It’s official: The strangest 15 minutes of my life (which is saying something)

WAIT! I promise this will all make sense! At least when you consider the source...
WAIT! I promise this will all make sense! At least when you consider the source…
For anyone who reads this blog regularly, it’s no surprise I’ve had my share of strange days.

But when you go from being on the sand dunes wearing nothing but a red thong, to putting out a car fire after witnessing a head-on collision all in a span of 15 minutes?

Even for me, that’s a day you circle on the strangeness calendar.

For those of you who are just now catching up after “…on the sand dunes wearing nothing but a red thong..,” it’s understandable. To be completely honest, after nearly two days I’m still finding sand in places I’m not even sure my physician knows about.

Many of you probably have questions:

Why was he on the sand dunes in nothing but a red thong?
How is it he makes his living again?
Does his wife know?
Did someone please cut his scene from “Magic Mike XXL?”
Was the accident caused by the glare from his [censored]?

After going through the sequence of events in my mind, there’s really no way to explain it other than just tell you what happened.

Exactly as it happened.

No embellishments, exaggeration or stretching of the truth.

And let me just say that “stretching” isn’t a word I’m particularly comfortable with right now.

I should preface things by going back a few hours, when I approached our publisher about an idea I had (Yes, she laughed too, but please stay with me.) The idea was to use funny video shorts to help promote local businesses online. I made one just for fun when our theater premiered “Jurrasic World” and it was a small hit on our newspaper’s Facebook page. With the new “Terminator” movie coming out, it seemed like an opportunity to expand on the idea and make a longer video as “The Nedinator” makes his way through time — and our local businesses — to get tickets to the premier.

Hey, I’ve seen whole movies with a weaker premise. (“Sharknado” anyone?)

To help sell the idea, I decided to put together a short promo that our sales people could show advertisers. In addition to using some of the previous Jurrasic World footage as a reference, I decided to include the iconic “arrival” scene that’s in every Terminator movie as a way to offer a glimse of “Terminator: Nedesis” which required, um… more than a glimpse. Actually.

This brings us to the red thong.

In order to appear as if I’ve arrived in true “Terminator” style, naked and in a giant divot — which in this case is in the sand of our signature dunes — I had to figure out a way to look naked without actually being naked. To do this, my wife let me borrow her red thong underwear (which she told me I could keep) in order to create the illusion. So with my new selfie stick, my iPod and a special prop (no, not that one) I headed to Sand Master Park, which is a sandboarding park in the dunes just outside of town. I’ve known the owner, Lon, for several years. So when I asked him for a quiet spot where I couuld shoot a video of me pretending to be naked while wearing nothing but a red thong, he merely blinked and said “Sure. But you’re not using any of my boards.”

To make things as quick as possible, I had already planned every shot in my head. So when I found a secluded spot in the sand out of the way and behind large piles of gravel, I set everything up before stripping down. With everything in position, I pressed the “record” button and scampered (yes, it was definitely a scamper) up the sand and into position. But just as I gave my best “Terminator” look, I heard the unmistakeable high-pitched whine of an ATV approaching on the ridge behind me.

I immediately began scrambling (yes, it was definitely a scramble) for my pants as the whining slowed to an idling engine.

There wasn’t time to be modest; I needed to have this thing ready by 5 p.m. for the sales meeting.

“Screw it,” I mumbled and kept taping.

Looking back now, I had no idea that decision was going to prove potentially life-saving for someone else in less than 10 minutes.

As I kept taping, the ATV rider took off (who could blame him?) and I completed made the first shots. The last sequence was of “The Nedinator” sliding down the sand hill on a disc. So sitting criss-cross apple sauce and hiding any visible fruit, I started down the sand just as a GIANT frontloader arrived along with an equally GIANT dump truck. Apparently, I had wondered out of the park and onto the property of a gravel company.

I can honsetly say they looked as horrified as I did.

But again, no time for modesty. I hurried down the sand in my red thong and approached the two heavy machinery operators and, as logically as possible, explained what I was doing.

“Knock yourself out, man.”

Five minutes later, I had my final shot and enough sand in my [censored] to fill a small elementary school playground. I dressed and stopped off at the main office to thank Lon…

…and heard the shrill shriek of brakes leading to the impact of vehicles traveling at high speed on the main road about 100 yards away. Other cars were also skidding to a stop

There was screaming.

More than one person was yelling “CALL 911!”

I dropped my gear and raced to the road, leaping over a sunroof that had been ejected about 30 feet from one of the vehicles. The occupants were exiting and appeared to be relatively unhurt; just panicked. People were already helping them, so I turned my attention to the other vehicle, which had all of its air bags deployed with no movement inside. I approached the driver first and made contact, asking her name and if she was hurt. It was clear that aside from being shook up, she was relatively unscathed thanks to the air bags. Her passenger, who happened to be her husband, had a small gash on his left wrist and was complaining about his ribs hurting, but he was moving with minimal effort and it didn’t appear to be serious.

