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October 2014 #3: More Tales in Which Things Don’t Just “Happen”

1. Welcome to the latest edition of the Summary of Mishaps, more yarns in which folks find that it doesn’t always happen to the other guy. For that matter, that it doesn’t just “happen”—it tends to be self-inflicted.

A. One of the things about bosses is that you want to make a good impression on them. When it comes to decisions about raises or bonuses or promotions, you want them thinking of you as reliable and competent. You want your Bravo Zulus to outweigh your Delta Sierras by a margin of at least ten to one.

What you don’t want to do is anything like what an administrative coordinator at a hospital did. She was, the report explained, “rushing out of the director’s suite.” She’d been helping the director with some sort of computer-related problem. She turned her head to answer a question and ran into the arm of the director’s couch, inflicting a large welt on her thigh.

The local occupational health doctor told her to go home, elevate her leg and put ice on it. Our admin coordinator, however, stayed and worked “because she had too much to do” (she may also have been trying to salvage her short-term reputation with the aforementioned boss). The doc told her to take it easy on the next couple days, as well, but you guessed it: too much work. Her leg kept getting worse.

That’s where the report ends, sorry. Was the boss impressed with her limping around the building, gamely battling the onslaught of work? How did he feel about her unwillingness to follow the doctor’s orders? Inquiring minds want to know.

B. One spring day just after lunch, an E-3 student was engaged in a tug-of-war with a fellow student during a combined Seabee Birthday celebration and student appreciation day. His shoe fell off. According to the mishap report, “he fell to the ground, immediately got back up on his feet and began to run (no reason why) at which time he stepped into a hole in the ground causing pain to his left foot.”

He continued to take part in the festivities for the rest of the day, but his foot kept hurting. He eventually hobbled into the local clinic for a diagnosis of torn cartilage and a prescription for some anti-inflammatories and four days of LIMPDU.

That “no reason why” stuff always makes me grit my teeth. As if mishap prevention wasn’t hard enough.

C. In South Carolina, an electronics mechanic had to load a P.A. system into a utility truck. The system weighed 70 pounds, and he had to hoist it about two feet to get it onto the truck bed.

You got it: strained back. The only plus is that he could stay put and use the P.A. to holler for help: “Now hear this, now hear this, ouch! I’ve hurt my back!” Makes it a lot easier to get help.

D. In San Diego, a civilian employee with the job title of “materials examining and identifying” had to put safety covers on some engine exhaust fins.

I may be going out on a limb here, but I’d think that he’d be adept at examining whatever materials were at hand. Is it asking too much for him to have noticed that the exhaust fins were suitable for slicing hot dogs or peeling apples? Otherwise, why would they require safety covers?

Be that as it may, he was soon examining the red liquid material leaking out of his fingers, readily identifying it as blood.

A word to the wise: If something needs a safety cover, you might consider hand protection while handling it.

2. That’s all for this time, folks. Until next time, remember that a stitch in time saves nine, and with a little planning and common sense, you won’t need any stitches at all.

Got a Funnies-worthy yarn? Need to get something off your chest? We welcome your feedback:

Read the author's blog, "Beyond the Friday Funnies." If you have a question about some of our odd terminology, become an insider by studying up on our Glossary. And if you have even more time to kill, here's the exhibit list from the Summary of Mishaps Museum.

Last Revision: October 20, 2014