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I'm Alright

2007-06-25 - 12:25 p.m.

Greetings. Everyone have a good weekend? Excellent.

Mine wasn't.

Brin alluded to it in Sunday's entry. Here's the total story.

We were having problems with our bowling game. The balls go through a channel consisting of two plexiglass pieces that are angled to guide the balls to a ball-lifter. It lifts the balls up about six feet and then ejects them to a channel where, with the help of gravity, the balls roll to the little rack where the customers can grab them. Those two pieces of plexi have a small gap between them. The ball-lifter uses a series of metal bars that lift the ball up the six feet.

Everyone got that? Okay.

The balls weren't quite making it into the ball-lifter. One of the pieces of plexi was angled UP, instead of DOWN. So I climbed into the pin area of lane #3 and investigated. Some idiot had thrown a golf ball down the bowling lanes and it had gotten wedged under the plexi...most likely by the moving bar of the ball-lifter! Gee, aren't stupid people FUN!!

So, I got a screwdriver and slid back under the pins on lane #3. While I was working on getting the ball out, someone - we don't know who, and most likely never will - started the game. Never mind that the masking is up and my feet are sticking out. They figured to play it while I'm working on it.

Suddenly, the ball-lifter starts up. One of the bars catches my right index finger and traps it against the plexi.

I scream. Loud. The ball-lifter keeps the pressure up. I scream again.

I figure out that the only way to get my finger out is to slide it into the channel between the pieces of plexi. This frees my the cost of some skin.

By this time, the security guy is there, along with a couple employees who reacted to the screaming. Blood is running from my finger and down my hand. I get to the first aid station and wash up.

There I get the full story. An almost perfectly shaped rectangle of skin, about 2mm x 6mm, has been removed from the inside joint area of the first knuckle. The actual "meat" of the fingertip pad has a nice little slice that goes in maybe about a millimeter, which explains all the blood. But I can still move it easily and without too much pain, so I deduce that it's not broken. There's also a nice little bruise on the back of the knuckle. If that bar hadn't been round, I'm quite sure I would have lost the whole fingertip.

I wash it and bandage it. Then I go back to the bowling game, clean up my blood drips (jokingly asking the crowd who had watched me get hurt if anyone wanted any DNA), turned the game OFF, and pried the golf ball loose. Then I powered it up again, and it worked perfectly.

Now. Some of you may be wondering how I could be so calm after something like this. It's simple. Once I realized I was going to keep the finger, I was a combination of relieved and mad. No, not just mad. I was pissed off. I was pissed at the idiot who threw the golf ball down the lane in the first place.

But mostly I was pissed at myself. I fucking KNEW BETTER. I should have turned the power off, or at the very least had a security guy stand there so no one would play it. I fucking KNEW BETTER. And I did it anyway.

Even if you THINK you know what you're doing, gang - learn from my mistake. Take every precaution you can. Never EVER think "oh, nobody would be stupid enough to turn this on while I'm in it". Trust me - people CAN be that stupid.

If you really must take a look at the damage, click here for a picture.

Moral of the story: never stick your fingers into moving machinery. If you must put your fingers in, turn the power off.


But it wasn't entirely over.

After I did all that, a dad brought his two little (like, under 4) daughters to talk to me. They had been bowling earlier, and I had helped them and given the girls a couple pointers on how to play. The youngest looked up at me and shyly asked to see my "owie".

I was touched. I said, "I really don't think you want to see's pretty scary-looking."

She asked, "Did you bweak it?" I reassured her that it wasn't broken, and that I would be just fine.

Her dad told me that she wanted to make sure I was okay. I thanked them for their concern and again told them I was okay.

How about that? Being nice pays off in ways you never expect.


That all happened Saturday night. It's now Monday morning. The bleeding has stopped, and there's a new layer of skin forming over what was removed. The finger is stiff, but I can form a fist if I need to.

I'm alright...nobody worry 'bout me.


Okay, enough pain. Now, some celebration.

Way back here, I mentioned a lawsuit over a pair of pants. Well, we have a resolution: the judge in the case dismissed the suit and ordered the plaintiff to pay the costs.

Common sense wins out.


And now, food before work.

Shower's free.

Be seeing you.


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