It’s never been my intention to have this blog evolve into a year long catalogue of my many accidents and near death experiences but all I seem to talk about lately are the many mishaps and scrapes that I seem to drop myself into. Maybe I should just post my medical records and have done with it?
Today’s bone crunching event, however, has been a real humdinger.
Picture this. An electrician turns up on site today to attend to the many electrical failures that the building has incurred over the recent weeks – blown light bulbs, that kind of thing. Picture three particularly troublesome bulbs that stretch out over a flat ceiling right above a run of very high steep stairs. Ladders are not an option as the walls around the stair case are all lined with plate glass windows at just the point where a ladder would ideally rest.
The furthest bulb is a good 12ft above the bottom step.
Now the sane, even the corporate thing to do would be to hire a stair tower (at extra cost) to access the bulbs safely.
Not this electrician. He’s confident he can climb up the wall – which remember has windows inset into it and hence ledges – and can reach the blown bulbs with the power of his inhuman sparky agility. I’m not so sure about this but the electrician is already hoisting himself up using the banister as his first foot-hold.
The first two bulbs are swapped out easily enough – and I’m impressed the guy can do this one-handed given that his other hand is pinching hold of a ledge while his legs straddle a 12ft drop. The third and final bulb requires a manoeuvre that even Peter Parker would baulk at but Mr Sparks manages it. He must be clinging on with his teeth at this point I swear.
Meanwhile I’m halfway up the stairs having kittens. And they ain’t purring.
But there’s no going back at this point and... oh my God.... he’s done it. Mission accomplished. Great! Cue cheesy smiles.
So. Bulbs all changed. Just the problem of how to get down. And I bet we’ve all done this. Taken what looks like a simple route up a cliff face, a mountain side, a sheer office wall and then when it’s come time to head down again the route suddenly isn’t as simple. Or just doesn’t present itself at all.
Cue much swearing and foul language all round. Which of course always helps.
In the end we decide on the traditional (and probably most unhelpful) solution. I will “guide” his foot back to the banister allowing for his “safe disembarkation”.
Yeah right. Like guiding someone’s foot somehow diminishes both distance and gravity. A gap of 5ft suddenly becomes a mere 2 just because I’m guiding someone’s foot down through it.
Not sure how it happened because it all happened so fast. I guess Mr Sparks could hang on no longer. Suddenly I had 15 stone of tooled up electrician collapsing onto my right shoulder... somehow my right arm ended up hooked between his legs in an attempt to stop him falling any further.
What should have happened at this point is this: my shoulder dislocates and my arm breaks and I fall face forwards onto the sharp end of the stairs. The electrician continues his descent and cracks his skull open on the metal runs of a chairlift that awaits the impact of the rest of his body at the foot of the stairs. Mr Sparks get a broken neck and several cracked ribs. I get a face full of metal edging and a pension.
What actually happens is that Mr Sparks emerges unscathed because he manages to get a foot onto the banister (see guiding did help) and thus prevents the full weight of his body from crushing my spine into chalk dust (that ball was in God-damn-it). My arm isn’t dislocated – although it feels like it – just bruised and benumbed by 15 stone of electrician’s arse collapsing onto it. Thankfully a bit of arm wind-milling seems to get it moving again and despite a continued soreness and an ache that just won’t stop I’m in pretty good nick all things considered.
Mr Sparks and me agree that we never do anything that stupid ever, ever again. Next time we hire the stair tower and save ourselves a rather large laundry bill.
Final irony: tomorrow afternoon I am attending a meeting at council HQ to discuss Health & Safety and the compiling of Risk Assessments.
You know, I just might keep my gob shut...