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Stupid is as stupid does

CTALK - Cito Beltran (The Philippine Star) - June 23, 2021 - 12:00am

As the metal grinder cut half way through my foot, the first thing I recalled was the famous phrase of Forrest Gump: “Stupid is as stupid does.” Working with power tools with no protective gear is and always has been STUPID but that’s the oxymoron reality, if I were not stupid I would not have landed in the hospital for four days and three nights, seven shoe string style stitches not to mention a six- to eight-week recovery period. Trust me, I’m not fishing for sympathy as I am really grateful to God that the steel cutting blade did not hit a tendon, vein or bone. They actually washed out a 2-inch piece of the 4-inch grinding wheel that I did not see or feel in the wound. Had I opted to do home first aid, things may have turned for the worse in terms of gangrene, tetanus or sepsis.

Aside from the realization of my utter stupidity, I learned from the attending surgeon Dr. Villanueva that there are many more such accidents and serious injuries that come to the hospital and all of them resulted from the patient not wearing proper foot wear (workshop shoes or boots), not using gloves and not wearing eye protection such as safety goggles or face shields. The potential face and eye injury never occurs to many of us DIY folks but apparently some have lost an eye or gained the nickname scar face!

With several days bed-ridden, I started to seriously figure out how to do things better and search the web for the gear and equipment to carry on with my DIY projects. That’s when I realized that bolt cutters and steel bar cutters could do the same job, an articulating saw and table mounted grinder cutter would be safer and in terms of costs, I’m certain that my hospital bill and the professional fees of several specialists would cost more than those tools and protective gear.

This I’m sharing because when word got out about my serious injury, a number of people came out on Facebook to express and share the fear they constantly feel every time their husband, father or son operates a power tool they were not properly trained to use or properly suited up for. There are also some of us who do car repair under the vehicle with nothing else between us but a hydraulic jack. That is working with too little brains and too much faith and also the reason why we read or see news reports of a DIY guy getting squashed. All this happens more often than we think and the only reason it’s not out there is because people don’t like being called stupid!

Whether you do DIY, do baking or any sort of “fun stuff,” please spend a few minutes or half an hour to list down the potentially dangerous accidents waiting to happen, such as slipping on the floor, electrocution, gas explosion, etc. What we take for granted will come back to bite us. In my case, as the song goes, “the first cut is the deepest” and the medical cost will be the second! Take care.

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Last Saturday one of our readers reached out to me to confirm what I wrote about online gambling, particularly online sabong among many people who don’t have any idea whatsoever about cockfighting, are not game fowl breeders or farm owners. They are simply into online sabong because of its accessibility.

I was not sure how to deal with it but when I sensed that he sounded depressed, I opted to speak with him at length, saying it was the least I can do since he was man enough to admit and share his situation. It seems he had gotten into online sabong in a bad way and ended up losing all his money, all his savings and losing his fiancé who was not willing to be hitched with someone addicted to gambling. I also learned that he still had a lot of debts to pay and I can only hope that they were not with loan sharks with collector cops!

This conversation brought me back to 1971 when I got a summer job as a press photographer for the now defunct Evening News of the Elizalde group. It was an exciting job that took me all over the country and got me off from getting into really bad habits of the chemical type.

Being so impressionable at 16 years old and badly needing to fit in, I hung around men who were three to five times older than me and would join them passing the time. While waiting for dispatches or assignments, they started playing “Luck 9” or was it 21. I can’t quite recall the card game. All I remember was losing P200 of my P260 first salary ever! I was downcast, ashamed but I kept this to myself through the years. That was a lot of money but it was a small tuition fee to pay to keep me away from gambling. To this day I don’t know how to play pusoy, Black Jack or whatever card games there are. As they say, a mistake made into a lesson turns into experience.

Life is full of losses and lessons, focus on learning the lessons.

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E-mail: utalk2ctalk@gmail.com

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