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I Guess I Will by Ray Printer Friendly

I wonder if I値l write about this. That痴 my first thought as I dangle about twenty feet above the unforgiving concrete. I知 just being dramatic, of course葉he concrete is neither forgiving, nor unforgiving. It痴 just there, like always. The difference is, I知 not generally concerned about if it痴 going to break my ankles or my knees or my back. The difference is, I知 not generally dangling twenty-five feet above it.

If I do, I知 going to use the word, 電angle. And I知 going to call the concrete 砥nforgiving.

This is all in a split-second of course. Right after I missed my step, and right before I pull myself onto some solid footing. See, because I work for a couple of cheap-asses, I don稚 have stairs or even a ladder if I need to get stuff off the top shelf of my warehouse. By shelves, I mean these things:

They池e big.

So what I have to do is get on my forklift, raise it up, and then climb up the back of it. Usually, I値l lift a pallet up, too, so I have something to stand on once I get up there. Today, though, I wasn稚 bringing anything down with me. There was some loose plastic wrap that had gotten caught on something and was hanging down in front of everything on the first and second shelves. I figured I would just crawl up there right quick, yank the plastic off of whatever it was stuck on, and climb back down again.

This plan was working out quite well until I tried to make my way down, and missed my step. It kind of sounds dramatic, but it wasn稚, really: I was holding onto the big metal bars on my forklift, so it痴 not like I was diving across a chasm or anything. I just missed my step. One second, I was lowering myself down from the forklift forks, the next second, I知 dangling there, wondering if I知 going to write about this.

填nforgiving is a little too dramatic, I think. Maybe I should explain how this situation isn稚 all that dramatic. I swung there for a second, trying to look down, but my shirt was in the way. It痴 from my really fat boy days, a giant green thing that Trey once called my tent-shirt. It痴 big and green, and really does look like a tent, especially when you drape it over a fat customer service guy, which is what I was when I bought it. Although I知 nowhere near svelte these days, I知 not quite as big as I was, so the shirt tends to billow around a bit when I do things like dangle.

After a second or two, I was able to see where my foot needed to be. Unfortunately, from where I was dangling, it meant that I was going to have to swing a little and drop down onto the top of my forklift. I don稚 like that. The top of the forklift consists of a bunch of two-inch metal bars, spaced about six inches apart.

Remember that time you wrote about how Fate was your bitch? You gotta stop doing things like that.

I swung over and landed safely on the top of the forklift. Ha! Fate痴 my bitch!

I climbed down and went about my work.


I wonder if I知 going to write about this.

It痴 my own fault this time, and I can barely believe that I致e managed to allow myself to get into this situation. I知 standing on the top shelf, looking across a two-foot gap from me to the forks of my forklift, and looking down at the twenty-foot gap between me and the concrete.

Two feet really isn稚 that much, which is probably why I found it so easy to step from the forks onto the security that the shelves had to offer. A box had tipped over, and I had climbed up to right it so that I could store another pallet there. I hadn稚 taken the time to get the forklift exactly lined up, which is why I said it was my fault that I知 in this situation.

See, when you池e stepping from a forklift fork onto a giant shelf, a two-foot gap doesn稚 seem like that big of a deal. When you池e about to step back, and you realize that there痴 nothing to grab to balance yourself once you clear that gap, that痴 when it seems like a big deal. One two-foot distance onto the five-inch wide fork, and then another four feet before I can grab the metal bars that are meant to keep crap from falling back on top of you if you池e using the forklift as it was meant to be usedas opposed to using it as dumb-ass痴 elevator.

If I wrote about this, and I wrote about the time when this kind of thing happened様ike, ten minutes ago悠壇 probably have enough for a full post. I wonder if I could make it sound exciting.

I stepped across the gap with one foot, my other foot landed right where it was supposed to, and then I was safely holding onto the metal bars. My heart was beating like an abusive husband, but it really wasn稚 very exciting. Like if you saw it in a movie, you壇 probably be more concerned about why had they suddenly cued the exciting music than you would be about the safety of the hero.


I wonder if I値l write about this.

