Stupid is as stupid does

I spent all week trying to decide if I should tell this story or not. But hey, I figure that someone, after reading it, might feel just a little smarter and that would be a nice gift.

Every evening, I spend about an hour delivering meals from our cafe. It’s a nice service but it takes time and I have little of that to spare. So I have tried to streamline the process as much as possible. I don’t run any red lights, drive fast or break any other laws, but for the sake of speed I put the car in park, set the brake, leave the engine running and the door open so that I can hurry to the next drop.

Well, this particular evening, something happened. As I was getting out of the car, I suddenly had this sinking feeling like the one you get when there is an earthquake. The ground was moving and I could not get my feet planted. Then, suddenly, I fell over, tumbling into the street, dropping my cell phone (which I use as a GPS device) and knocking my glasses off. As I’m trying to make some sense out of what’s going on, my car starts rolling off down the street! My brain freaks out and in the same instant, what happened becomes clear. I had caught the shifter with my sleeve and pulled it back into “drive”. The parking brake was set but not tight enough to keep the car from creeping forward.

In this moment of clarity, I also realized there were several curbside trash bins just a few feet away and right after them was the car of the lady I was delivering food to. I frantically scrambled up and began chasing my car. Luckily, the driver’s door was still open and I was able to get ahold of the parking brake and stop the car, but not before hitting the bins and making a heck of a racket. The woman comes running out, and to my amazement, apologizes for leaving the trash bins in the street. She even helps me clean up the mess! Then she gets her food and goes back inside.

That’s when I realize that my phone and my glasses are gone. It’s dark and I figure the headlights are not going to help because my car is now about 30 feet from where I fell out of it. So I go back and start crawling around on the street, feeling for my phone and glasses. I found the phone first and turned it on so I could use it as a flashlight to look for my specs. I found them. Or at least what was left of them. Both lenses were broken and the frames were crushed. So I had to drive across town, squinting, to get my spare pair of specs. That’s when I noticed the pain in my knee and the kink in my back. I guess I landed on the knee when I fell out of the car and twisted my back in the process. No real damage, just enough to remind me for the next few days how easy it is to be stupid.

This ended up being just a funny story that can be shared with some family and friends at the next festive dinner table. Good for a couple of laughs. But when this kind of event occurs in the workshop, it is exactly the kind of thing that can result in the loss of a finger or worse.



  • A.J. Hamler says:

    I’m trying to figure out just where on the Stupid-O-Meter this falls in relation to the time I dropped a router on my head and had to get five stitches. I’m thinkin’ the two may be tied.

  • David:
    Unfortunately for the rest of us you are far from being alone in the “I can’t believe I just did that” category. We ALL have our own version of your story so feel well at home with us!


  • BillyJ says:

    LOL! I’m sorry – all I could see is the commercial of the guy chasing his car down hill after parking it. We’re fortunate when we can look back and laugh; it’s only then can we see just how close we came to being seriously injured.

    Unfortunately, when we’re in the shop, everything happens too fast. Mistakes, carelessness, being off-task, and trying to rush in order to get it done quickly usually ends with something being detached from our body. Thanks for reminding us to think before we proceed to the next job at hand.

  • I’m a retired dentist who is ever-so-mindful of my hands/fingers. I do custom woodworking mostly for fun …although some folks actually pay me for my skills. A contractor friend once advised me as to the inherent dangers of power tools and moments of inattention. He need not have done that, but every time I turn on my cut-off saw [or any other power tool…in the shop or in the field] I am reminded of his statement ……and wait until the blade is fully stopped before I remove the workpiece and go to the next step.

  • keith rowe says:

    Glad to hear you’re not seriously hurt.

  • Gene Kelly says:

    Since everything seems to have turned alright in the end, I now can feel guiltless having laughed so hard while reading this. Not that I have ever done anything like this before. Oh wait there was that one time, oh and then there was……

  • Mark Coleman says:

    I neglected to set the parking brake on my truck just a couple of days ago…..(dented a parked car when it rolled back), and then my working partner narrowly escaped slicing his finger off just yesterday…so this is a timely blog for us!!

  • DWM says:

    Your blog shows a photo of you reading while holding your glasses. I assume this means you need them to see distance? So the real stupid in this story is driving across town “squinting” to get your spare glasses. I mean, why use your cell phone and call someone to bring your glasses when you can drive across town by braille. Right, Mr. Magoo?

    My son has a saying: “You can’t fix stupid.” I fear there’s little hope for you.

  • David Wigton says:

    I’m still getting kidded about the time, not too long ago, when I was leaving a convention planning meeting. I got out to the car and realized I’d left my satchel in the building. As I came out with the satchel, everybody in the parking lot was yelling at me. It seems that my car was rolling down the street. I chased after it, only to have it get stopped by the second of two mailboxes it destroyed.

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