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Uphill Both Ways

Volume 9 - Boston 1956


It was a flat sheet of steel that had a shaft fitted on to allow it to be mounted in the Jacob’s chuck of the drill. The other end had a sharp spike in the center and a sharp point on each of the outside corners. Those spikes dug into the plaster and allowed me to work more quickly that with the other kind of bit. I got to work and spent several hours. I kneeled on the work surface by the skull to get more of a purchase on the drill because it was getting heavy.

I suppose it was because I was too tired that it happened. Since I was holding the drill by the two opposed handles I had to lock the trigger on to keep the drill running. That way, as I knelt over the skull with my shoulders sort of above the drill, leaning forward, I held onto the two handles, pushed the bit down in as far as it would go, pulled the drill back up, moved an inch to the side and repeated the motion. Somehow as I lifted the drill this one time, one of the tiny spikes on the corner of the bit caught in the fabric of my jeans, about 3 inches to the right side of the bottom of my zipper. I didn’t realize that. Before I could understand what had happened, this huge drill and bit grabbed the fabric and twisted it tightly. I was sort of stuporous because I didn’t realize what was happening until I felt the bit dig into my groin. I started to enter the right hip joint an inch from my you know what.

Fortunately, this was a comparatively slow speed drill. That gave it a lot of power, but in this case it had the advantage of turning comparatively slowly. That was it did not dig as deeply as it would have if it had been a high speed drill. Thank heavens for small favors. Ha. If it has been a high speed drill, the thing would have been half way to china by the time I got it stopped. With the thing digging into me, I dropped it and tried to get to the trigger to turn it off, otherwise it just kept grinding away. In dropping it, still hanging from my levis and grinding away, the axis of the bit changed so it no longer gouged in my flesh. Instead, it bunched the levis and my underwear up, twisting them like a tourniquet around my leg and shredding them.

I screamed. No one had been paying attention to me up to that point. I was doing my job and they were doing theirs. Dad jumped down off his ladder and came tearing over as did Dave -a really nice man who said the way to remember the position of the ilium in the pelvis is to remember the flower “trillium”, i.e. it sticks “up”.[5] I was in agony and I don’t even remember how they got the drill turned off or the bit out of my jeans or how I got to the hospital, but I got another of my

55-27-05: I just talked with Arnie and he said Dave’s last name was “Roberts”.

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