Friday, July 08, 2005

This morning I learned a lesson. I learned several things, but only one lesson. The lesson was this.
Never risk your life for your job.
Are you exaggerating, I hear you ask. Oh, probably. But I was still left pretty shook up.
The lesson proceeded as so.
"Alright class. Today we're learning through experiences. Please bring four cows into the parlour and give them shots. That's right. We must make sure that all new transition cows have had their shots, musn't we? Now that we have done that, we have three cows remaining outside that also need their shots. Who can tell me what we do when we have three cows left over, since the parlour holds four? Yes, you in the cutoffs? That's right! We hold one cow back. O.k. students. Let the cows go, but please stand up by the gate and stop the last cow."
So I, being an eager student of life bounced up the steps and stood in front of the gate.
Now in order for you to understand the next steps in my lesson (which I hope you will also learn from so you never have to learn it yourself) you must understand that after I let the cows go they walk down a cement alley with bars on one side and a wall on the other.
I opened this particular gate and watched three cows walk by. I kept my eye faithfully on the last one and when she was at the gate, meaning the others were through, I jumped in front of her waving my hands and commanding her to stop.
ninety-eight times out of a hundred when you do this the cow will be sufficiently scared of you so that she'll stop. This cow, however, had just been jabbed with three needles. Meaning she wasn't in a nice calm mood. She was as determined to get past me as I was determined to hold her back. She was bigger.
I could've stepped to the side when I saw she was going to be stubborn. But sometimes I've had success in making them take a few steps backwards. So I kept at it. She pushed me out into the alley before I realized it was too late. I was trapped between her and the other three cows. And she was in a hurry. I've had cows push past me in the alleys a couple times before. And it ,hurts! They scrape you along the bars. Well this cow was far pregnant. And I wasn't too sure how her trying to pass me would go over.
In the next few moments I can not tell you exactly what happened. It was the rush of adrenaline. The push of more important things. But you look back and can't say exactly what happened.
In my attempts to get away I fell, or something. All I know is I was on the ground with a fifteen hundred pound beast rapidly pushing on behind me. I was dragged or pushed or I just crawled a few feet, well under the hooves of the animal. I was in and open space (no bars to the ground) and then I had the presence of mind, and speed of reaction, to roll under the parallel bars, leaving me safe.
I was able to get up and walk away. But in a circumstance like that it's not guaranteed. I was shaking, and, although not in actual shock, it was like a mild form of it. I walked around saying, "Man, Kris. Oh man." and other forms of that phrase as well as telling myself it just wasn't worth it.
I finished the three cows and got home to bed. You know how people keep replaying things in their mind? It was like that 'till I got home, and managed to fall asleep.
In going over my injuries afterwards, I have a scraped base of spine, and scraped elbow, and just mild scrapes and bruises in other areas. The worst is above my ankle where I have a decent swelling bruise. I'm convinced the cow stepped there (although not with her full weight, since they never put all their weight on one foot). Although at the time you're not thinking, "Oh, look, the cow just stepped on me". You're too pumped with adrenaline and more important things at mind to feel pain. But if she had to step anywhere, that's probably the best possible place.
I was lucky. Or, maybe I should say, blessed. I've been hurt at work before. But never that close to really serious injuries. Although it's all in the turn of fate.
"That's fine class. That will be all for today. Classes on job-related issues will continue tonight. Please make sure you're all on time. And have a good day!"

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