Thursday, June 24, 2010

Every Day's a School Day

Jilda and I wrote a song with our friend Tracy Reynolds called Life 101. In the chorus it says “sometimes you get the test, before you get the lesson”.  I was reminded this week just how true those words are.
I’m planning some foundation work on the barn and our old storage shed so I bought a spiffy new concrete mixer. On the way home from the tool store, I stopped by a local hardware store and bought four eighty pound bags of concrete to get started.
I almost busted a gut loading the bags and I knew I didn’t want to lug each sack a few hundred feet to the shed, so I fetched the wheelbarrow for the job.
My old wheelbarrow has a flat tire so I used the new garden tool which is a combination wheelbarrow and cart. It’s ergonomically designed with two wheels in front and a handle that is a single bar across the back so that you can pull or push it. It’s perfect for most small hauling jobs.
So anyway, I positioned the wheelbarrow/cart at the back of the truck and I then hoisted the eighty pound bag of concrete off the back of the truck and dropped it into the wheelbarrow.
Now I didn’t take physics in school, but if I had, I would have understood things like gravity, force, balance, and Newton’s third Law of Motion which says - To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The action and reaction act on two different bodies simultaneously.  
Having missed those lessons was costly because as soon as I dropped those eighty pounds onto the front of that wheelbarrow, the front plunged downward, and the handle sprang up with remarkable speed and whacked me across the nose so hard that it made me see stars.
I decided to sit down right there in the driveway and think about life, liberty and the pursuit of knowledge. It also gave me a moment to shake those stars out of my head.
I looked around to see if any of the neighbors saw the mishap. 
Doing something stupid is bad enough, but when someone sees you do something stupid, you not only have to deal with the mishap, but you have to deal with the embarrassment too.
As it turns out, all I had to deal with was excruciating pain, bleeding nose, and the possibility of having two black eyes.  The headache eventually subsided, so all in all, I think I was lucky, and I learned something valuable.
Someone could have told me a thousand times to be careful when loading heavy objects on wheelbarrows, and I probably would not have learned a thing. But getting decked by a wheelbarrow handle traveling at the speed of light brought the lesson home.
I can promise you this, I will, from this day forward, be very careful when loading heavy objects on ANYTHING!
The chorus to the song I mentioned above goes like this:
Every day is a school day
No matter how old you are
Sometimes the test comes before the lesson
Welcome to life 101.


  1. Great stuff! I learn those lessons seemingly every day as well. One of the things I say a lot is, "if the goal is to learn something new everyday, can I go home now?"

    Hopefully your relationship with the cart has been repaired and the cement work went well.


  2. Anonymous9:44 AM

    I hope you gave the cart a good kick in return. Sounds really painful!

    Hope you are getting better!

  3. Natural consequences are the best teachers! Hope you are feeling better!

  4. Your post brought back some fond memories. When I was in high school, I labored for a brick mason. One of my duties was mixing mortar. I was standing on the back of a small dump truck shoveling sand into the mixer. A clump of wet sand got stuck in one of the mixing blades and was not blending into the rest of the mix. I thought it a good idea to stick my shovel in there to release the clog. I aced high school physics and went on to major in that subject in college. That knowledge was of no value in preventing this little bit of stupidity. The mixer grabbed my shovel and made one revolution as I stood there watching. When the handle of the shovel came back around, it caught me under the armpit and tossed me from the truck.

  5. Anonymous2:10 AM

    Ouch! lol... well, I'm glad you came away from that experience with the lesson learned - and not any serious damage! lol

  6. Damn, that is the worst. Twice in my life, I have slipped on ice and fallen on my butt. The first time, there was nobody to see it, and the second time, a dude yelled "DOWN GOES FRAZIER!" and laughed at me.

    The second time was significantly worse.


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