Monday, July 27, 2009

Bob Bradley, A Confused and Dangerous Person.

Bob Bradley likes to think of himself as an all around handyman. When he looks at himself in the mirror he sees a talented gifted electrician, carpenter and plumber. If the haze of ego were to lift he would see an average custodian staring back at him through the looking glass.

Bob handles a broom and mop competently and knows his chemicals well enough not to poison the performers, staff and guests of Cloverdale’s Empire Theater. Anything beyond that and he all thumbs. Proof of which can be seen in the picture above. What started out as the changing of a backstage florescent bulb turned into a disaster of epic proportions.

Bob balanced carefully at the top of a wooden ladder manufactured a month after ladders were invented. His journey skyward was taken one rung at a time. After each step, Bob shuffled slightly on the rung to equally distribute his weight. Failing to carry out this necessary step resulted in an unfortunate meeting of the ladder, the floor and you.

Bob reached the top of the ladder and took a brief moment to do the shuffle. Once in equilibrium, he slowly brought the new bulb up into position with his left hand. Using his right hand he gently turned the old flickering bulb until the two posts at each end were horizontal. The florescent tube should have easy dislodged with a gentle pull, at least according to the manual. Bob pulled. The bulb didn’t dislodge. He gave it a tug with more force. The bulb didn’t come out. Bob spoke four or five carefully chosen four letter words to help convince the bulb to cooperated. He pulled..... and nothing. He pulled harder....... and nothing. With his patience spent, he applied even more force. The bulb reacted to the force by shattering - sending shards of thin white glass raining down on Bob and everyone below. Bob shielded his eyes, and in the process his left foot moved four centimeters to the left. The ladder shuddered and began listing port. Bob felt himself moving away from 90 degrees to the floor. His life played before his eyes as the angle's degrees slipped away.

At such a time one’s instinct to survive becomes paramount. In ship talk its every man for himself. With a total disregard for anyone standing below, Bob dropped the new bulb - letting it fall to the floor and explode. He heard screaming below. Then one single voice rose above everyone else's. It was the leading lady in the evening’s performance of Annie Get Your Gun.
“Run, he’s coming down,” she shrieked while attempting to make a backstage exit. Unfortunately her spurs tangled with her chaps sending her to the floor.

Normally Bob would care but at that moment he was reliving his third grade in vivid color. As the list quickly gathered speed Bob flailed his arms searching for anything attached to something solid. Just as scenes from the fifth grade started his right arm came in contact with a bundle of electrical wires running from the central lighting control to the theater's stage lights. At the last millisecond Bob grasped the wires with one hand. The ladder slipped from under him and crashed to the floor. Bob swung from the wires. A few seconds later he heard a pop. One of the clamps holding the bundled wires to the wall loosened and gave way. Bob dropped four feet and stopped with a jerk as the next clamp took his weight. Seconds later, it also gave way. This process continued until Bob was safely on the floor.

The play was canceled for the night. The lights wouldn’t work and the leading lady was in an ambulance heading to the clinic. Bob apologized to the theater’s manager, staff and actors. He assured them that he would have the electrical repairs straightened out before the next performance. Before going to bed Bob took out a pencil and pad of paper. He felt it best to make a list to ensure he got everything right. The first item on the list read:

1. Find circuit box.

It will be a miracle if Bob survives the repair without being electrocuted or burning the century old theater to the ground.

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