Monday, September 11, 2006

a limited warranty

Every now and then, some minor incident happens that wakes one up to the fact that accidents can happen to anyone, not just other people. No doubt, every day we pass by death like some oblivious character in a short film who walks down the street with his earbuds in while pianos fall 5 stories onto the side walk precisely where his last step was, cars careen onto the sidewalk and take out plate-glass windows brushing his pant leg, trees fall across the sidewalk tearing down the picket fence and smashing the windshield of a car parked at the curb, but it all misses and he moves on unaware. A few years ago, I went to the electric box to turn off a circuit and since it was already off, I turned it on instead. I headed up to the attic and wired a 220 junction box while it was live. I didn’t realize it until I went back to the electric box to find it turned on.
Sometimes we hear about something that has happened moments after we leave a place or moments before we arrive. Sometimes we do really stupid things that remind us that there is very little difference between stupid things that matter little and stupid things that change your life or even propel you to the next.
Several days ago, Allison and I were getting ready to go to the gym when I pulled my bike out of the garage, went back in and hit the door button and tried to sneak out as the door went down. I had to stoop under the door and step over the infrared beam that would stop the door from closing. I leaned and hopped and hit the ground. This is not an activity for an old guy with a ruptured disk to be involved in. I lay there for a good while before Allison noticed and rushed down from the street probably thinking my heart had stopped or something. Still hurting a week later.
I do stupid things like this all the time. That’s why I am SO careful on my bike. I’ve got to watch out for other people’s stupid things as well.
Today I was working on my truck AGAIN, and of course each time I try to cut corners and make the next repair attempt quicker and easier. I didn’t disconnect the battery. So I remove the alternator, the alt/pulley bracket and proceed to try to pry out a freeze plug. I’ve got a wrench in my left hand and screw driver in my right when my wedding band taps the alternator wire hanging there live. My ring enjoys contacting the wire and conducting the wrench in my palm. I looked like the Emperor Palpatine with sparks shooting from my fingers while I was inadvertently gold plating both the top of my wrench and the alternator wire. Allison will never have to worry about me taking off my wedding band to pick up chicks because I’ve been branded.
Anyway, it’s the latest incident to remind me of my humanity (and lack of good sense). Of course I survived, and am reminded that I’m invincible as long as I’m alive, and I’m only immortal for a limited time.