Story Time: Injuries

Black silhouette guy was driving the workman's comp premiums through the roof

From the statistics I get through WordPress, I can tell that about half my traffic comes from search engines.  Which is cool and I enjoy seeing what people search for to end up at my blog.  The other half is people who came here via a link someone posted or have the page bookmarked.  For the second group, I have been trying to think of some way to make this blog more interactive.  I try to ask at the end of most posts for feedback and don’t get many takers.  The thing is that I know many of you have far more interesting takes on any number of the topics discussed in this blog.  So today I am going to try a new feature called “Story Time.”

The idea of Story Time is that everyone has a story to tell about certain topics.  They are the stories that get pulled out after work at the bar or in side stations while waiting for a table.  I have a favorite story for most of these topics.  I am sure you do too.  So just pretend that you are sitting around a high top sipping a cool beverage and tell your tale in the comments section.

Today’s topic is workplace injuries.  A coworker who hurt himself inspired it.  He looked over at me while doing his checkout and said, “You know what you oughta write about on your blog thing is getting hurt at work.”  I wasn’t sure what angle to take on that issue.  For the record I am opposed to getting hurt at work.  Please don’t do it.  If you do get hurt though could you possibly do it in a really funny way?

That is why this topic works.  We have all seen someone injured at work.  Generally we feel really bad at the time.  By now they have all healed and it is safe to have a good laugh at their expense.  Besides, they probably don’t read this blog so you can tell us.

My tale comes from my very first job at the previously mentioned “Five Four.”  One of my co-workers there was a guy we will call “Blades.”  Blades was old to me at 18 which means he was probably 26 or so.  Super nice guy, but a little awkward.  The primary manifestation of this was that he was incredibly accident-prone.  He once took a tumble cleaning the random stuff on the walls.  Hard worker, but you didn’t want the guy on a ladder.

One night Blades was coming through the bar carrying a large stack of plates.  This was a very high volume place and he was working on the patio.  There was no bus station out there so he had a long walk from the patio, through the crowded lobby, across the more crowded bar, and to the back of the kitchen to get to the dishroom.  This is a tough route so you generally carried as much as you could on every trip.  Blades and large stacks of plates was a bad combination.

As he was walking through the bar the tower of plates began to fall.  Blades being the consummate professional he was tried to save them by sticking his foot out.  As he did the steak knife (this was so long ago that restaurants still had pointy steak knives) on the top of the pile comes down followed by a breadboard. In a feat that could never be recreated the knife came down perfectly straight at his shoe.  The breadboard struck it at precisely the same time and drove the knife through the top of his shoe and into the top of his foot.  Nobody watching could believe what they had just witnessed.

Blades hobbled for a while, but he got better.  After 15 years this story still stands out as the most random injury I had ever seen.  What is yours?  The quality of story time is the stories you post in the comment section.  This is where we all entertain each other.  I know Becky and Yellowcat can beat this hands down.  Pull up a seat and tell us your tale.

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11 comments on “Story Time: Injuries

  1. I don’t think I can actually beat it – the first thing that comes to mind in my experience is something that happened to me, and it’s pretty boring.

    I worked at a German restaurant here in town for exactly one year to the day. It was the worst job, hands down, that I have ever, ever had, and the day the place burned down I thought it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving hell-hole.

    The place was falling apart, for one thing – whenever it rained water came through the roof and into the light fixtures (so it should come as no surprise that it burned down). The cooks were verbally and physically abusive, one was a psychopath, half the waitresses were snorting coke in the bathrooms during their shifts and were drunk by the time lunchtime rolled around, and there was a crack-addicted busboy who ended up standing on the bar, waving a gun and screaming that he was going to kill everyone one day. I wasn’t at work that day, fortunately.

    But I digress (and I could go on and on). I went one day to fill the ice bucket for the bar and the entire door of the ice machine fell off onto my foot and broke my toe. I was so relieved to have two weeks off with worker’s comp it made me realize I needed to find another job.

    And I did.

    Sorry it’s boring, David, but that’s all I got right now! Someone needs to top it.

  2. yellowcat on said:

    Your story was great for the atmosphere you created. I don’t think I’ve worked in a place that bad.

    I worked with this guy years and years ago who had cerebral palsy. He was a hell of a worker, but if there was one piece of ice anywhere on the floor in the restaurant, he would find it and fall flat on his back. Usually he would find the ice while carrying a stack of plates, or a full bus tub. It was never quiet and always embarrassing. Okay, so maybe that’s not a funny story.

    I wear Crocs. Our floors are painted cement and when you add water or ice or barbeque sauce, you get an interesting day at work. So far I’ve fallen and slid under the buser station, fallen to my knees with a stack of plates and didn’t drop one, fallen to my knees carrying food, and served the food to the table while still on my knees, and fallen in the Indian crossleg seated position. I know when I start falling, it’s time for a new pair of Crocs.

    Recently, Boy Cook Jarrod tried to put a side dish on one of the plates I was holding. As he pushed down, I pushed up and shoved his hand on the heating element of the food warmer. He didn’t scream or anything, but my plates were really, really hot for about a week after.

    We are all pretty safe, so I don’t have many good injury stories.

  3. One time I was working as an expo and part of my job was to organize the dishes we kept on top of the plate warmers. I had this little step ladder I used because the dishwashers liked to stack the plates so high nobody could reach them. So I am standing on the stepladder, and my ankle gives out. Instead of jumping off the foot and a half high step I was on, I grabbed onto the heating element. In the confusion of it all, I held onto the heating element for a few seconds before I realized what had happened. I think if I would have fallen on my back it would have hurt a lot less than burning my hand.

