Posts Tagged I knew it all

My Not-So-Patient Ways

Yep, I’ve pulled some stunts, and many were due to my rebellious and not-so-patient ways. Hey, I already knew everything. Such was the case when my grandpa taught me to climb poles.

I was nineteen and working for the local cable TV company. The job was cool, except for that big heavy ladder. It only took a few days for me to know I needed to learn how to climb poles, so I wouldn’t have to pack that ladder back and forth to the truck

One afternoon, I told Bunk (my grandpa) I needed to learn how to climb poles. We got his hooks and belt and headed out to the light pole by the storage shed. Bunk explained the basics, and after a few tries, I had it all figured out. I’d go up a few feet, then jump back down. It was easy! Bunk tried to get me to go a little higher, but I saw no need. “I got, it, Bunk,” I assured him.

“Now, wait a minute,” he said. “I need to show you how to get dow…“ I waved him off, took the belt and hooks off then sauntered toward my car with them. I was a lineman, now.

The next morning, I drove to my first install, put on the hooks, and up that pole I went. Once I was up there, I snapped the safety belt around the pole, leaned back and surveyed my kingdom. Man, this was awesome! I was awesome!

WichitaLineman.tif

I did the install, then as I was putting my tools in the pouches on my belt a sudden realization hit me; I didn’t have the slightest idea how to get down. My mind raced back to all the things Bunk had said, and I recalled those last words, “I need to show you how to get dow…”. Oh, guff! He’d been trying to get me to slow down, so he could tell me how to get down.

I was only up about twenty feet—it looked like ninety, and I think I stayed there—frozen in place—for fifteen or twenty minutes. Then, resigned to the fact I was going to have to try and get down, I went for broke. I yanked my right hook out of the pole, my left knee bent allowing that hook to split out of its grip, and I was on my way to the ground. Then the belt caused me to slam into the pole, which at the time I thought was a good thing, and I wrapped my arms around the pole and hung on for dear life, which slowed my decent, but not much. I slid in jerky motions—fast, then slow, then fast again, to the ground. Did I mention there was a drainage ditch on the street side of the pole?

I hit the ground, tumbled sideways into said ditch, landing upside down with the belt twisted and holding me tight against the pole. My shirt was torn to shreds.

I stayed there for several minutes, hoping no one had seen me fall, then started wishing someone had seen me, and would come help me get out of the ditch. Finally, I managed to undo the safety strap, then slid to the bottom of the ditch. I finally got to my feet, knees shaking, and my face, chest and stomach literally on fire. I was scraped and scratched from my cheek to my waist and there must’ve been a hundred large, creosote splinters in me!

I got most of the splinters out, and somehow struggled through the rest of the day—I used the ladder—but by the time I got home, I was miserable. Bunk helped me get the rest of the splinters out, chuckling the entire time. I’m pretty sure he was laughing at me, not with me.

That weekend, we went out back again, and Bunk gave me a thorough lesson on how to climb poles. He also showed me how to get down after I’d gone up. I listened intently to every word he said.

 

Comments (2)