He calls me Jinx

Please allow me to explain. Who knows when it first began; but without question, as time passed, it became more obvious to some that trouble seemed to always find me. Even in a crowd. “He” as the title indicates, was one of the many foremen I had worked under during my long, illustrious career as a laborer on various construction sites and as a steel worker in many mills across the USA. Inevitably, the name Jinx would find me, as did a continuous stream of misfortune. For example:

One afternoon, I was leaning out the open window of my 5-ton crane in the bar mill curiously watching one of the 1st assistants. He was using an air hammer to make dents in a roll to add “bite” to the hot ingots as they passed into the rolls. This was a routine process to which sand was also then thrown at the moment of contact allowing the steel to be securely fed on through as it was pressed into smaller and smaller diameters until it reached the designated size. So there was nothing unusual to the day and I was patiently waiting to move the roll into place in the mill when he was finished. But after a few minutes watching him I was suddenly, it seemed, struck in the mouth with a baseball bat! I fell backwards into the cab almost landing on the floor, only my mounted swivel chair broke my fall. I grabbed my face and immediately felt blood on my fingers. Every time I moved my mouth I felt a sharp sting, yet I could feel no loose teeth with my tongue and my jaws were not painful to move. But each movement of my upper lip continued to cause a severe burning and more blood. I quickly composed myself and activated the bridge motor to move my crane to the ladder. No one on the floor noticed me until the crane moved. I ignored the yells and climbed down the ladder and ran into the restroom. In front of the mirror I leaned in and lifted my upper lip up and away from my teeth. The inside of my lip was lacerated in multiple places near the center. And then I caught a glint of light between my two front teeth. Embedded between them was a needle size sliver of steel from the roll that had been hammered loose and flew through the air smacking me in the face and lodging between my teeth. One of the maintenance guys walked in looking for me and I grabbed a pair of pliers from his belt and pulled the inch long shard of steel out of my mouth.

And on and on, one story after another, the odds favor the nickname. In almost exactly the same place years earlier I was on the floor below a crane. I had just hooked up a ½ inch steel chain to a giant block of concrete the department wanted removed. The crane hoist shuddered and strained to its 10-ton limit. I crawled just beyond the crane rails above outside of the building altogether. I crouched in the ditch and held onto my hardhat ducking down as low as I could go. Suddenly there was a snap and everyone yelled as the concrete dropped into the dirt. I stayed put suspecting the chain had broken. The chain flew up into the air through the center bridge of the crane. It missed the trolley and hoist. It missed all the rafters in the 40-foot ceiling, all the lights, wires and cables. It travelled slightly at enough of an angle to strike the side of the building. Then it fell the final 20 feet between the wall and the crane rails hitting me directly on the head!

Unfortunately similar mishaps continue to befall me. Just this week, while driving home from work, a yellow jacket flew into my car and stung me on the face. No matter how well intentioned, cautious, and prepared I may feel, Jinx is what he called me.

Caring Choices remains hopeful that everyone understands the importance of discussing what each of us feel is important in life. And we also believe that planning for the random visit from “Jinx” will help lessen the impact of the unexpected. Please do not be caught off guard. Talk with those you would trust soon.

(c) 2014 Caring Choices