In Hollywood back a few years ago, a shade tree production company was making a Tarzan movie and in one critical scene Tarzan and Cheeta escape pursing bad guys by swinging on a vine across a ravine.
The company had cut some corners and was pushing the action to get their movie into the can and out to movie houses when the stunt man arrived to do the swinging across the ravine bit. He didn’t like the set up and asked for changes to insure he wouldn’t get hurt. The producer told him to do it the way it was set up or leave.
He took off his wig and left.
So, as the story goes, the producer picked the wig off the ground, got down to his skivvies, picked up the monkey, grabbed the rope, yelled for the cameras to roll and starting his Tarzan yell, swung out across the ravine.
Hit the wall on the other side, fell to the bottom and broke every bone in his body. Don’t know what happened to the monkey.
Thereafter in that production company when management wanted to do something over employee objections, people would say, “Well, put on the wig.”
As some know my wife of many, many years had a stroke a few years ago and recently we sold our big sprawling house here and moved into a more manageable townhouse.
It’s a tri-level, so it took some doing to make it Brenda – wheelchair friendly.
We had a chair lift installed up the main stairs by a company out of California. Pricey, but you got to do what you got to do to get the girl up and down the stairs.
Plans were to build a ramp for the 4 steps going from the foyer down to the living room/kitchen level.
Guy installing the chair lift said the ramp would be too steep.
I thought not. Brenda just looked at me and pursed her lips.
Well I did in fact build the ramp and as it happened, I finished late in the day.
I was alone.
The power chair was in the foyer, so the first attempt in testing the rampability of the thing was goin’ down.
Which I did.
And it was scary.
It wasn’t that I was going to fall out of the chair to the front – though it felt like it a little – it was more like a roller coaster ride going down a slope. For sure, wasn’t goin’ be a comfortable commute for Brenda from the foyer down to the family room. It was like something you’d do if you liked to bungle jump. And I didn’t think that described Brenda too much.
Got to the bottom and was thinking, of course, that Brenda wasn’t going to be real, real pleased, but I didn’t give up. Time and money had been spent to build that thing.
I decided to drive the power chair up the ramp… just to see.
Only, there were two little safety wheels out the back that prevented me from actually going up on the ramp.
So I took the safety wheels off. Let me repeat. I took the SAFETY wheels off.
And I started slowly up the ramp. Only I couldn’t make the climb off the floor. Too steep.
So I got back as far as I could and got a running start at the ramp and I hit that sucker going power-chair warp speed… but those rods extended out the back that had held the safety wheels caught the ramp at the bottom – like the lines catching a Navy plane when it lands on an aircraft carrier – and it stopped my power-chair ascent dead and the chair fell backwards. Fell, hell, it was flung back. I was still in it with my right hand on the joy stick. I had felt the chair make the small jump up on the ramp, and I had just started up when my field of vision went suddenly from the ramp, to the foyer, to the ceiling in an arch slamming me back on the floor.
I lay there in the chair looking at the ceiling, like an astronaut waiting for lift-off, stunned for the longest time. I finally moaned, crawled off and took the picture above.
You’ll notice in the picture below we had the smarty pants chair lift guy come back and put in a second lift after I had someone take out the great Parker/Evil Knievel ramp. I was too sore to do much.
Next time you hear some southern person say — against professional advice – something like, I’ll just take off these SAFETY wheels and go real fast and this red power chair’ll make that up-ramp… tell him, go ahead, put on the wig.