Happy birthday, Dale Earnhardt

When I was little I really liked NASCAR. Looking back I can’t really explain this, I just have to accept it and attempt to move on as best I can.

My favorite driver was Bill Elliott, because “Awesome Bill,” duh.

On the other hand, the driver I hated, and I mean like worse than Skeletor, was Dale Earnhardt. In my mind he was mean, he raced dirty, and he didn’t seem to feel one bit bad about it.

I hated that dude so much I once got a die cast of his car and completely smashed it with a hammer to make it look like he’d wrecked.

That die cast is worth like $100 today. Go figure.

One Christmas I received all the die casts from the major drivers in a giant packet. It was like 25 cars, complete with driver cards that gave little facts about each guy behind the wheel. During this time I was also really interested in seeing in which month people were born. I have no idea why, I wasn’t really into horoscopes or anything, but perhaps I just wanted to feel connected to successful people.

So as soon as I got those cards I flipped through to see when Awesome Bill was born. His birthday is Oct. 8, just in case you want to send a card or something.

I continued through the other cards kind of hoping some other cool driver would at least be born in April, like me.

Then I got to Mr. Earnhardt, aka, Mr. Poop-mustache, according to 8-year-old Travis, and sure enough, Dale Earnhardt was born on April 29, 1951.

Not only was my sworn enemy born in the same month as me, he was born on the same freaking day. (This is a phenomenon that would later in life become known as, “Travis Luck.”)

Now, that sucked. I mean, how could I completely hate this guy now that I knew we were linked by birth dates? Now that I had realized we were kind of alike?

Truth be told, I couldn’t, and from that day forward my detest of the elder Earnhardt lessened. Granted, I still made fun of his mustache and driving goggles and I would never sport a “3” decal on my car, but my hate began to diminish.

It’s funny how that works.

It’s funny how the moment we allow ourselves to realize we have something in common with another person it becomes harder to hate him or her and easier to relate.

Maybe if we make our commonalities, rather than our differences, the foundation for our feelings about one another, we’ll spend a lot less time smashing up each others die cast cars.

— @TravisKWilliams






About travman44

I work as a reporter for a newspaper in southwest Virginia. I play as a writer specializing in deep thoughts on shallow, and occasionally not so shallow, subjects. I'm also a former history teacher, bible college alum, and lover of the NBA and kids' breakfast cereals. It's a delicate blend. -- @TravisKWilliams on Twitter
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