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Crazy But True Stories

For being only 33 and from a small town in Northeast Tennessee, I sure have had some crazy experiences. Some are cool, some bad, and others just weird. I've had a few people tell me that I should write them all down, so I intend to do just that here on this page. I'll try to keep them as brief and entertaining as possible, but sometimes I'll probably have to go a bit in-depth with the facts just to relay how crazy the situation was. Feel free to comment or email me (off to the side) with any questions. As I've started to outline all of these one-by-one (and make sure that all of my facts are correct) I really realized how wild of a life I've lived so far. I can't help but smile as I try to imagine what might be in my future, if my past is any indicator.

I Know What It's Like

Some of my experiences are best simply told as "One Liners". I can't exactly give them a whole paragraph, as I have some others. BUT, they still are worth mentioning. Whenever I started to compile many of the wild things that I've seen, done, witnessed and experienced, I realized that they, as a whole, have shaped me far more than I could have ever expected. My fear with this entry is that I will appear to be narcissistic or prideful. That's not at all my point. But this IS jaredcullop.com, and somewhere in there, these things should be told to anyone caring to read them. So, without further adieu, here goes.

 

  • I know what it's like to live in Switzerland, possibly the most proper and correct place on the planet, as a redneck from Appalachia.
  • I know what it's like to run from a cop who truly desires to catch me... at 170+mph. And get away. (LOOOONG AGO. Far past the statute of limitations.) 
  • I know what it's like to have more than $2 Million literally stolen from me. Twice.
  • I know what it's like to be in the middle of a car pile-up on a bridge that's frozen over, with my beloved wife and son with me and in my care, as more than 30 cars collided. We watched one lady in a Civic die in front of us.
  • I know what it's like to spend way too much building a car over 4 years, just to have it set the record for the highest price ever brought for its kind. It currently is on the cover of Modified Magazine, a mag that I've respected for a decade or more.
  • I know what it's like to really, really be loved by a woman.
  • I know what it's like to actually know a bunch of NFL players, and not be a football fan.
  • I know what it's like to wake up in a Swiss hospital after being knocked out from a bad snowboard crash.
  • I know what it's like to go through life with two very close friends, one of which has been my business partner through thick and thin for over a decade.
  • I know what it's like to crash a race car into a wall... that I didn't own... at all...
  • I know what it's like to run 80 miles a week for a few years straight.
  • I know what it's like to be hit in the mouth by a baseball bat and have 8 teeth knocked out.
  • I know what it's like to grow up and live on the same wonderful street for the first 21 years of my life.
  • I know what it's like to have 50-some employees while being the youngest person in the company that I own.
  • I know what it's like to be a man with some really tight girls as best friends.
  • I know what it's like to almost die in a plane crash.
  • I know what it's like to be lost at sea in a boat whose sails ripped and engine blew up... for a week or so... with only pistachios to eat and Coronas to drink.
  • I know what it's like to move on average every 12 months, for a decade.
  • I know what it's like to be a Porsche test driver.
  • I know what it's like to be chased by two angry Italian men in Florence, Italy and literally have to bring a knife into the equation.
  • I know what it's like to be loved by my parents.
  • I know what it's like to fly a 4 seater airplane to my wife's great grandmother's 96th birthday... on a whim.
  • I know what it's like to drink absynthe in Amsterdam and be unimpressed. Hey, where I'm from, we drink moonshine. My expectations were too high.
  • I know what it's like to put a Porsche 911 (that I owned) into a wall at a race track because my foot was stuck under the pedal.
  • I know what it's like to deposit a $300,000 check, and I know what it's like to be totally broke.
  • I know what it's like to hold a baby for its first hour in the world, chest to chest, while his beautiful mother sleeps.
  • I know what it's like to trust someone, and to be trusted.
  • I know what it's like to feel God's presence upon me so much that it makes me slightly afraid.
  • I know what it's like to build a dozen houses by hand... in Thailand.
  • I know what it's like to speak in front of 400 businessmen.
  • I know what it's like to freeze like an idiot when someone I respect talks to me.
  • I know what it's like to ride a Vespa (Italian scooter) on a brisk, full-moon Asheville (NC) night with my favorite person alive resting her chin on my shoulder.
  • I know what it's like to beat someone so badly that it's a concern as to whether or not I killed them.
  • I know what it's like to know, beyond all doubt, that Yahweh is Creator and loves me more than I can handle.
  • I know what it's like to win a regional Science Fair.
  • I know what it's like to be the only person taking a Calculus 4 class, be failed by the professor, and then take it again, again alone, only to make a D.
  • I know what it's like to go through the pain and injustice of divorce.
  • I know what it's like to buy back my childhood home.
  • I know what it's like to jump a '78 Corolla wagon over a creek, only to destroy the undercarriage. I was 14.
  • I know what it's like to be able to drive around Italy and not need a map.
  • I know what it's like to need to fire someone, but be unable to because I know his wife and children.
  • I know what it's like to be wrongfully accused by another and have to defend myself in court.
  • I know what it's like to use a helicopter as a basic mode of transport.
  • I know what it's like to eat Ramen noodles. A lot.
  • I know what it's like to see two magazines that have my name on them, beside each other at one time, at Barnes & Noble.
  • I know what it's like to fail. Miserably.
  • I know what it's like to be a stay-at-home Dad.
  • I know what it's like to get a six-figure tax return.
  • I know what it's like to worry about 4 inch spiders while you sleep.
  • I know what it's like to ride a canoe to Burma from Thailand, hoping they let you back in to Thailand with a new Passport stamp.
  • I know what it's like to have regrets.
  • I know what it's like to work with friends.
  • I know what it's like to drive from Tennessee to the Pacific Ocean.
  • I know what it's like to win a longest drive competition (golf).
  • I know what it's like to be very unpopular in school.
  • I know what it's like to propose to a beautiful woman in the Italian Alps, and her say yes nearly 10 years ago.
  • I know what it's like to have to put a dog to sleep that I've had for more than half my life.
  • I know what it's like to be on a professional paintball team.
  • I know what it's like to be on HGTV... a LOT.
  • I know what it's like to jump out of a perfectly good helicopter and snowboard through Yellowstone Park.
  • I know what it's like to literally name a star.
  • I know what it's like to be painfully proud of a son.
  • I know what it's like to set an outrageous goal, meet it, and buy a $5000 wristwatch to celebrate (was the conclusion of an "If we... then I" personal dare.
  • I know what it's like to go through the California adoption process.
  • I know what it's like to play golf every day but two in two months.
  • I know what it's like to be incredibly proud of my heritage, which includes being a decendant of Pocohontas.
  • I know what it's like for Google Earth to label my family land as "Cherokee National Forest".
  • I know what it's like to almost hit a wall in a $200k car on a dragstrip. Someone who I do not know even posted a video of it on YouTube.
  • I know what it's like to eat my words.
  • I know what it's like to stay awake for nearly 3 days, in London, with a buddy.
  • I know what it's like to try to figure out how to shift with my left hand, on a racetrack, in a Porsche, in England.
  • I know what it's like to drive a Formula 3 car.
  • I know what it's like to lead a good friend to Jesus.
  • I know what it's like to crash a $60,000 wakeboard boat, that I don't own.

