Friday, November 30, 2012

Slow is Smooth, Smooth is Fast

The Colonel is still feeling the need for speed, but lately he's been seeing a lot of caution flags.

Take the Colonel's latest in a long line of brushes with death, for example.

This story is probably best told starting from the beginning...

Sometime in the six days of creation God created ducks.  Sometime shortly after that, man discovered that standing thigh deep in freezing water blowing on a kazoo yielded the inestimable pleasure of seeing a duck turn into the wind, cup wings, and begin final approach down the barrel of a shotgun.  

The Colonel is a creation of God.

The Colonel is a duck hunter.

The Colonel loses what remains of his scant reasoning resources during duck season.

A boat is often required to ferry a duck hunter and three or four hundred pounds of decoys, shotguns, and ammunition from his (or her -- the Colonel ain't no warrior in the war on women) truck to remote thigh-deep sloughs favored by ducks. 

The Colonel's #2 son has a boat parked under the lean-to attached to the Colonel's Man-Toy Storage and Sawdust Production Facility.

The Colonel's #2 son, whose primary duck hunt-preparation job is pulling the boat out of the lean-to (the Colonel's primary duck hunt-preparation job is brewing a thermos of coffee), was coming late for a march to the marsh of a recent afternoon.   

So, the Colonel, not known for his patience, broke long-standing protocol and decided to do a duck hunt-prep job for which he was not fully cross-trained -- Task 13a on the duck hunt-prep checklist: hook boat trailer to truck and pull boat from under lean-to.   

Because the Colonel was not (and still is not, as you will shortly see) fully cross-trained in Task 13a, just getting the truck bumper hitch lined up with, and under, the tongue of the boat trailer was pretty much taxing his meager truck-backing skills to the max.

The Colonel backed the truck up to a point he thought was close, put the truck in park, jumped out to check bumper hitch -- trailer tongue proximity and alignment, found same lacking, jumped back into the truck, put the truck in reverse, backed up so more, put the truck in park, jumped out to check bumper hitch -- trailer tongue proximity and alignment, found same lacking...

The Colonel lost count of how many times he cycled through the sequence above.  It was cold and he didn't want to take his boots off.

At some point several hours into his attempt to accomplish Task 13a, the Colonel successfully attached the boat trailer to the bumper hitch on his truck and pulled #2 son's boat out from under the lean-to attached to his Man Toy Storage and Sawdust Production Facility. 

At this point the Colonel discovered another nuance in Task 13a for which he was not fully cross-trained.

He had pulled the boat so far forward out of the lean-to attached to his Man Toy Storage and Sawdust Production Facility, that he could not make a left-hand turn onto the driveway without driving though one of the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda's carefully manicured flower beds.

Loath to back the boat back under the lean-to from which he had labored long to pull it, and wanting to conduct a few more truck-backing drills for which his fine motor skills had just recently proved greatly lacking, the Colonel cobbled together enough widely separated brain cells to determine a step not found in the manual under Task 13a -- unhook the boat trailer from the truck and re-position the truck.

Yeah.  The Colonel knows.  Doesn't make sense.  Well, where were you when the Colonel needed you?

The Colonel, now operating at a pace just shy of the mark on the meter labeled "frenzy," slammed the gear shift into park and leaped from the truck.  

As the Colonel shuffled back toward the rear of the truck, he noticed that, no matter how fast he shuffled, he was not making any progress toward the rear bumper.

The Colonel wondered momentarily whether he had entered some sort of age-related time-warp and then noticed that, relative to other fixed objects and tools left strategically placed on the ground in the position of their last use, the Colonel and his truck were both making progress, forward and rearward, respectively.

The Colonel, now in a trot just one notch short of the position on the meter marked "sprint," glanced to his left into the cab of the truck and noticed that he had not placed the truck in park.

Nope.  Clearly in reverse

The Colonel could clearly see this because, luckily, the driver side door was still wide open.

The Colonel pivoted left and dove into the cab.

Well, almost.

Unluckily, the driver side door was still wide open and it knocked the Colonel to the ground...

...and under the truck.

Ever wondered what might possibly go through your mind during the short seconds separating you from certain maiming and possible final entries in your medical record?

No?  Well, allow the Colonel to provide some insight.

As the left front tire of the Colonel's truck, now gaining speed at an exponential rate, closed rapidly on the Colonel's person, the Colonel had time to ponder the imponderables.

Time to reflect on accomplishments.

Time to regret boxes left unchecked on his bucket list.

Time to chastise himself for denying himself dessert the night before, out of some deluded desire to live forever.

Actually, there really wasn't any time for all of that.  There really was only time for...


How the Colonel was able to extricate his carcass from under the truck prior to becoming a not-so effective speed bump on the boat's return to its berth in the lean-to adjacent to the Man Toy Storage and Sawdust Production Facility is a matter the Colonel will take up with his Creator face-to-face someday. 

Suffice it to say, the Colonel strongly suspects there was a Divine fist grasped surely around his belt at his back.       

At any rate, the truck was now not only returning the boat to its berth, but was also attempting to join it.

There is a slight problem with that.

There is only room for the boat.

One of the projects over which the Colonel has procrastinated is closing in the back of the lean-to adjacent to the Man Toy Storage and Sawdust Production Facility.  

As the truck and boat continued on their journey, the Colonel sat watching -- thankful for his procrastination.

Until he realized that the likely end of the journey was going to be a pile-up of truck and boat in the ravine behind the lean-to attached to the Man Toy Storage and Sawdust Production Facility.

Two things saved the Colonel from realizing that likelihood.

First, a lone pine tree behind the lean-to attached to the Man Toy Storage and Sawdust Production Facility stood in the way. 

The Colonel had time to begin regretting having to tell #2 son how a pine tree happened to be wrapped around the treasured 60 horse four-cycle outboard on the boat, when the second thing occurred.

Remember the wide-open driver side door through which the Colonel clearly saw the truck gear shift in reverse?

The same wide-open driver side door that provided the Colonel's guardian angel yet another opportunity to earn his wings?

The wide-open driver side door struck the corner of the Man Toy Storage and Sawdust Production Facility to which the boat berth lean-to was attached. 

The sound of door hinges being wrenched is reverberating in the Colonel's brain-housing group still.

The sight of the driver-side door bending completely backward and alongside the front left corner panel of the truck is one the Colonel will likely never forget.

That, and the sight of a truck tire, with truck attached, rolling toward him.

With the truck slowed by the driver side door sacrifice, the boat motor came to rest against the lone pine tree, and the journey ended without the feared pile-up.

It's been a week now and the Colonel is still shook.        
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