Because they were both elderly and I wasn’t sure about the extent of his rib damage, I told them emergency crews were on the way and to stay in the car until they arrived.

Then I saw the flames.

“It’s on fire!” someone yelled

Small licks at first, rolling from under the hood, then suddenly growing. I spotted one of the employees at the sand park and asked if he had a fire extinguisher at the office. He took off like an Olympic sprinter as I told the couple in the car that we had a change in plans and needed to exit the vehicle. Enlisting the help of some bystanders, we were able to get the couple out and away from the car just as the park employee arrived back with a small extinguisher. By then, the fire was starting to blister the paint but steady bursts of powder from the canister put things out quickly.

As emergency crews arrived, I saw my duty chief and gave him a quick rundown. He immediately took command of the scene and I watched proudly as my friends and fellow members of our first-responder teams turned chaos into coordinated control. I’m sure I speak for all of them when I say:

I’m just glad I had time to put my pants on first.

That said, here’s the fruit of my labors. I promise it’s the closest reference to any fruit you’ll see in this video…

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

132 thoughts on “It’s official: The strangest 15 minutes of my life (which is saying something)”

  1. Okay, I am trying to picture the look on the face of the two heavy machinery operators faces. Seriously dude, only in your life could this occur in the span of 10 minutes! At least your thong was firefighter red. I am thinking your wife may prefer a new one. You know, with all that sand and everything….

    1. Lol! We all had the same look basically:
      “Did I just enter a different dimension?”
      It’s a small town (8,500). I’m sure we’ll see each other again. They may not recognize me without the thong, though.

  2. My eyes! My eyes!

    Seriously, brilliant marketing for local businesses. In addition to being a hero, you are a gem of a man.

    I pictured the entire scene with the car accident and the flames – with you attending to everyone in your red thong. Then you shattered the illusion with a pair of pants.

    Funny stuff, Ned. 🙂

  3. Never a dull moment eh Ned?! Are you sure that your thong didn’t cause the accident? Glad you had your pants on to save the seniors too! Ha!

  4. Ha! That is so cool Ned – both the ad campaign and the impromptu rescue. You know it is my experience that people who can help in bad situations are often confronted with those situations. I had a first aid trainer who gave the course for all our health and safety committee at work. He was a great teacher who was a Para Medic by trade and taught for St. John Ambulance on the side. He kept a plastic device in his back pocket for giving mouth to mouth. On a break I asked him why and he responded that he often had cause to use it when off duty. According to him he had used it dozens of times when he had come across accidents and people collapsed and such (none of which were when he was wearing a thong). I drove for a living prior to that and although i witnessed many accidents, I never had occasion to use mouth to mouth. It just seemed that as he was trained and kept the equipment close at hand – that he was elected by a higher power to be there when needed.
    I suspect you seeing the same effect Ned. May the force be with you. ha!

    Cool video. if I owned a business, I’d definitely enlist your advertising skills. Good Luck.

    Fun post Ned, thanks.

    1. Thanks, Paul! I’m not exactly sure what I was put here for, but I’ll keep trying to figure it out…

      Kind of like figuring out how to put on a thong 😉

  5. What a story. You get to be a real hero in real life while pretending to be a fantasy hero in a fantasy life. Weird. Of course, wearing that thong was the bravest act of all ;-D

  6. Haha, that would explain those strange pictures I saw coming from your Facebook page. Too funny. You’re a brave man. And I’m referring to the thong-wearing, not the firefighting. 😉

    1. Hahaha! Thanks, Carrie 😉 I just wish I could’ve heard the conversation the ATV rider and construction guys had with their wives when they got home. Or maybe they just hit the bar and tried to drink it all away…

  7. I may be cool.

    But I’ll never be “Ned Hickson riding down a sand dune on a metal Frisbee wearing a red thong” cool.

    And yesterday’s picture did not show the thong as clearly. I was afraid for you.

    This whole story is just pretty damned fearless, and it made my day. 🙂

  8. No words. I just have…No. Words. And if I did, I couldn’t stop laughing long enough to post them. *me, going away wordless* (Alert the media.)

      1. Thank you. Of course, you’ll notice, I’m sure, that it took me 27 words to tell you I had NONE. 😀

        I lie. I’m a writer. We do that, you know. A lot. 😀

      1. Yeah, I uh…almost fainted.

        I’m actually into the more cerebral sort of movies- WWII films, noir, and Hitch. I have hubby to thank for introducing me to movies that I don’t take so seriously. Great stuff.

  9. You have just provided the best entertainment I have had all week. I was envisioning the rescue without the pants, too and was admiring your nonchalance at being the gentleman in red.