    I thought it was hilarious right away, and when everyone saw me laughing about it they joined right in for weeks. They kept telling my not to grab the heater its hot. I think I learned that one, but thanks to all my co-workers for reminding me over and over.

  4. tipsfortips on said:

    I haven’t ever injured myself too badly at the restaurant. But at Crate i’m a terrible disaster. A few years ago and teakettle fell on my thumb and broke it. It turned all sorts of terrible colors and i had to have it all braced up for months. And when people asked i couldn’t keep my lies straight, so i eventually had to tell them the truth that i was the victim of a freak teakettle accident. Also, that scar right above my upper lip? A springform pan fell on my face from a top shelf. It swelled up and bled all over the place, i went back to Colorado the next week for thanksgiving with a bruise mustache. Those two are the most prominent, but i’ve also dropped cast iron griddles on my foot, fallen off ladders, and of course, cut my self to bits and pieces with broken glass left in stupid places. – Ali

  5. tipsfortips on said:

    Oh How funny! You’re still logged in on to your blog on my computer. I’m you right now. I’ll log you off. – Ali

  6. I worked with a guy named Leo a long, long time ago. Leo liked to partake in a little herb before, during and after his shift. He made the mistake once of doing so and also having a few shots before his shift.

    Leo was a fry cook. Leo dropped his towel in the deep fryer. Leo reached in after it. Poor Leo.

  7. Well, my husband isn’t in the business of serving, but he is the most accident prone person I know. Most of his accidents at work aren’t funny and he will pay with pain for the rest of his life. He has pins, plates and screws in 3 fingers (two different accidents), shoulder, leg and foot as a result of 4 emergency room dashes. Hydraulics, ladders, motorcycles and him don’t get along well. The funniest accident didn’t involve work at a place of employment at the others did nor a hospital trip, but it did involve a table saw and oak. Of course when you put him anywhere near power tools, I try to stay close and ready with the keys to make the next run. He was cutting oak trim and it got stuck. Instead of turning off the saw and pulling it out, he opted to push it with another piece of wood. The backlash was frightening and I grabbed my purse. The piece of oak flew backwards at a high rate of speed and hit him square in the chest. I screamed as he went down. I figured when he stood up the wood would be sticking through his chest. It wasn’t (knock on wood), but when he rose from the ground, he was trying to fight off the pain. His chest was instantly bruised and he was flexing and growling to keep from crying like a baby. He looked like the Hulk bringing his fists out and in. Now that I knew he wasn’t crucified like a vampire, I began laughing hysterically. I had the Hulk GGGGRRRING and stomping around the garage. I know if he could have moved and caught me he would have crushed me, but it is still funny today. The man may never be able to walk through a metal detector, but he could check out the field stunt double for Lou Ferrigno.

    • Good gravy, Laura, that’s hysterical! You paint a pretty hilarious picture – I can totally see it.

      Again, not me, but a coworker from when I was a manager:

      I am NOT squeamish. I am also the person who responds quickly and calmly when there’s an emergency situation, and blood, even buckets of it, has never really bothered me (of course, if you put a spider in front of me I turn into a quivering mess).

      I worked in a restaurant in Westport called The Souper (the best place I ever worked – not the best job, but the place was wonderful, with great food and ethics and coworkers and customers). One of the dishwashers’ duties was to wrap trays of mousse in snifters after they’d cooled and we had permanent plastic wrap dispensers made from steel that had a row of teeth. They were aptly called “Jaws.” You may know where this is headed by now. So this DW was doing his duty and had the Jaws set on top of one of those linen hampers that’s just a wire stand to hold open a large cotton bag – very unstable surface! And it wobbles, the Jaws starts to slide off and he reaches for it.

      Nothing was severed BUT, there was a jagged cut across his fingers and he walked into my office, came up behind me as I was standing at the locker where we kept recipes and other precious items, and he said, “Hey Becky!” and I turned around as he held his hand directly in my face. I saw meat and goo hanging from his fingers, smelled blood and instantly saw stars. He had to grab ME as I started to faint and instantly recovered.

      I ran him to St. Luke’s and he had 25 stitches. It’s one of two episodes of vasovagal syncope I’ve experienced.

  8. Pingback: The Index « Tips on improving your Tips

  9. I’ve been a waiter for about 6 months now, in a great, friendly restaurant. At one point, I was shifting a several litre tub of soup from the microwave to the starter section for one of the chefs when a new waiter walked into the kitchen not looking where he’s going and hit me, splashing the boiling soup on my arm. I immediately went to catch the tub out of reflex, causing the soup to cover my entire arm and part of my chest. I bolted for the sink as the pain set in, nearly crashing to the ground on the soup covering the floor. Fortunately my manager refused to let me leave the sink to clean up and made sure I kept my arm under the cold tap until she could drive me to the hospital to get checked over. I came back bandaged from wrist to chest where the burns were, but felt so embarrassed I stuck out the rest of the shift behind the bar since we were so busy.

    Particularly embarrassing was that my cursing the new guy could be heard across the entire restaurant for a few minutes, but rather than complaining about my inappropriate language, several regulars have since come by just to see how I was doing. (I did also apologise to the new guy for swearing abuse at him while trying to stop my arm burning. It was kind of uncalled for).

    • David Hayden on said:

      I think both your response and the response of the guests are the human way to react. I think anyone is going to have a few exclamations natural in a situation like that. Obviously we try to avoid them, but it is a reflex. I’m glad the guests reacted as humans as well and showed sympathy. I would also assume the waiter felt worse about what he did than what you said to him. Makes shaking hands and moving past it far easier.

      Kudos for coming back and working out the shift. It is the mark of a professional. Might also indicate a sllight degree of insanity, but that is also a mark of a professional in this business.

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