|How Much Ya Benchin'?
||[Apr. 27th, 2007|11:21 am]
I should have died, and this is why...
My senior year in high school I got my first legal, paying job. I'd had jobs before, but they were either off the books, flat out illegal or paid in the form of favors or comped services.
My dad was semi-retired and was working as a mechanic at the local Wheel Horse dealership and small engine repair shop. I'm no super-wrench, but I could tear apart a 5 hp engine and slap it back together, rebuild a carb, etc., and Pop thought it would be fun for us to work together.
One day after I'd been there a few months and learned a few more things, Pop told me to pull the transmission out of a cub cadet riding mower. I put the big chocks in front of the front wheels, lifted the back end and kicked the jack stand under so I could take the housing off the tranny.
You should note the two procedural flaws in the last sentence. I KICKED (not carefully placed, mind you) the ONE jack stand into place.
So, there I am, with a ratchet wrench lying with my head and chest under the ass end of this small riding lawnmower. These nuts were taking a lot of persuading to get off the bolts. I could feel that the whole thing was moving a little bit when I'd start a new one. There are seven or eight, if I recall correctly.
I'm on the fourth or fifth and some kind of instinct (finally) kicked in. I don't know what tipped me off to this day, but I KNEW the thing was falling. Now, my hands are already pretty much in the bench press position. Next thing I know, I've dropped the wrench and am holding onto the axle in each hand because the ONE jack stand I had KICKED into position had slipped itself completely out of the way of the frame.
I'm lying on my back, holding the ass end of the tractor 8-10 inches off my chest. Okay, I think, I'll push it up and get it off me. Wrong. Those big assed chocks I'd carefully placed in front of the front wheels were doing their job just perfectly to spec.
I don't know if I'd mentioned it before, but my old man was a talker of the highest order. Strangers hated being behind him in line because he'd strike up a 10 minute conversation with the clerk. He would talk to anyone about anything for as long as they cared to chat. Pop genuinely liked people, liked hearing what they had to say and was a good conversationalist, himself. Of course, on this day, that nearly got me killed.
Someone had come into the shop for a part and Dad was gabbing away with them in the front section, which was connected to the shop by a single doorway at the other end of the building. I'm straining so hard I can't really yell. A primordial grunt is about all I have to work with. Also, the radio is on about 10 feet from where I'm lying holding this getting heavier by the second lawn tractor up off my chest by the rear axle.
I don't know how long I was lying there. A few minutes, certainly, since it was about a quarter to five when I started to rip the tranny cover, and I figured it was anywhere from 7 to 10 minutes before I got into this stupid state. One good thing about Pop, not even he would keep the shop open just to gab. So I knew all I had to do was keep this thing up there until five.
I was reading my obit in my head: Local Boy Crushed by Garden Tractor. yada yada yada, services for the clumsy idiot will be held at Brown Funeral Home with a potluck following in the First Church of Christ basement. Wipe that smirk off your face and bring a dish to share.
While I was wondering who would get my record collection I heard Pop coming back. I threw everything I had into shooting out the loudest grunt I could muster. He was close enough now to hear it and came over, noticed the situation and hoisted the damn tractor up so I could scoot out.
"What are you doing screwin' around like that. Don't you know that's dangerous?"
I looked at Pop like he'd just shat out of his mouth. "I wasn't screwing around! The damn jack stand slipped. I've been laying under that fucking thing for a good five minutes (really it was probably three, but you know...)"
"Well put your arms down."
At this point I realized my arms were in full Frankenstein position. I tried to put them down but I couldn't because everything in my upper body was cramped. Christ, I thought, this is just what I fucking need.
Long story not too much longer, it took about 10 minutes before I could lower my arms. After the next morning's unbridled lactic acid agony, it took two more days before I could lift them. That's okay, though; ishouldhavedied.