Car Jumping

Won Over By Reality

by Tim Bayer

Tim Bayer
Tim Bayer in California (photo by Tim Bayer)

WEBSTER, NY—(Weekly Hubris)—4/26/10—It looked like a road rage incident. A lunatic was jumping up and down on the roof of a car. It was not road rage. The man on top of the car was not a lunatic. It was me—but I had been provoked.

In 1992, I worked in the town of Medina, NY, a 52-mile drive from my home in Webster. My car was a nine-year-old 1983 Chevy Cavalier with 183,000 miles on the odometer. My little Cavalier had been successfully cheating death for at least the previous two years, and it was getting tired. A replacement vehicle was in order. Driving though the town of Brockport on my trip home from work one evening, I saw a Mercury Grand Marquis for sale on the side of the road. I stopped to inspect the car and talk to the owner. The Mercury was in fine working order and it was inexpensive—making it exactly what I needed to replace my Cavalier. A price was agreed upon and, a few days later, I purchased it.

The problem I now faced was that the “new” car sitting in Brockport needed to be transported back to Webster. The simple solution was to get the Mercury registered and insured and then drive it home. This would involve getting a second driver. I made the fateful decision to ask my brother, Mark, to assist. Mark agreed and, on a Saturday, we drove in my Cavalier out to get the Mercury. The new license plates were attached to the Marquis, and we were ready to roll. I would drive the Mercury and Mark would drive the Cavalier to Webster via Rt. 31.

All was going as planned as we reached the intersection of Rt. 19 and Rt. 31 in Brockport.

Here is the scene: Where Rt. 19 and Rt. 31 meet in Brockport is a busy intersection surrounded by many businesses including a large Wegman’s supermarket. It’s one o’clock on Saturday afternoon, so there’s a lot of traffic—the Saturday version of rush hour. The light turns red as we roll up to this busy thoroughfare, with me in the first car at the signal light and Mark immediately behind me in the Cavalier.

Both of these cars are owned by me.

Both of these cars are insured by me.

I have a certain amount invested in both of these cars.

Mark has absolutely no investment of any sort in either vehicle.


Stopped at the intersection, I am slightly jostled as the Mercury gets bumped from behind. I look in the mirror and realize that Mark is not paying close enough attention and has inadvertently bumped the back of my “new” car, the Mercury (with my new car, the Cavalier). It is not a damaging bump, but it gets my attention.

I glare into the rear view mirror. Like a goal post, Mark puts up both hands, open palmed, to signify, “Oops. Sorry.”

I grumble under my breath a little but think, “No biggy: mistakes happen.”

I move my “new” car a little forward so that my bumper won’t be touching the bumper of the old Cavalier. Then, I settle back to watching the stop light.


Mark has nudged the back of my new car. AGAIN!

I realize that the first bump, just like the second, was no accident. Mark’s. Doing. This. On. Purpose.

The situation requires an immediate and over-the-top reaction to indicate that this inappropriate behavior is not going to be tolerated. The decision to mimic a juvenile temper tantrum is a complete improvisation on my part.


In one motion, I shift into park with my right hand while simultaneously opening the door with my left, spring out of the Mercury, and hit the pavement at full tilt, heading toward the offending Cavalier.

As soon as the Mercury door flies open, Mark locks the door on the Cavalier and rolls up the window. In mid-sprint, I see the closing window but it proves an unneeded precaution as Mark was never in any peril. I wasn’t headed for the interior of the Cavalier.

It takes me only three steps to cover the distance to my old car. The fourth step comprises a leap onto the middle of the Cavalier’s hood and the fifth takes me onto the roof.

Not wanting to cave in the sheet metal on my Cavalier (remember—both cars still belong to me), I straddle the roof, placing my feet directly above the door frames on either side of the car. I commence jumping up and down on the roof of the Cavalier, then shift my weight from side to side. Left side, right side, up, down, up, down, left side, right side. Each shift rocks and rolls the Cavalier’s suspension from side to side, up and down. Under my relentless pounding, the poor little Cavalier is bouncing up and down and shaking like Jerry Lee Lewis.

Mark is safely locked inside, cackling at my unexpected response.

The best reaction, however, comes from the folks around the intersection.

People stop. There’s a lot of pointing.

The guy in the car directly behind the Cavalier is laughing hysterically and, though transfixed by the sight before him, keeps grabbing the arm of the person in his passenger seat, and pointing out through his windshield in disbelief.

While hopping up and down on the traffic-locked Cavalier, I am keeping a wary eye on the stop light, planning my get-away.

I see the signal light for Rt. 19 change from green to yellow. I count to myself briefly, and then leap off the roof and down the hood of the Cavalier to my waiting get-away car, engine still running and driver’s-side door open.

I’ve timed it perfectly. As I close the car door, the signal light turns green.

The traffic at the intersection has come to a standstill, so there are no cars making turns or moving through the intersection to obstruct my escape path.

I shift the Merc’s transmission into drive and calmly cruise down the road as if nothing unusual has happened.

There were no further incidents of “bumping” on the rest of the trip back to Webster.

On Monday morning, I drove the Cavalier to work. A perceptive co-worker who’d parked next to me in the company parking lot stopped when he got out of his car and was looking at my car.

“Tim”, he asked, “Why are there  sneaker prints on the hood and roof of your car?”

(Photos: Tim Bayer in California by Tim Bayer; Tim Bayer jumping by Sean Reid; Chevrolet Cavalier type 10 hatchback by Taxiguy57 on Wikipedia)

SafeGdriver - Three steps to a safer teenage driver.

Tim Bayer, Webmaster, and Assistant Editor of Weekly Hubris, was born and brought up in Webster, New York. He attended St. Bonaventure University, earning a BS in Computer Science, and then worked in the hi-tech world. In 2002 he turned his creative energies to product development and video production with the release of his first independently produced products. When the demand for web site design and freelance writing increased, he once again switched skill sets . . . to writing and web work. An avid or, to be more accurate, rabid, disc golfer, he may often be found chasing plastic while in pursuit of the perfect round on a disc golf course, or designing and developing disc golf products for He says he tries to find the humor hidden in everyday experiences, because, “life is too important to be taken seriously.” (Author photo by Tim Bayer. Author Head Shot Augment: René Laanen.)


  • jocelyn

    Ha! I can see it all clearly. Great story. One you and Mark no doubt will never forget. Ah, brotherly love…

  • Greg Waffen

    Great photoshop’d image! If I had been Mark, I would have stuttered-stopped while you were jumping up and down, causing you to lose your balance and land on the hood on your boo-hind., you rock!

  • Tim Bayer

    Yes, Jocelyn, Mark and I have been trading barbs for many years. Sometimes I get the upper hand the other times I tend to not mention. However this one made me laugh and I thought others would like it as well!

  • Tim Bayer

    Yo Waff! Thanks for checking in. I have gotten better at Photoshop magic. At the intersection, the Cavalier was trapped between cars – the “getaway Merc” in front and another car in back. So, the “trapped” Cavalier was stuck and unable to be stutter-stopped. Besides, things happened fast and Mark was still laughing when I made my get away.

  • Matt

    Nice Tim, if i ever come to new york, i’d be honored for you to jump on my car let ya see and feel how weak the new vehicles are of today from yester-years! i don’t mind the dents that maybe added to it.