I don稚 like power saws. I imagine I don稚 like power saws kind of like how Batman doesn稚 like guns. Maybe that痴 a little too dramatic. Imagine you were a little kid, and every weekend, some guy just walked up and held a knife to your mother痴 throat. He didn稚 do it menacingly, really, it was just what he did. Sometimes, but not often, he would draw a little blood. Usually he just stood there with the knife to her neck, letting you know that at any moment, he might kill her.

You might not like that man. That痴 basically my relationship with power saws.

My mom builds things. I致e probably mentioned before about how one day I went to school, and when I came home, there was a giant doorway where a kitchen wall had been when I left. Sometimes there would be a wall where there wasn稚 one before. Sometimes there would be a fence. Or a bunk bed. Whatever.

My mom builds things. She痴 very good at it. How she goes about doing it, I wouldn稚 go so far as to classify that as 堵ood. I would classify that as terrifying. Her favorite tool in the entire world is her Skil Saw. You know those guys that juggle chainsaws? My mom never did that, but if she had tried, I don稚 think it would have worried me any more than watching her wield her Skil Saw.

She didn稚 like how the safety guard always got in the way, so she took it off. Which meant that if you were sawing along and hit a knothole or a nail or something, and the saw shot back, instead of getting a painful bump on your leg, you壇 get one of those wooden legs that pirates seem to enjoy so much.

The cord was bright orange, marked by a series of black, electrical-tape patches, from the various times the saw had shot back and sliced through it.

She didn稚 use this saw as it was meant to be used. 鄭s it was meant to be used, is like this: You put your wood there on your saw horse or whatever, you move your safety guard that covers the blade and that causes the saw to turn off if it catches in the wood and shoots back at you. You put on your safety goggles, you lean down a bit, and you cut your wood.

I once came home to find my mother standing on a ladder, barely retaining her balance as she leaned out, holding the Skil Saw with one hand, and cut a board that was above her head. I once saw her running it through a wall at foot level, about three inches away from her ankle. It caught on a wall stud and jumped back, barely missing her foot, and cut through the cord instead. While she went to look for her electrical tape, I hid her saw, and was actually able to put up with her badgering for an entire sixteen hours before I gave it back. And by badgering, I mean, 迭ay, I need my saw. Ray, I need my saw. Where壇 you put my saw? I have to finish this. Where痴 my saw at? Over and over and over, nonstop, for hours on end. I walked into the kitchen the next morning, before I even had a chance to pour a cup of coffee: 的知 going to need my saw today, Ray. Where痴 it at? You better tell me. I need my saw.

Anyway, that痴 why I hate circular saws. And because I hate circular saws, that痴 why I致e been putting off the task of cutting up a bunch of PVC pipe at work for like, six months. Today, I finally decided to suck it up and cut the pipe. There were four sections of twenty-foot pipe that had to be cut up into two-foot sections, as well as a bunch of one-foot pieces that had to be cut in half. The only reason I finally decided to cut this shit up is because the twenty-foot sections are in my way pretty much constantly. Pool season has arrived, for the most part, which means that my warehouse is packed full of crap, and every time I try to get to anything, I have to move that lousy pipe.

So I finally bit the bullet, I drug out the tools, the eye protection, the ear plugs, the pipe, and I cut that shit all up. I cleaned up, and was just picking some of the last PVC bits off of my sweaty skin when my boss showed up. He looked into the box, at the nicely-stacked sections of newly-cut pipe.

典hat痴 the wrong pipe, he said. I looked at him, one eyebrow raised. 的知 not kidding, he said. 典hat痴 the wrong pipe.

I wonder if I値l write about this. I shouldn稚 have quit smoking. Times like that, they池e perfect times to slowly remove your pack of cigarettes from your pocket, slowly tap a cigarette out of the pack, slowly replace the pack, slowly light your cigarette, slowly take a deep drag, and slowly exhale. You do all of that slowly, because if you take your time, the urge to kill kind of dissipates.

My boss just stands there, looking at me. You can tell he really wishes I would feel bad about cutting up a shitpile of the wrong pipe. He bought this shit back in December. He has seen it around my warehouse揺as, in fact, gone out of his way to track it down and point it out to me when I move it to an out-of-the way corner to forget about it. 展e really need this cut up at some point, he has told me.

