Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Worked to Death: A video

I was not always an effete academic. Back in the late '70s and early '80s, I was in the construction bidness, a journeyman, Class A (non-residential) carpenter, working on bridges and high-rises. During that period of about 6 years, I nearly got killed on the job on three occasions that I know of. So the following has a special poignancy for me.

Lucky me! Just a few close calls:
#1: 1978--Climbing onto a scaffolding with my tools to go hang fascia board on the MicroSoft campus, my foot slipped on a patch of ice and I fell about 25 feet. I landed in a partially-frozen mud puddle that was about a foot deep, which absorbed most of the energy of the fall. It knocked the wind outta me, but in a little while, I got up, and picked up my tools, and went back up.

#2: 1979--Working on a bank in Bellevue Wa, the boom of a concrete-pumping crane over-balanced on it's pads, and toppled almost on top of me. I was tied-off, and jumped out of the way into space. I got a little cut up on rebar wire, and contused by the sudden stop against a column, but otherwise was okay.

#3: 1981: On a bridge outside of Santa Barbara, on the hiway over the mountains, I was jacking-up the bridge's falsework to grade, when the jack shifted an 1/8th of an inch and spat the 2-foot-square of half-inch steel that was between the load and the stud of the jack in my direction. It missed me by less than a foot. It sailed across the canyon like a deadly frisbee, close on 200 feet, and dug out a big chunk of sandstone. It happened so fast, if it had hit me, I'd have been dead before I knew what happened. I quit that job after that one...

1 comment:

  1. I always tell these kids and everybody for that matter how fast shit can bite you. The last one for me was doing a header backwards on to concrete. Boss thought I was probably dead as he saw it happen. Wasn't my fault entirely but it was my choice to take the position I did on the vehicle I fell out of. And then we go back to work most of the time. How dumb is that. I'm fucking tired of working.