I write about zombies. There, I said it. I write about the atrocities zombies commit on humans during an apocalypse that should never have happened. I write about the horrors of being undead. I write about death and how it’s not the end but an unpleasant beginning for those chosen to die a second death filled with agony and despair.
Although, it’s not all I write about.
I enjoy the touching moments between humans when they make that one connection in their lives they wouldn’t have known otherwise had they not taken a chance to explore an alternate universe. I’m talking about love.
Yes, I write about love and I write about death.
This is one of those strange Freedom Friday posts I could not have written hadn’t I lived through it myself without taking notes to understand what I had experienced. Don’t worry I haven’t lost my mind nor have I taken anything to help things make sense. Think of it as a philosophical autobiography of sorts that may ring true for you—or not. In either case, life is about experiences shared with others to reveal one’s true self.
Years and years ago when working in the printing industry, I had a task to supervise printing of decals that went on the side of courier trucks. These decals had to be perfect. Not a spot. Not a smudge. If the colors were off, even by a hair, the company who placed the order would reject the whole load.
One day, while operating the printing press—a monster of a press having a fifteen-foot printing arm affixed to a thousand-pound frame that would drop on an aluminum base covered with the material for printing—I had to get under the frame to clean the screen where the ink would pass in order to make the imprint on the material. Now, I didn’t worry the frame would fall on me because all around the machine emergency arms surrounded it that would prop the frame back to its upright position.
What’s Murphy’s Law again? Oh, yes—anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
I had to crawl deep into the press to remove the dirt on the screen above, but that also meant I didn’t have access to the emergency arm. One foot taller, I would have had full access to the switch.
Sure enough, the frame began to drop on me. Now, at this point, I don’t know how to explain it. I phased out? I really have no memory of the experience other than crawling back out and one of my coworkers asking me if I was okay. To give you an idea, had the frame fully dropped on me it would have crushed me whole. I’m assuming he saw the frame falling on me and pressed the emergency arm. He didn’t. He said it popped back into its upright position on its own. For a long time, I didn’t believe him. Of course, when you’re in shock, anything and everything anyone says is somewhat a blur.
During the summer after eighth grade, I wanted to take swimming lessons. The very first thing the instructor asked us to do was to dive into the deep end to find out how much we knew. I didn’t know when I registered for the course that I’d registered for the intermediate class. What did I know? While everyone else swam gracefully through the water, I slowly sank to the bottom of the pool. I’ll never forget a time I’d held my breath for what seemed as if history had stopped. A few seconds more and I’d have been dead, I’m sure of it.
I felt hands grasping my waist, pushing me to the surface. By the time I sat on the edge of the pool with my feet dangling in the water, I coughed so much I thought I had already died.
I don’t know who pulled me to safety. I’m assuming the instructor did. Again, no one really admitted anything and even though I felt grateful, to this day I question what actually went down that morning.
How can I describe what I felt when these near-death situations occurred? I wish I could say it’s easy to utter a few words that can capture the meaning these experiences convey to me. In some respect, I long for simplicity in the matter. Yet, sometimes, we don’t know why things happen the way they do. They just do. That’s life. While I can’t say I’d like to go through another one of these, I’m grateful for having had my life spared twice.
Someone once said these things happen in three’s. Let’s hope they’re wrong.
Have you gone through something similar, where you can’t explain what happened, but you’re thankful for having survived it, nonetheless?
14 thoughts on “Life”
Life really is precious, isn’t it? I enjoy your thoughtful posts!
Excellent post, Jack. I can say I have not had any of those experiences (thankfully). I’ve had some close calls in terms of doing things that were ridiculous, but nothing like that! Glad you made it through both events relatively unscathed.
Funny how we do ridiculous things, eh, Katie? lol …and live through the experiences to tell others!
Sure, most of mine are related to climbing. The challenge is to get back on the rock after the fall, drop, being hit by a rock, while your mind is screaming, “What are you doing??? No! No! No!”
Did you get back in the pool? Start working the press?
I did end up back working the press again, thankfully got out of that racket a long, long time ago! And, yep, I love swimming. Whenever we’re on holidays, I always ask my wife to book a hotel with a pool!
Wow, they are both really scary. I heard a story about a guy who opened a valve and turned into bones, so sad. You were so brave going under there.
Only when we have been held in the arms of death can we know what it means to embrace living. Excellent post, JF!
These fleeting moments of ‘why did it NOT happen’ are truly strange. Perhaps the time hadn’t come yet, Jack.
Happened to me, too. It is a surreal thing, but one can only be grateful. Our days are precious and our time is so fleeting.
I should have died while riding my ten-speed, but I was held upright, without the ability to move my arms or legs while my bike continued to move forward in the flow of traffic and the cars went by me. I was unable to do anything of my own volition until the streets were clear again. Then, I was able to put hands on the handlebars and my feet on the pedals.
And you can bet I was thanking God Almighty the rest of the way home.
Amazing story, Sandi. In my case, God didn’t enter the picture until later on in life!
Great Friday post, Jack! Glad you are here and writing!