So I don稚 feel bad. I知 just glad that I got it cut. The saw is safely tucked away in its protective covering (a trash bag, because that痴 how my place of business rolls), and by next year, when it痴 time to cut pipe again, I値l be long gone.


I致e seen her standing there before. She used to have a sign that something about having three children and something about please help. I致e never understood why she doesn稚 walk a block down and get a job at the McDonald痴 that is always hiring. You can tell her clothes are from a consignment shop, but she doesn稚 look dirty. She doesn稚 look like the type of person who would walk in and be asked to leave.

My princess and I have had this talk before, about what would it take for us to work at McDonald痴. We池e both of the opinion that if we had children, if we had little people depending on us, and we couldn稚 find a job anywhere else, that痴 when we would get a job flipping burgers and asking if people wanted fries with that.

My princess, she doesn稚 like the idea of crappy hours and standing on concrete all day and coming home smelling like fried everything. I don稚 like the idea of proving the faithless right about what I壇 end up doing with my life.

The lady, I haven稚 seen her in a couple of months. She痴 back today, though, and she looks to be about five months pregnant. I知 not a professional about judging pregnant chicks, but she has the pregnant-girl maternity overalls thing going on, and it seems like month five or six that that starts happening. I just stare at her belly as she walks by. I don稚 even look at her sign, although after the light changes and I begin my drive home, I get really curious about whether it had something about being pregnant.

As I知 waiting there, I just look at her belly, and I think about how she really needs to stop having sex. I think about how expensive children are, and I think about how doctor bills alone are probably murder. I mean, I can稚 even afford allergy shots, much less the medical bills involved in child bearing.

I wonder how she痴 going to be able to afford all of that, if this is all she has謡alking up and down the street, begging for money. And it suddenly dawns on me that welfare probably fits into that equation somewhere. I realize that there痴 a good chance that I will be helping to pay for her medical bills. I won稚 be helping much, as I don稚 really make that much傭ut some. I realize that痴 a pretty asshole thought to have. I mean, I see some poor woman standing on the street, begging for money, pregnant, with a life that痴 probably harder than anything I値l ever have to go through, and one of my first thoughts is about my tax dollars.

I wonder if I値l write about this.


posted 4/28/07


Comments:
Entered By Leslie From Texas
2007-04-28 16:25:20

Hmm, as we speak my children/your beloved nephews are out at Mom's helping hang sheetrock in the bunkhouse (yes, I realize they're only 7 and 4, but it's evidently all part of the Sleepover-At-Gammy's package.) I think I'll call and remind the boys about nifty 911 and to stay away from Gammy's tools. Oh yeah, and sorry about how I read the entire post and made it about me and mine. Who knew you were a death-defying delivery guy? Glad you're safe, but --and I write this with the utmost sisterly affection -- quit being a dumbass at work, you're no good to us dead!


Entered By Ray From Austin
2007-04-28 17:23:04

Quit being a dumbass at work? That's the first step down a treacherous path. Next I'll have to quit being a dumbass in the grocery store, and then at home. Soon, I'll lose my entire identity. Nah, I think I'll just have to start being a more careful dumbass.


Entered By Youah sistah from anotha Mutha From NH
2007-05-04 21:49:03

Ray.... the employer in me is mortified that your workplace condones risky forklift maneuvering, yet the sister in me is giggling at your silliness. AS IF having a smoke would change a damn thing about the situation (except the bot-chocking-your-boss-to-death thing) AND YET... you add in your rant on the pregnant homeless woman and I get all "I'm adopted and I turned out okay" and hope against hope that your sign-holder has enough selflessness to admit that if she's panhandling for change, she probably can't manage to raise a catfish, nevermind a kid. And who's betting WITH me on that? I'm thinkin' not so much. Do I sound jaded?


Entered By Diane From NH
2007-05-04 21:50:05

that was supposed to be "NOT choking your boss..." Stupid fingernails.


Entered By Ray From Austin
2007-05-11 16:28:07

Considering her last sign said something like, "Three children and homeless," I doubt she's that selfless. And as far as I'm concerned, "jaded" is just another way of saying, "in the know."



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