 

Dinner with Molly Ringwald

OK, we didn't actually have dinner with her, and this entry isn't one that I planned on, because it happened tonight.

Erin, Elias and I were having dinner at the Rio Cafe, which is along the riverfront in Old Sacramento (the old "Wild West" part of Sacramento, CA). We were on the patio eating dinner, and I took Elias to the potty. On our way back (he was walking himself) he saw a little girl (later we found out that she was almost 2) and they locked eyes. He kept walking, eyes locked, until he walked right into a chair. I carried him back to our table. Soon, the little girl was walking around us with her older sister, bringing Elias crayons and such as gifts. Her Momma, a redhead, came over where her two girls were talking with us, seemingly to check us out. We talked and she went back to her table, leaving her daughters to talk with Elias, safely in view of where she was having dinner. We talked with the 7 year old a good bit. Very smart little girl, so I told her Mom that she was a wonderful, smart and beautiful little girl. Mom seemed to genuinely appreciate it. Later, our waiter said under his breath, "Do you know who that is?" "Nope", we replied. "Molly Ringwald". "No way! That's awesome!" I of course snuck out the iPhone to run a check on Wikipedia and sure enough - the kids were the same names, the up-to-date pic was definitely her... it was Molly Ringwald. Very cool. She and her family (husband too) left before we did, but later they walked to the area behind us for her daughter to wave at Elias one more time. I picked him up so he could see, and Molly and her husband were very friendly and laughing at Elias and how cute he was being. It was wild this time, because Erin and I knew who she was this time. Seemed like a very happy person with three (twin to the little girl stayed at the table) beautiful children. That's that one!

Ping-Pong with Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson Wins the MastersA few years ago, we worked on designing a golf course with Phil Mickelson. At dinner late one night in Highlands, NC Phil heard me talking to someone else at the table about loving to play ping-pong. He immediately chimed in with a challenge. We were all staying at the Old Edwards Inn, a 5 Star, ultra-posh resort there in town. By the time of his challenge, which was $100 a game, it was nearing midnight. We had been working all day, but apparently the prospect of competition was enough for him to stay up. I called my brother, who lived down the mountain near Sylva, and told him the situation. He was so cool. He quickly put on some pants and drove to the Wal-Mart in Sylva, picked up a ping-pong table and some tools, and headed an hour up the mountain to the Inn.  Once he got to us, we quickly set to assembling the table in the lobby of the hotel. Only someone like Phil Mickelson could’ve gotten this worked out. Phil’s left-handed spin was unlike anything I’d ever seen. He beat me over and over, rolling up his winnings after each game into $100 rolls and lining them up under the net, saying that I only had to beat him once to get it all back. By 5am, and much money later, I had only won a few games. He was so competitive. If you know me, you know that I love to trash talk, even if I’m losing. He loved it too. He was a good sport after whipping my tail all night and taking all my money. He did sign my golf bag. He told me that he was signing it “Jared, I hope your golf game is better than your pong game.” But when I saw the bag, I saw that he left it at, “Jared, Good luck with your game.”  As he looked up after I read it, he said, “You and I will always know what I’m talking about.” He later invited me to go to the Masters with him as his guest, which is another Crazy But True story for another day.