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Archive for October 8th, 2008

Drills, Steel and a Quick Trip to La La Land

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

When reading this try to think late 70’s early 80’s educational video.

“So, you want to learn how to drill through steel huh?” (Mute video actor smiles and nods head vigorously.) “Do you have a drill?” (Nods again holding up acme super-drill.) “And do you have some steel?” (Nods and points to a M-1 Abrams parked a short distance away.) “Good! You are now ready to learn how to drill through steel!” (Actor smiles and pumps arm as if screaming Woo Hoo!) “But before you learn how to drill through steel, remember…. Safety first! Always wear eye protection.” (Actor puts on over-sized safety goggles.)

“Now then, first we will show you how not to drill through steel.” (Now picture me standing there with a 19.4V battery operated drill in hand) “When drilling, it is NOT a good idea to use a dull bit. It is also not a good idea to get frustrated with the dull bit and drill at maximum speed.” (Now picture me trying to drill through said steel with the drill at its highest speed setting slowly drilling through the steel.) “When you start punching through the steel always slow down your bit, otherwise it will probably catch at the last possible second.” (Watch in slow motion as the drill bit catches and the drill twists 360 degrees while I’m still holding it. My forearm twists as far as it will go, and my wrist completes the full revolution.) “This can cause injury to the wrist, forearm and shoulder if you are not careful.”

That is basically what happened, in my mind at least, and the narrators voice was probably added by the pain killers the doctor gave me. I was working with a co-worker at the time and he heard a distinct pop from my wrist. He quickly cleaned up the work site and took me to the hospital where the x-rays showed several hairline and minor fractures to every bone in my wrist. There were also hairline fractures on my forearm and stress fractures in my shoulder.

Needless to say my boss wasn’t happy. The next day at work he brought in an expert to show us how to properly drill through steel and during the lecture even managed not to look directly at me. I spent 6 weeks in a cast and immobilizing sling, and 4 weeks in La La Land due to the pain killers. The boss was able to laugh about it after about a week and dubbed me “Oliver” (as in Oliver “Twist”).