, huh?"

My old man glared at me, shook his head, and grunted. "Nope. You get that from your mother."

I laughed my ass off. If you've ever met my mom, she looks like the stereotypical house mom. Granted, she worked as a Navy nurse and then a regular nurse for years, but she'll bake cookies, do laundry, tell me I'm her "special baby," and grocery shop like Beaver Cleaver's mom.

"Uh uh. First off, your punk ass is lucky you're here," my Dad grunted. "Same with your brothers. We didn't think we were going to have kids…."

My dad paused and let me ask, "Uh, why?"

"Your mother survived three ectopic pregnancies and a miscarriage before you were born. What's an ectopic pregnancy? It's when an egg implants itself in a fallopian tube and nearly kills you. Yes, she had THREE of them before you. You may think your little ouchy from your stupid little neck accident hurt, but the amount of torture your mom suffered, and then to keep on wanting to try again makes your crap look like a stubbed toe. I may be a retired Marine, because of course there are no ‘ex-Marines,' but your mom is the toughest person in this family. Or that I've ever met."

"Um, okay." I honestly had no idea, but I guess it's better to find out than not to. So…wow. My family is pretty damn invincible. Thanks, Mom.

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