#19 What's in a name? 

The night I was born, my parents were in a head-on car collision that jarred me loose. I came into the world early and agitated.

Those were the days when nobody wore a seat belt and cars didn't have airbags. My parents had bought some acreage outside of Deer River (a financially and historically depressed area of northern MN) and were a couple of free spirits, living off the land. They and the family dog had been to town and were preparing to traverse the dark country roads, back to their hand-built cabin in the woods, when a pair of headlights appeared on the horizon. As they neared, it was evident that the car was driving right toward them. My dad had a buddy who was notorious for playing chicken with anyone he came upon while behind the wheel, and, assuming it was his jovial pal, he stayed his course. When it became clear that the motorist was either having a crisis or was on a suicide mission, my dad attempted to swerve to avoid hitting them. Unfortunately, he did it a few seconds too late and the vehicles collided. My mom flew forward and broke the windshield with her head. The stunned dog ambled out of the car and headed for my grandparent's house a mile or so down the road. His frantic barking on their doorstep was a clear indication that something was amiss. Once responders showed up, my mom was taken to the hospital to be observed. The nurses were picking glass out of her forehead and trying to ascertain her physical condition, being that she was both heavy with child and in a great deal of distress. Shortly after, her water broke and little baby Danger was ready to tango! My poor mom, delivering her first child after having just been tossed into a windshield, head aching, scared, and now, without a vehicle.

It was roughly 4 a.m. when I made my first appearance. My parents had already decided to name me "Sasha" regardless of my sex, after having seen Dr. Zhivago. My middle name, however, was chosen by Dr. Goodall- the family physician who not only delivered me but both of my little brothers a few years later. He said he had always wanted to deliver a baby girl named, Mercedes. That day he got his wish. Folks may call me Mercy Danger these days, but I was born to two struggling, young back-to-the-landers, who named their little girl, Sasha Mercedes. I came into this world with a force and I hope to BE a force while I'm in it.