Swan Dive-Conclusion

Vinman By Vinman, 7th Apr 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/1go5f0mp/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>True Stories

Conclusion to Swan Dive-A construction workers humorous tale, of a near fatal plunge off a scaffold.

Missing in Action

Howard hollered up to us, that it was lunchtime. Before crawling through a third story window to eat lunch with the crew, I informed my young steed, of work I needed to finish, before moving our scaffold, one last time. He nodded in agreement, or so I thought.

After lunch, I headed downstairs to use the head. I informed my young helper to have another cup of coffee and wait for my return. Upon arriving upstairs, he was no where to be found. Wanting to get finished, I headed back outside to the first scaffold. I noticed Howard had cut and tied the last piece of siding to the rope, so I pulled it up.

I waited several minutes for my helper to return, but he was missing in action. Howard was also gone. I figured that Howard may have taken my help on some other chore. That kind of thing happened often, so it didn't concern me.

Hint of Trouble

Balancing the heavy piece of siding in both hands, I gingerly side-stepped off the right scaffold plank onto the left one. A wooden scaffold plank spanning 14 feet, normally has some give, some spring in it, so I wasn't worried, when it gave under my feet a bit. That is...until I took another step. This time the plank gave way too much and I knew in an instant, where I was headed.

My instinct to was to first get rid of the heavy piece of siding in my hand. “HEADS UP!” I hollered, to anyone standing below me, then tossed the siding overboard.

We had spiked or nailed the left and right planks together, so they wouldn't slip off each other. The left side started to fall away, but the right side remained spiked to the other plank. If it gave way, I realized, that I would fall straight down, through a maze of wood scaffolding and land on a small concrete patio below. I was desperately looking for something to grab, to break my fall, when fate stepped in.

Swan Dive

I was standing in the center of a narrow wooden plank, with the right side above me and the left side below me. The angle of the plank, caused me to slip down the plank like a child on a slide. Luckily some old Air Force training kicked in. I stuck my arms out to the side, to keep my balance and bent my knees, so as to absorb the shock when I hit the ground.

Just when I thought I had everything under control, the end of the plank I was standing on, struck a wood brace below me, launching me into the air, as if standing on a spring board. As this wasn't bad enough, the spike holding the right side of the plank gave way, sending that end towards the ground. The result of this action, was that it sent the left side of the plank back up into my feet, sending me even higher.

I felt like a Clown shot out of a cannon. This worried me even more, as I now lost all control of my balance. Everything started to spin, then I remember hitting the ground with a thud.

I awoke-like the proverbial cartoon character with birdies circling his head, after a traumatic event. The next thing I recall, was that I couldn't see or hear anything. Suddenly my senses came too, when Howard, dumped a bucket of cold water over my head. That's when I realized, I was covered from head to foot, in wet, cold sand.

Howard said later, that when the plank launched me into the air, I flew almost up the top of the roof. (Afterwords, we measured the distance, well over 30 feet)! He said at first, he thought I would land on my feet, but that I started to tumble, like an acrobat on a trapeze and did a full 360 degree roll. The guys told me, that when I turned upside, down, all the tools in my belt-hammer, chisels, knife and sharp, pointed nails, started to rain down on them like deadly missiles, making them duck for cover.

My saving grace, was a mound of freshly dumped masonry sand, conveniently situated, between two large, pointed lava rocks, which I nearly missed. Lucky for me, I landed on my side and not my head or neck.

The crew helped me over to a wellhead, where I washed out the remaining sand, that was caked in my ears, eye’s, nose and throat. When I finished with my cold bath, I turned around to applause, and a crew holding wood signs with the number “10” on them. We all had a good laugh! Howard called it a day, I had a long, painful ride home and it took me several days of rest to recover.


The cause of the accident, was that my helper forgot my instruction that we had some work to finish, and had started to remove the brace, leaving it with only a few nails. When I stepped on the plank the brace gave way, sending me on my aerial pursuit. Upon my return to work days later, my helper was gone-fired by Howard.

Swan Dive Story and Drawing, Copyright © 2011, By R.H. Vincent


Construction, Danger Filled Events, Dangerous Environment, Dangerous Jobs, Humor, Swan Song

Meet the author

author avatar Vinman
Retired Contractor, 3 sons, 4 grand-kids. Will write on construction, remodeling, kids, personal and humorous stories, military, anything else, that I take an interest in.

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author avatar Jonathan
7th Apr 2011 (#)

Funny story! Hope you didnt suffer any long term damage. Wood signs with the number 10...lol!

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author avatar Vinman
9th Apr 2011 (#)

If you thought that was funny, check out the flannel kite!

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author avatar WordWulf
9th Apr 2011 (#)

Oh, I liked that a lot. Now I gotta track back & read the rest.

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author avatar Vinman
9th Apr 2011 (#)

Thanks WW...nice to see you again. ;) I'm going to have to rewrite the beginning as it is a bit boring, but check out the other sections...;)

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