On the realization that I have had a long running spat of bad luck when it comes to my physical well being, and that every now and then it pops up to rear it ugly head at me, I thought I would document some of them so that I would never live them down/forget them.
In High School, I was working as a stage hand for the theatre department, at this point we were working on the sequel to Annie, which I had acted in while in Middle School.
As part of the show we did one week at our own theatre, and then one weekend at a neighboring towns theatre to play to a different audience. This entailed having one week to strike the entire set from our schools auditorium, transport it, and re-build it in the new theatre which had drastically different dimensions. Over the years this had become something that we had gotten good at, and tended to plan our sets accordingly.
This time we had decided in our wisdom, that before the show opened, there would be a large wooden sign that hung from the center of the stage in front of the curtain with the shows logo, to draw the audience in I guess. this must have only weighed 50-75 pounds, but was very unwieldy in shape and size.
At the new theatre rather than have things on bars that translated things right to left, it had a much higher ceiling, and brought things up and down. To facilitate this there was a wrought iron catwalk about 35 feet up in the air to one side of the stage, where there was a weight and pulley system setup to counter balance the heavy bars with curtains and lights on them.
To hang the sign at this theatre we would need to hook it up, and then attach counterweights to the ropes so that it would be neutrally buoyant and could be raised and lowered by a single person.
I got the job of holding onto the sandbags while three other people pulled the ropes to get it to the height we needed it and attached the bags. To this end I was on my knees on the catwalk dangling the bags over the edge, so the heights were right, with people standing above me.
And now comes the pain.
While not in and of themselves all that heavy, there was next to no leverage from my position, which meant that as time went on and they struggled with the sign, I started to ever so slowly get pulled forward and down. Calling out “guys, Guys, GUYS” until finally someone grabbed me by the belt just before I went over. We quickly hooked up the weights and thought that was that, until one of the other guys pointed to my arm.
Indeed, what had happened was that the iron catwalk was built up of vertical standing slats an eighth of an inch wide spaced maybe an inch apart, and while the corners had been treated somewhat so that they were not an immediate danger to anyone my arm had been resting directly on top of one, as I had been pulled down. So starting at the wrist of my left hand and extending up my arm a good 4 or 5 inches, were two perfectly straight slices into my flesh, with a nice strip of skin between them, etched by the two upwards facing corners of the catwalk.
And true to either the idiocy of youth, or a true theatre spirit, I will let you decide, 4 or 5 band-aids down my arm and I was back to work, as we had precious little time to get all the sets put together, to their defense, they didn’t let me do much more strenuous work that night.
Well thats just one of the tales that I can recall, I will post more as I go, and they will I’m sure be random and mostly tied to the music department at my school.