Looking for a Place to Happen

If you Google the word “accident-prone,” you don’t get John’s picture as the top hit, even though its inclusion would solidify the site’s reputation as the top search engine.  Rather, you are directed to www.thefreedictionary.com/accident-prone where you find the following definition: Having or susceptible to having a greater than average number of accidents or mishaps.  With or without that site’s confirmation, by anyone’s definition, John is an accident looking for a place to happen most of the time.

I think his proclivity for mishaps is caused, to a large degree, by his lack of patience.  For example, we were putting up new wallpaper just a few weeks after our wedding when he decided that the razor blade in the trimmer was dull and needed replaced.  Instead of examining the tool for the proper release mechanism, he grabbed the blade with his pliers and ripped it loose from the handle.  Unfortunately, the “safety” side of the razor remained firmly in the handle of the trimmer exposing the other side of the razor blade as he pulled it across his thumb in a valiant attempt to separate that appendage from the rest of his hand.

Even though the cut was almost to the bone, John and his mother argued with me about the need for an emergency room visit.  Instead, they wrapped his thumb tightly against his hand with bandages, and we finished putting up the wallpaper.  The next day I didn’t take any pleasure in his pain or laugh at the odd shade of gray he turned when he jumped off the tractor and caught his thumb on the steering wheel.  This time he didn’t argue with me about seeing the doctor who gave him a lecture for not coming to the emergency room the day before.

John’s most recent misadventure occurred last weekend while we were splitting wood.  We were working on some really big pieces of ash that weighed between 75 and 150 pounds each.  John was running the equipment, and I was catching the split pieces and throwing them in the shed when he suddenly stopped the splitter and began to yell in pain.  I quickly looked at both ends of the splitter to make sure nothing was severed or caught on either end which are the most common causes of injury.  As I surveyed the log, I quickly saw the problem.  As the piece of wood started to split, it rotated slightly and a broken branch sticking out on the opposite side had forced his finger into the opening where the wood was beginning to split.  When John felt the pressure on his finger, he immediately backed up the cylinder and the decreased pressure caused the log to contract, smashing his finger inside the wood.

Given the fact that most accidents involving a hydraulic splitter result in severed limbs, he was pretty lucky, but at that moment he wasn’t feeling like a lottery winner.  I ran to the garage to look for a pry bar and spotted something that looked vaguely like a railroad spike but turned out to be a tooth from a harrow.  I have no idea why he had a harrow tooth laying there, but the good news was that it fit in the narrowed opening in the log, and he was able to leverage enough room to extract his finger.

The finger didn’t appear broken, but it was flattened and split open to the point that I thought X-rays might be a good idea.  Even without his mother to back him up, he once again nixed the idea of medical attention.  I’m happy to report that he didn’t re-injure this finger, and the quick application of ice kept the swelling to a minimum.  As he was examining the damage, he said, “I think that’s the same finger that was cut so badly that time I was lighting a brush pile on fire.  I jerked my hand out and caught it on a piece of cane.  See the old scar right above where this new scar is going to be.”  Wow, he really is an accident…you know how the rest of it goes.

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to RSS feed