Finding the silver lining
Mac “Yetti” Cox’s horrific crash furthered his quest to connect
Mac “Yetti” Cox is fortunate to be here. In fact, he surfaced from his nearly fatal motorcycle accident with a new lease on life.
Despite his life saving helmet, he suffered 10 broken bones in his face, including his eye sockets, a broken tibia and fibula, five broken ribs, his left wrist was snapped in two places and his upper jaw was smashed. He also punctured the bottom of his lip and his jaw. A steel rod and a metal plate now hold some of his bones together.
But the pain in his leg overshadowed all other feelings of discomfort. Doctors told him he would still be on crutches until spring, but he is now maneuvering on a single crutch and doing physical therapy. He is eyeing the mountain with hope and determination for this winter.
Cox does not like having any crutches in life – in the literal or figurative senses. He is determined to live as completely as possible. That was a goal before his accident and now that desire has hit a fever pitch.
Change creates a reaction, in this case it was reckoning. The crash that came with such force and with such swiftness was bound to create ripples.
He speaks frankly about who he was before and who he is now; the friends he lost and the friends he gained; and the habits he left behind him. Now, he begins his quest to understand life and his greater purpose.
“It’s my third chance at life. To myself I did die. Something... allowed me to continue. There’s something that I need to figure out for myself in this world. That’s why I’m here,” he said.
The helmet saved his life, but it was also one size too big. So, the strap sliced into his neck and cut into his trachea. One of his lungs collapsed, the other had a blood clot. He was not breathing or responsive until he was moved. A SUV cut him off to pull a U-turn when they were traveling at 60 miles per hour, he smacked into the back of it and flew over 100 yards in the air before landing on his head.
He has no recollection of it. His first memory after the accident was coming-to in a helicopter completely naked with all female EMTs working on him. “This is a dream,” he told himself before passing back out. He came-to again in the hospital, a fuzzy memory of nurses explaining he had been in a motorcycle accident. “I don’t wreck my motorcycle,” he scoffed before fading out again.
After day four, he was just on ibuprofen aside from medication to help him sleep at night. He was firm with the doctors – whatever the pain, he did not want opiates.
Big Sky friends – people he refers to as family – contributed to paying for those early medical bills thanks to a GoFundMe account set up while he was still in the hospital. That money spared him stress during an overwhelming time.
Before Big Sky, he would live life on a three year plan. Move to a place, assimilate, establish a “wolf pack”, move on after three years to a new place, assimilate…
There is an honesty and gentleness to him, but he is surprised at how many friends he has accumulated in life.
“I’m a quiet person, I don't like to waste my words, but I have befriended a lot of people in my days, which has been interesting,” he said. He now has groups of friends across the nation.
Cities make him nervous. Too many people live lives too busy for real connection. He craves connection. It is an interesting turn of events in his adulthood. During his angst-ridden youth, it was the opposite. He pushed people away. He did many things that were bad for him. He wanted to be separate and to forget. Now reflecting on those days as a kid, he knows why.
His father, a professional wrestler, died when he was 11 years old.
“Now that I’m 30 I’ve put someone in the ground every single year since I was 11. So, that’s where I was tired of feeling for a bit,” he said.
Friends have told him he can be a pillar of light in the world and illuminate a path for others. He does not believe in telling anyone how to live, but he does want to show that it is possible to deal with the challenges that life presents and still be happy.
His favorite quote is from a song called, “Audience with the Devil” by Hilltop Hoods: “Mankind has progressed to a point in its dimwitted history where life has been drained of all of its enchantments.”
He loves the lyric because it reminds him to seek out the enchantments of life.
“You can’t let society and the shade of mankind diminish your dreams or stop you from wanting to be something or do something,” he said. People are more fixated on presenting a good story on social media than actually living, he noted.
“No one adventures anymore. People, they don’t live life. You get sucked into the routine of a 9-5 working a job that you don’t like to pay rent at a place that you don’t want to live, but you only live there because it’s close to the work that pays the rent. So, you end up in this vicious cycle,” he said.
He suggested that people need to make a conscious effort to make room for connection in their lives. Ditch the phones and the Ipads, the televisions and radios and just go sit around a campfire, swap stories and look at the stars like they did in the old days.
He speaks fondly of his mother and expresses pride in her current adventure – zooming around Canada on a motorcycle.
She became pregnant with twins at 16 and became a police officer out of high school. Twenty years on the job and she is now off living her life. “She did what she could so we could live,” he said of himself and his twin sister. Still, this is the first time he has seen her truly happy and doing something for herself. He wants everyone to know that level of happiness.
Big Sky broke his three year habit of moving. He has lived in the area for seven years now and has no plans of leaving.
“What I love about Big Sky is if you have good intentions and a good heart, the mountain takes care of you,” he said. “I just want to keep spreading love. There is so much shade in the world. I am trying to live my life after this wreck to have my love for people resonate in the world.”