Tool Stories

  Cautionary Tale by Scott


Rule number one...

Keep your head on straight!

Early one morning I was up in the bone yard searching for a little valve. Whatever I needed it for was clearly not important enough to overshadow what happened next.

I was very sleepy for one reason or other, and it was kind of cold and I hadn't worn enough fortification or had enough coffee.

I scrounged back into the big mess of twisted piled metal and plastic and wood sticking out it all directions, climbing when I had to and threading my way past skin or even bone removing obstructions and found my valve, only it was still attached to piece of flexible pipe.  Not wanting to go back for a hacksaw, bolt cutter or other safer implement (big mistake, DOH), I pulled out a Carl Schleiper Eye brand, stag handled trapper from my pocket.  This is a knife of good Solingen high carbon steel with a 4" handle.

The hose was cold and old and brittle so even though the knife was razor sharp, resistance was in the air.  Like a further idiot I pushed hard.  The hose suddenly flew apart and the 3 1/2" blade buried to the hilt in my leg!

Instant shock set in as I jerked it free and just stood there panting steam into the air, blood making a big warm wet spot on the front of my jeans and oozing down.  Luckily it didn't hit an artery but no shortage of blood flow regardless.  Soon as my eyes cleared a little I looked for the truck and my way out of the tangle. It was about 40 yards away.

I braced myself for the trip and in that next instant found something out I never knew.  A muscle that has been punctured will refuse to work, whether you will it to or no.  My leg was a rubber!  It wouldn't support any weight at all.  So now I had to hop and lean on sharp metal and broken wood etc. and drag the leg pouring blood.  It seamed like it took forever, minor injuries galore to my hands and arms when pulling or leaning and sudden shifts in the mayhem of material.  Light headed from blood loss, going... going.

Finally I made it to the truck and remembered it was a big 4wd and so I had to climb in, wiggling like a snake on my belly while pulling against the wheel.  Got up behind the wheel finally and them remembered my right leg didn't work so had to further move to put my left in line with the gas pedal and clutch both.  I was lucky the truck was pointed downhill because I don't know if I could have got it moving at all.  But move it did.

When I rolled up the plant a few minutes later a friend ran out and started right in good naturedly "What the hell took you so long and where's the valve and...  ohhhhhhhhhhh crap!"  Me sitting there drunkenly in a puddle of blood.

He jerked open the door and unceremoniously shoved me to the far side away from the wheel and jumped in and we were off to 'ol Doc's office in a flash, him yelling back out the window to another guy to call ahead and have them ready.

And I was the Safety Director!! Imagine the report I got to fill out later.

yours, Scott

August, 2006
in Happy Camp, CA
email:  Scott Grandstaff

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