Ben… A Recovering Idiot (who often relapses) Friend of many (or so he thinks) Foe of one, two or maybe a few (hundred) Grandfather of twelve (and not a bad one in the bunch) Father of six (that he's been notified of) Married for 38 long, arduous and worthwhile years (readers of The Book all agree it’s a miracle) Husband of one (which is fairly unusual for a Mormon) Jack of no trades (and master of none) Inventor (who’s not that successful but keeps the bills paid) Dodged certain death at least 5 (00 times) Broke 27 bones (and wondering which one will fail next) Missing only two fingers (and had just one lobotomy up to this point) Over the hill (and can’t remember if he was ever really on top) Legal owner of Michele and this blog (his favorite?...depends on the day)

An older couple in my neighborhood called me twice in the last month, asking for my help. The lady of the house told me it was urgent. I hustled right over. After looking at the sweating, pale and in-pain hubby, I dialed 911. It looked to me like the dude was having a heart attack. Both of these incidents happened a week apart.

The ambulance arrived and carted him off to the hospital. Twice. After the second trip, they did more extensive tests and determined he had an ulcer.  Good news that it wasn’t his heart.

So the other day, I hoisted a 25-foot long metal beam that weighed around 300 lbs to serve a purpose that I felt needed to be met. I somewhat secured (“secured” probably isn’t the proper description) this long and heavy beam to a point 12 or 14 feet overhead. Perhaps I should say overMYhead. I rested the beam on top of the handle of a pair of vice grips I clamped on a vertical support.

I tried to weld the beam in place but had a bad tip on the end of my welding gun. I told the beam to stay right there and I would be right back. I climbed down the ladder, ran to the store and bought a bag of tips. Got back to the job site and began climbing the ladder. My action on the ladder must have provided just enough vibratory impetus for the overhead beam to slip off the vice grip handles. As I went up, the beam went down, it’s speed much faster than mine.

I noticed an immediate smack down on one side of my head, followed by a season-ending pain attack on my left shoulder. I stumbled off the ladder and started lurching around the work area. I noticed a few drops of blood hitting the concrete as I tried to see through the glaze of pain that has just settled in. This was probably a good time to call my recently-acquired friend the 911 operator.

I have a faint memory of dialing 911. They never showed or even answered the phone. The next 45 minutes were pain-intensive but I’ve had worse.

I began wondering that night why 911 never answered. After looking at my phone, I noticed during the period of agony that I had dialed 119 seven times.

When I got feeling a little better, I began an accident reconstruction survey concerning the incident. When the beam struck my head, luckily it attacked it at an angle on one side of my noggin and glanced off. I’m pretty sure if it had struck me directly on top, I would have been a goner.

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This didn’t bleed much. Most of the red area you see is compressed skin against skull, not a cut but rather a sign of a hard smack down. This is the kind of injury you’d get if somebody whacked you in the head with a big sledge hammer. Notice the safety shoes I wear for maximum protection.

That night, I peeled my shirt off as my shoulder was continuing to hurt. Notice the bump at the point of impact. Again, I’m lucky I didn’t get the full blow on top of my head.

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You know what they say about getting back on a horse if it bucks you off. The next day, I determined I was going to complete the job. This time, I acted like I was a little more afraid of the beam after I hoisted it back up. Just like before, it slipped off and came crashing down. Unlike before, I did some shucking and jiving and managed to avoid any contact with the gravity-inspired monster.

Since it couldn’t find my tender coconut in it’s path, it headed for the next best resting spot. This turned out to be a 2×4 double handrail located directly underneath where my head had been the day before. Crash! Check out the damage incurred on the 2×4.

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After one of my last injuries, my son sent me this picture. He said it reminded him of me…head3

After securing things a bit better the third time around, I got the offending length of steel trouble attached and secure. Never give up. Third times a charm.