November 22nd, 2005


Slapstick in the Dumpster

There I stood this morning, waiting on the L platform, while below me on the street a work crew was busy tearing up an old sidewalk and pouring a new one. The old sidewalk was being lifted square by square, with huge noisy machines, into a big nasty dumpster. As I watched, one large square was put in, but it was too large to fit, so it lay across the entire top of the dumpster, straddling the two sides. A burly workman climbed up, sledge hammer in hand, and set about breaking the piece up so that it would fall into the dumpster. He did this while standing on top of the concrete square! I think my jaw fell open as I thought, "If he's successful, he's going to fall right in there with the broken concrete!" It was like a live action version of a Wile E. Coyote cartoon. The first hammer blow fell, and nothing happened. The worker swung harder the second time. The square immediately broke into three pieces and down they fell into the dumpster. Sure enough, the burly worker fell right in with them, falling out of sight but presumably landing somewhat awkwardly. I wondered if maybe he had twisted an ankle or worse, but he immediately popped up and climbed out, though he did seem to look around to see whether anyone had seen him fall. He neglected to look up though, or he would have seen me slowly shaking my head, thinking that if he had managed to kill himself just then, he would have been a leading candidate for this year's Darwin Award.
  • Current Music
    Mona Lisa - Nat King Cole