- Aging & Longevity
Boys Have 9 Lives Too
Boys Have 9 lives
Boys grow into men by pure luck. Like cats we have nine lives maybe more. I don’t know a grown man who hasn’t used up some of those lives. Call it luck or call it fate. We don’t get very old without using up some of our lives. I have listed some of my close calls in this hub. I know that you have had some too. Tell us about them.
I was one of the very lucky ones. When I was seven we lived in Philadelphia. I liked to roam the nearby woodlot. It was 1952. Once while exploring the woods I came across a camp. I surprised the young man who lived there. He was twice as big as me and had a rusty butcher knife in his hand. He grabbed me before I could run. He held me from behind and put the knife to my throat. The knife was old and rusty and long. I was scared and breathing fast and hard.
He lifted me off the ground.
“I could cut your throat”, he threatened.
I don’t remember saying a word. I was petrified. I don’t know how long he held me. He laughed when he let me go.
I ran. I ran as fast as I had ever run. He didn’t chase me but I couldn’t stop running until I got to my street and saw familiar faces. I was afraid to tell anyone because he said he would get me if I did. It was my secret and I kept it. I didn’t understand until much later how lucky I was to survive that encounter with a stranger in the woods. I know it cost me one of my lives maybe more than one.
Hit by a car-
We lived on Greeby Street in Philadelphia. It was narrow with cars parked on both sides of the street there was only room for one car to squeeze by. That is why I survived being hit by a car.
Darting out in the street from between parked cars was a normal activity for us. The yards were small and the street was our play ground. In the early 1950’s cars were big and heavy. The car was going very slow when I darted out in front of it. It still knocked me down. The driver stopped and someone ran to my house and told my family that I was hit. I went to the hospital in the car that hit me. My mom and Dad went with me. The neighbors watched my sisters.
At the hospital they put me on a lighted table and moved my arms and legs in all kinds of directions. It turned out that nothing was broken, just sore. It could have easily come out differently, I was lucky again. Also used up another life.
This one also happened in Philadelphia. I was seven and playing in the street like we always did. There was an older girl on the corner who wasn’t from the neighborhood. She was standing in our way as we raced around on our orange crate scooters. As I slowed to go by her she grabbed my arm and dug in with her fingernails. She told me to get away from her. My arm was bleeding as I scooted away. My friends thought it was funny but we all stayed away from that corner until she was gone.
Rope swing –
When I was a kid everyone joined the boy scouts. Almost every church had a Boy Scout troop and we went camping all the time. There were always adults around but they didn’t always keep us from doing something stupid.
Nothing is more fun than a rope swing. In Kansas there were plenty of big trees and gullies perfect for rope swings. The rope was hemp and thick enough to lift a horse. We found a big limb that went out over the gully and tied the rope out as far as we could. We tied some knots in the rope to help us hang on and at the bottom of the rope we tied a loop for a foot. The first few scouts to swing hit the tops of some small trees growing in the gully. We got our axes out and cut the trees down. The trees were only two or three inches thick and it didn’t take long for us to clear a big semicircle.
Then we started swinging out over the gully. It started out one at a time but soon it got to be a contest to see how many could get on the swing at one time. The scout leaders joined in the fun and added a lot of weight to the swing. This went on for a while and we all had a great time until the rope broke. The group of us that were on the swing went sailing into the gully where we had cut down the smaller trees. Each tree had a stump sticking up from where we had cut it. Most stumps were cut at an angle because they were small. But a two or three inch stump cut at an angle makes sharpened spear. The first thing most of us thought of after we landed is who got speared. Those on top of the gully were rushing down to help. We lay scattered among the stumps like so many ragdolls. Somehow each of us missed getting speared. That was the end of the swinging and quite a few of our allotted lives.
My Cousin threw a hunting knife-
My cousins and I got knives when we were young. Pocket knives at first then hunting knives. We had oil stones and spent many hours honing our knives. We used the knives constantly in the nearby woods. We made bows and arrows, sling shots out of inner tubes, spears and all of us were expert at whittling. We carried our knives like a badge. We played games with them and had contests throwing them at trees.
One of my cousins lived just seven houses up the street. He was a year older than me and I could really get on his nerves. He was chasing me through the back yards on this particular day. I was running down hill about sixty feet in front of him when he got the bright idea to throw his hunting knife at me. It hit me in the back. It either hit handle first or flat against my back because I didn’t get a scratch, but the table had turned.
He froze when he saw what he had done. I picked up his knife and started running right at him. I yelled something crazy and must have looked serious because he took off for his house. He got there first and locked the door. I beat on the door but he wouldn’t come out. I hit his knife against a rock to damage the blade and left it there.
Back then I really didn’t think about the other possible outcomes. Years later we talked about it. My cousin said he threw the knife in anger not even aiming. We laughed about it but I think it changed both of us. I know it scared me. It was one of the few times that my cousin ever ran from me. He was a bit bigger than I was at the time. I also used up another life.
Rattle snake near Nobleton, Florida-
I was bidding on 5 acres of land near Nobleton, Florida. To get an idea of the size of the plot I started looking for the survey stake. I wasn’t dressed for the woods. I also had two of my boys following me through the brush. We were all in shorts. Towards the back of the property I saw the survey stake and turned to walk that way. I was taking high steps because of the brush and my boys were behind me. As I started to put my foot down I noticed some movement below my foot. It was an Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake. I put my arms back to stop the boys and quickly stepped back. Lucky for us the diamondback was stretched out in the sun and not in striking position. As it coiled up we backed up and left the snake to his sunning. I was out bid and never saw that snake again.
I worked as a telephone repairman for ten years. Part of my job required me to climb up poles to access the telephone cables. The old wooden poles are not always safe to climb because they rot near the ground. We are taught to test each pole before we go up but that doesn’t always happen. I should have tested this one. The power company was putting up new poles down this easement but the telephone cable was still on the old poles. I went up the old pole and for some reason I wrapped my safety belt around the new strand. I felt the pole give way and start to fall. The only reason it didn’t was my safety belt was wrapped around the new strand. The new pole was about fifth teen feet away and there was only one way to get to it since I was about 20 feet in the air. I undid my safety belt and let the pole fall. I hung on to the new strand and hand walked to the new pole. Then I shimmed down the new pole to the ground which felt real good by then. The pole took out a fence and a clothes line when it fell. But since I wasn’t underneath it I didn’t feel too bad.
And that is not counting almost getting hit in the head by a helicopter blade or a run in with a drunk with a razor blade at a Miami /San Diego football game or a large tent that collapsed in a high wind. The more I think of this the luckier I feel. Now I’d like to hear about your close call. I know you have had some.