09 March 2008

101 ways to maul yourself

AKA. How to Operate a Chainsaw

This weekend HF and I went to help clear trees off his brother's property. Bro and his wife are building a house on their property - their first - and this was sort of a "family" event. Wife was out shopping so I hung out on the couch to get some writing done. I was doing really well. Of course, the short attention spanned master of procrastination has other ideas. Attracted by the sound of powertools, I headed outside to see what the boys were "up to."

The boys were doing very cool things with very scary chainsaws. They also found good use for an extra set of hands and before I knew it I was helping to pull down said alders in the desired direction. Which was kind of like playing chicken with a falling tree. Fun. Not content with just dodging trees, I decided I needed MORE danger.

So I asked to learn to run the chainsaw. I can't exactly explain the appeal to you, except for to say its the kind of thing you crave when you grow up in a house full of intellectuals. I mean I have READ about chainsaws, but I can't say I've actually been close enough to one to see the blade. HF OWNS his own chainsaw. WOW.

To his credit, HF didn't even hesitate when I asked. Outfitted in gloves, goggles and a stern lecture on how "carelessness with the chainsaw can kill you," he pointed me at the nearest fallen trees and proceeded to teach a course in "Chainsaw operation 101."

Which amounted to "101 ways to maul yourself if you don't pay attention to what your doing with a motor operated saw."

Good times. Before each new bit of the lesson I got a worst case scenario explanation of exactly HOW I could maul myself if I didn't do it right. Which is probably why the final lesson was how to start the thing, as the wrong sequence of action can land you a saw blade in the schnoz - and though the blade wouldn't be running it would still probably hurt like a mother f*Cker.

So. Each alder I was allowed to work on was only about 4-8 inches thick, but apparently in all the pictures I have a very intense expression on my face as I maneuver the saw through trunks. Yes, you heard that right. Some people will naked pictures circling the internet - me? In mine, I am fully clothed and holding a chainsaw while massacring some fallen baby trees. God forbid I ever run for office.

I have to say HF is a pretty good teacher. He was patient, grave, but still let me have at it for as long as I wanted to, and didn't complain when I retreated back to my computer with a trembling arm. Of course, you'd be a good teacher to if you could spend part of the afternoon drinking beer while supervising your girlfriend sharpening your chainsaw blade.

Suffice it to say, my desire to run a 'saw is completely satisfied. Now I will have something interesting to add to a character's traits when I need an outdoorsy rural type. That's the great thing about being a writer: Everything is research.

No comments: