Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Bum Leg Four

Bum Leg Four


   Over the years I've managed to do some strange things to my leg. I've gotten cuts in it that would require hundreds of stitches if it was a real one. Anyone ever walk into a trailer hitch and wack your shin? I know why that hurts so bad, I've had creases a quarter inch deep across my shin from doing that and mines fiberglass! I used to carry a fiberglass repair kit in the truck with me. It was supposed to be there in case I needed to do any repairs on boats but I used way more of them fixing my leg. A little Bondo and fiberglass and Dr. Bud could fix pretty well anything that I did to it. It did totally surprise me to how many times that whatever I did would have ended up with a broken leg had it been real, I told Stanley one time that I couldn't believe how much damage I could do it because I sure never did that much to my real leg. After he spend 15 minutes reminding me of the cuts, burses and breaks I had while growing up I had to rethink that and own up to the fact that being graceful was not one of my strong points.

   This one wasn't all that funny when it happened but after everyone calmed down it was.

   I went down to unload a sailboat at a marina in San Diego. it was a marina that we went to all the time so I knew pretty well everyone who worked there including the owner. It was a nice place with nice people but you really didn't to want to be wasting time there cause the owner would tend to get a little excited if he thought you were taking too long.




   I know it might be hard to see with the picture but when we hauled sailboats we use "Irons" to load them with. There are stake pockets along the sides of the trailer and we had 4"x4" hollow steel tubes we used to put pads in, the pads in turn, went against the hull of the boat to keep it in place. Also we had long irons the where we could fit bow and stern pads to hold the boat level. bow pads were a real pain because you had to use two of them plus the pad in order to hold the weight of the boat. There are cups that fit on the up-right irons where you place the ends of the cross bars. you can put the crossbars in while the cups are down close to the trailer deck then pick up one side at a time and install pins to hold them in place. Being young, stupid and without a screwed up back I would just pull the pins, pick up both bars and drop them on the trailer deck (part of the reason I now have a screwed up back).  once you get everything unhooked the marina guys drive a lift over the boat and using some big straps they pick it up and either drive away with the boat or you pull out from under it. It takes longer and is harder to explain it that to do it.

   Anyway. This trip I took my straps off and had the guy drive the lift over the boat. I needed him to pick it up just a little so I could remove all the irons before he moved the boat. We were trying to hustle because the owner was yelling at everyone to hurry up. i stood on the side rail of the trailer waiting for the guys to lift the weight off the boat and as soon as he did I started grabbing the irons and just dropping them on the trailer. I figured I'd get everything down quick and clean things up after the boat was off. Everything was going well until I tried to take the bow pads off. Normally I would just drop the on the trailer deck until the boat was off but this time i need to turn them sideways and drop them into the belly of the trailer to get them out of the way. I guess i was paying as close attention as I should have been because when I swung them sideways my foot slipped off the trail rail. As my foot dropped down I made another mistake and dropped the irons at the same time i was falling backwards.

  I smacked the back of head a pretty good thump on the opposite trailer rail. I think I might have even knocked myself out for just a minuet because the next thing I knew I was looking around and there were lots of people running around yelling. I could even hear the owner yell for someone to call 911. my head hurt but i didn't see any reason to be calling 911. I started to get up and tell everyone not to worry cause I was fine but for some reason I couldn't move my leg (the fake one that is) I looked down to see what the problem was. It seems that when I fell backward and dropped the irons I had somehow, stuck my leg out and the irons had landed on top of it. At least they landed on the fake part so it didn't hurt but seeing what they had done really pissed me off! They hit about half way between my knee and ankle and with the leg being fiberglass, it broke. Not only did it just break it turned up at a 90% angle so looking down I was staring at the toe of my shoe.

   Now I'm pissed and started cussing and kicking the irons trying to get them off my leg. I can still hear the owner yelling about calling 911 and some one else is yelling at me to lay still cause the ambulance is on it's way. I took a couple of seconds for me to focus in on that last one. i looked up from my foot and there was a whole crowd of people standing there. It was the guys that ran the lift who was telling me about the ambulance. That calmed me down enough to tell him that I didn't need an ambulance just get the damn iron off my leg and I be fine. He just kind of stared at me like I was crazy and started telling me to calm down I would be OK as soon as the ambulance got there. I told him again I didn't need and blanking ambulance just get the iron of and help me over to the fiberglass shop and I could fix it. If they didn't think I was crazy before, they sure did now. I even heard one lady saying that I must be in shock and telling who ever she was talking to about needed to raise my head etc. By now I'm embarrassed and getting even more pissed because no one will listen to me (maybe if I'd have just calmed down enough to let them know the leg was fake I'm sure it would have turned out different) so of course I started cussing and kicking more. About that time the ambulance showed up. I can still hear the owner tell the EMT's all about all about how bad my leg is broke and that he thinks I'm in shock and talking crazy.

   I hate to admit it but right then, hearing him talking about it, that's when the light finally came on and I realized that as long as I'd hauling boats to and from the marina no one there knew I had an artificial leg. Even worse, my warped since of humor kicked in and I started laughing. here come the ambulance guys running over all worried and here I am laying in the bed of the trailer, foot sticking straight up in the air laughing my ass off. I'm pretty sure the second ambulance guy was thinking about bringing the straight jacket.

  I did my best to calm down when the got there and moved everyone else out of the way but I was still laughing to hard to get a word out. They both took in the situation and told me to just hang on and they would take care of me. They didn't see any blood and decided the best thing to do was lift the irons off the leg so they could get a better look. One of them told me what they were going to do and apologized that it might hurt, I know he was worried and trying to help and keep me calm but all that did was make me laugh harder. I managed to stop enough to tell him not to worry there was no way he was going to hurt me. They gave each other a look which plainly said "let's keep the crazy guy calm" and picked the irons off my leg. As soon as they moved the irons my pants leg fell down and the jig was up.

  As soon as everyone realized was going on everyone calmed down. I'm pretty sure the first person that started laughing along with me was one of the ambulance guys. I don't know if it was because he was relieved or really thought it was funny but all it took was for him to start then everyone else joined in (except the owner, the ambulance guys had to go check him out and make sure he wasn't having a heart attack)
  The lift driver and one of the yard workers helped me over to the fiberglass shop and in true Okie fashion I the leg bent back down and glassed enough to get me back home. Not only back home, after I finished un-loading the boat there i went to another marina and pick up another one going back to Seattle. got it home and delivered, then went to the Doc. It took a few more trips for the owner to forgive me for almost causing him to have a heart attack but after awhile every time I went in to tell him I was picking up or delivering a boat he's always say "Break a leg", not sure if he was joking or not....