top of page

Blizzard Spade

I am a remarkable man.

During last Friday’s blizzard, I hit myself in the face. With a garden spade.

Not everyone could do that.

Here’s the story. One of my outbuildings has a bifold door that we made ourselves. It doesn’t have an automatic opener – just a counterweight that’s a barrel of sand attached to the door with a cable running over a series of pulleys. There wasn’t a lot of science involved. I just kept adding sand to the barrel until I could heave the door open without too much difficulty.

It’s not a perfect system, but that doesn’t matter because I rarely close it. The building is unheated, we live in the middle of twenty acres of trees, and the door faces to the southeast. The only time the door needs to be shut is when there’s a snowstorm out of the southeast.

Like last Friday.

I went to pull the door down. There’s a certain amount of leaping needed to grab the bottom edge, which is fine if I’m lightly dressed. It’s more of a problem on those days when the earth’s gravity is little more powerful. I’ve noticed over the past few years that the verticality of my leaping has diminished a bit. When I’m wearing six layers of clothes and mukluks, the amount of lift in my jump shot is, you know, zero.

The door wouldn’t come down. It seemed to be frozen in place and I couldn’t jump high enough to get a solid grip on it. I went in search of an arm extension and found a spade. Could have been anything – my eye did fall on a sledgehammer, but you’d have to be stupid to wave a sledgehammer over your head.

I hooked the spade over the bottom of the door and pulled down hard.

Then it slipped.

What happened after that is kind of a blur.

When I replayed the scene in my head, I’m afraid there was some profanity, obscenity, and possibly blasphemy. I would like to take this moment to profoundly apologize to the universe. In my defense, no grandchildren were within 45 miles. I tried to apologize to the dog, but she ran away.

The dizziness faded pretty fast, but then a new problem surfaced. My wife was home from work, and sooner or later I was going to have to go in the house. If I left my stocking cap pulled down to my eyebrows, she’d suspect something. There was no hiding. You see, the average hairline is about two inches above the eyebrows. Mine is a little higher…like around 13. From past experience, I know that wounds, blood and/or dents are clearly visible.

I immediately made a tactical error. The actual visible damage was just a scratch, but my stocking cap had smeared the blood around, so it looked a lot worse than it was. If I’d taken the time to clean up, all would have fine. Plus, of course, since my wife was already home, I didn’t have time to invent a story that would have smoothed the whole thing over. I had to tell her the truth, and we all know where that can lead.

She said some things. I don’t remember everything, but I believe she suggested that I didn’t have that many brain cells to spare. Then she said a couple other things that might require her own apology to the universe.

And then she got me an ice pack.

Copyright 2020 Brent Olson

bottom of page