May 15, 2009
Anything for a Laugh
My father was a car hauler before he retired. This profession carries with it some unique dangers. Car haul trucks carry vehicles on several different levels. The goal is to fit as many cars as possible on the truck. As a result they come equipped with lots of ramps that are moved up and down by hydraulics. This creates pinch and crush hazards. Worst case, somebody could die. This actually happened to one poor guy when the upper ramp dropped down on him because both safety stop bolts failed.
The most common injury is when fingers and thumbs get caught as the ramps are lowered. Too often this results in the loss of a digit, usually partial, a tip or half of the finger, but occasionally whole fingers. My father never lost any of his fingers but plenty of his friends did. Every time I see a man in public missing a finger I think he must have been a car hauler.
When my daughter was about four or five we had a bit of fun at her expense thanks to my Dad’s buddy. Back then the table on my parent’s patio had an umbrella stand in the center, but the upper half was missing so it was just a hole leading down to the umbrella base. One day Miss Erica began tossing crumbs and junk down the hole and then she would stick her finger into it to see if she could reach it. I was worried about the food attracting bugs so I told her that a big bug lived down there that would bite her finger off. She just laughed, said “Nuh uh” and continued to stick her finger down the hole.
Dad’s friend was sitting out there with us and heard me give her this warning. He waited for a moment when my daughter was distracted and stuck his finger down the hole. Then he yelled “Ouch” and pulled out his finger. This particular finger had been severed at the second knuckle by a car hauler ramp. Erica screamed, got a horrified look on her face and drew her hands in close to her body. Yeah, I know, cruel. But effective. She never again stuck her finger down that hole.