    1. If that were the case, I would’ve been the ONLY one nonchalant about it!

      Really glad you enjoyed the video, even though I realize any thoughts I ever had of being a sex symbol have now disappeared along with a good portion of the sand I took withh me from the dune.

  10. You’ll be glad to know that I can spare the brain bleach before bedtime. I was expecting much worse than what I saw. Thank you for sparing me, to some degree.

  11. You’re a brave man on both accounts, my friend. Be a good lad now…go out and buy your beautiful wife a new red thong.

    As the kids say, you can be twinsies 😉

  12. Struth! This is bloody awesome mate. I’ve seen ads on the TV from ad agencies that couldn’t hold a candle to yours. Also, you wrote, scripted, designed, starred and filmed the ad. Stay close to your phone, Hollywood will be calling soon.
    The description of what and why the ad happened and the dramatic rescue afterward is brilliant. It deserves a movie treatment all on its own. Oh, why go off half-cocked (albeit red), just make a full-length movie of your life and call it something like, “It’s a Hickson Life.” I’d pay to see that.
    ps: What was the decision about using the ad on the website?

    1. Ha! Gee, thanks, Tez! Glad you liked it! I’m meeting with some folks from local businesses tomorrow who want to be involved. I’ll sketch out the script tomorrow night, we’ll shoot Saturday, I’ll put it all together Sunday and we’ll post it Monday morning… stay tuned!

      Oh, I also need to buy my wife another pair of red thong underwear sometime in between…

  13. OMW! The pictures in my head, reading, were better than your video! Gave me (I was going to say “lift”…) reason to smile on a cold, grey morning! Thank you!

  14. I know this post requires a comment, but for the life of me I can’t think of something. I’m still trying to contemplate the reality of a red thong…on your ass. I might never be able to sleep again.

  15. My dear Ned,
    I don’t even know where to start! I had tears in my eyes the entire I read this – except during the hero parts. I was appropriately somber while you rescued the folks from the fire, I promise.
    Much like your adventure, I experienced lots of emotions and questions as I acclimated myself to what was going on.

    *Upon seeing the post the first time as I scrolled through Facebook in the Atlanta airport.
    Wait. What? Is Ned NAKED?

    *Makes a mental note to read the article the moment I have time. There MUST be a logical explanation.

    *Reads post this morning.
    When did he get dressed again? Did I miss that part or is a red thong new super hero attire?
    (backs up and reads the part about getting dressed) Okay – phew – he got dressed again.

    *Read for a third time – this time with calm and active engagement. You are truly a gem, my friend. I can’t wait to hear how the advertising campaign turns out. I’m sure you’ll tell us, right? Sans sand next time?
    (LOVED this!)

    1. My wearing a thong does tend to bring tears to people’s eyes. And really?You assumed there’d be a logical explanation? I’m flattered!

      Seriously, it was quite an afternoon and it took me a while to wrap my head around it. Not to mention wrapping something around everything else. In the meantime, the video is going well and it’ll be posted here and other places Monday morning. The best part? They’re going to show it on the BIG screen, before the actual “Terminator: Genisys” premiere here Tuesday night!

      Wait, me in a thong on a screen 20 feet high…

      Ok, maybe “the best part” is not the right phrasing 😉

  16. Sooooo…what happened to the red thong? Is it now bronzed and in a place of honor in your office? Or burned unceremoniously on the backyard grill?

  17. LMAO! Love the video! But I did see the thong a little bit! ha ha! I still commend your ludicrous courageous stunt with the sled and sand! 😛
    It should prove to be a perfect “piece” ah! ah! of advertising!! 😉
    I am so glad you were able to help out the people in the car and save a couple of lives in the meantime! You live quite a “colorful” life! he he! 🙂

    1. Lol! I think it’s probably better that the thong is a little visible, just in case I’m arrested for indecent exposure after-the-fact and need it as evidence. (The video, not the thong…)

      Glad you enjoyed the video, Courtney!

  18. I’ve been first at the scene of many a calamity (I swear, I had nothing to do with any of them) but never in a ladies red thong. Does the thong come with First Responder certification or is that just a SVFR thing?

  19. Superman has his cape, Batman has his Robin, Ned has his…
    *hang on, that can’t be right? It is?* …
    …Ned has his wife’s thong (and he can keep it).
    Leaping higher than burning sand, swaggering…
    …through warps in time, his superpower (maintaining eye-contact at all times) is feared across the universe…
    Ned… it could only happen to him…

  20. Ok, first things first- you’re a hero. Not just for what you did for the people in the crash, but for keeping cool in an situation which you weren’t exactly dressed for.
    Now, your ad just had me in stitches! Thank you for always providing a laugh 😃

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