I had an incident that happened yesterday which brought to mind the subject matter for today, DIMs.What is a DIMs you might ask? Well it’s a short acronym for something I say a lot. For example, later tonight as I try to navigate around my bed to go to the bathroom I stub my toe on one of the legs of the bed and say, “Damn It”. I cursed at myself for being so stupid or unfortunate to cause injury to myself. Just for the record, I do not say God dammit. But I do say, “Damn it” (DIMs). So I started thinking about all those DIMs in my life. I thought I would share a few of them with you including the one that happened yesterday.
I, like many men, enjoy having tools and using them. There has been more than one occasion while working on vehicle engines and using a wrench where the wrench slipped and it caused an injury and my knuckle to start bleeding. It was not the wrench’s fault but my fault because I put too much pressure on the object that didn’t want to move. The results of the slip cause my knuckle to hit against a metal part of the engine which took off a little skin and produce some bleeding. This created another DIM. Sometimes I would shout out, “damn it Steve” as if I was a third person watching me from the outside. In my earlier years as I tried to do everything from plumbing, to mechanical and electrical I created many of those DIMs. There was a time when I was working in the attic of my house trying to put in some new electrical outlets and began working with the electrical wire. To begin with the house was in the California desert and the temperature there had to be well over hundred and ten degrees. And the space that I was working in was really cramped, but that didn’t stop me from trying to put in a new electrical line. And while connecting that line to several other lines in the connection box I discovered the thrill of being electrocuted by 110 volts of electricity. And so I yelled out a DIM and cursed myself for not turning off their electricity in the first place before working on it.
I am a person that once I start a project I do not like to stop. And so a long time ago when I was trying to make a new wooden mantel for my fireplace I kept working on the project deep into the night. And because I didn’t have a shop at that time, I used my garage for a place to work at. In the garage was a pool table and so many times I used the pool table like you would use a bench in the garage. And so as the night went on and I wanted to finish a certain part of the project, I took my circular electric saw and began to cut into a piece of plywood which was laying on the pool table. As I’m cutting along, suddenly it dawns on me that I should have already passed the edge of the pool table during the cut. So I turned off the saw and lifted up the sheet of plywood and discovered that I had cut about 6 inches into the outer edge of the pool table, and muttered to myself- another DIM. I think I also called myself an idiot and after the seriousness of the moment had passed, I started to laugh at myself. I think if you check with my children they remember the day that dad sawed into the pool table.
I know some of you out there have battery-operated or electric hand drills. And I know that there were several times when I was trying to drill in a Phillip’s head screw, when the drill bit jumped out of the grooves for the screw. When the drill bit jumped out of the grooves of the screw due to the pressure that I was putting on the hand drill it immediately went into the finger next to this screw and bored out a small little chuck of skin, another DIM. Here is something more basic like trying to hammer nails into the wall and you’re hammering away when the head of the hammer slides off the head of the nail and immediately crushes your finger.
It’s bad enough when these moments happen when you’re by yourself but when they happen with a large audience it gets a little different. On my first day of actual retirement I was driving my rental moving van, full of furniture, from California to Texas. In doing so, my sons and my brother-in-law followed along in a second vehicle. The trip from LA to Houston is a long and boring one on interstate number 10. And so after a long day of driving on the road we had arrived at our hotel location for the night. During the trip we had used small handheld CBs to communicate to each other. So as I slowly pulled in front of the hotel I did not hear my brother-in-law and children screaming at me that the rental van was too tall for the overhang of the hotel. And so I slowly drove the top of the van into the face of the overhang. Another DIM occurred and after looking at the damage and talking to the hotel owner I realized that the damage was slight and my insurance would cover any damage to the hotel. After everyone had seen that I had calmed down there was nothing but laughter from my children and my brother-in-law. And even I had to start to laugh at the fact that I paid no attention to how tall my van was or how high the sign told me that the overhang was. This story is still told today at family functions.
In one of my earlier blogs I’d mentioned the fact that a man cannot have enough tools and that in an initial drive in my old Ford truck I found myself using a dime instead of having a screwdriver to work with, this was another DIM. Sometimes it’s something so simple like going to the store. I usually have an item that I need at the store or that my wife is asked me to go to the store to get. So I go to the store I purchased all kinds of things and then when I get back home I realize that I did not buy the thing I went to the store to get, another DIM.
I seem to do a good job of having DIMs while I’m working on my many different projects. Things as simple as knocking over the can of paint that you were using and trying to get out all the paint off of the floor or rug. Or starting to use an aerosol can and not realizing which way the open spout was pointed and spray myself. Each of those moments is another DIM.
Now let’s get to yesterday and what I did to produce another DIM. I was in my shop using my grinding machine to grind down some pipe so that it would fit into a slip coupling. While doing so I noticed that the grinder was a little bit off center and while I was holding the pipe in one hand and without looking up at the grinder, I reached out to move the grinder a little to the left. The first thing that happened was that I felt the grinding wheel on my middle finger of my right hand. The burning sensation was like putting your finger into a fire, and thus another DIM. It just took off a little skin off my finger but thus another DIM.
I’m sure I could go on and on about the many Damn it Moments (DIMs). I believe there are a lot of you out there that could also share a lot of DIMs.