Alanis Morissette wants 21 things in a lover, and Garrett didn’t possess any of ‘em.
He wore his Michigan hat backward and liked wrestling. Garrett dipped Skoal and was a fan of a band called System of a Down. He liked hard rock.
He told me he felt he had met a kindred spirit the first time he saw the cover of High Voltage
, Angus in shorts and with the silly face.
“AC/DC keeps it simple,” Garrett said. “Whiskey, women and rock ‘n’ roll. What more could you want?”
We were at a comedy traffic school downtown, talking outside on one of those ridiculous 70-minute breaks the instructor gives you with a wink. I remembered kids like him from high school, something tragic in their bravado, their fearless quest for a good time.
All-or-nothings, they were called. Fight or fuck, but nothing in between.
I didn’t ask Garrett how he ended up in traffic school, but he wanted to know about my ticket. Had it been a couple of years earlier, I might’ve dressed it up a little for him: Reckless driving, a 90-in-a-25 nuts violation. Instead, I just told him how I’d rolled through the stop sign and nearly admitted it to the cop who pulled me over.
Garrett died last night, after the truck he was driving went out of control and flipped on Highway 94. Actually, he died early today, but the crash was last night, right before midnight. The truck landed on its cab. A girl in the pickup was banged up, but she’ll survive. She’s 23.
Garrett wasn’t wearing a seatbelt.
But he hadn’t been drinking, which for some reason made me happy when I came across his name in the police reports I file every morning. His name stuck with me from the one time he told me it, at traffic school: Garrett Brees. It seemed to fit.
Perhaps Garrett should’ve been drinking, that if he had to go out, it might as well have been with a bang. Like the first AC/DC singer. I think Garrett would’ve liked that.
But it’s better that he wasn’t drunk.
When I read about the crash, that he was the victim, and that it happened at the time that it did, I would’ve bet my eyesight Garrett was drunk.
That he was sober allows me to remember him differently. Somehow, it’s reassuring that in his final moment, I was wrong about Garrett.