Still Stupid After All These Years


Normally, my ‘stupid-stories’ are about things that happened to me in the dim and distant past. But the story which I’m going to tell you now actually only happened a little less than six months ago.

It still hurts me, both emotionally and physically, to think too much about it. Still, I hope you get a little smile from reading it.

That’s the whole point really.
* * * *

In my job, I sometimes have to go out into fields in the countryside and check out their boundaries. Six week ago, I had one such job which took me into the green green depths of County Mayo (Ireland, of course).

It was a lovely sunny afternoon as I drove out and met the very nice lady who owned the land. We had agreed to meet her elderly neighbour down the field so we both pulled on our boots and headed off together down the grassy slopes.

Soon enough, we came to a fence. It was made of barbed wire and interspersed with tall wooden posts. We had to get past it. The lady – let’s give her a name, let’s say… Mary! Right, well, ‘Mary’ inched her way through a tiny gap and left a fair scrap of her nice tweed jacket on the jagged edges of the wire.

I had my best and loudest red jacket on and I didn’t fancy tearing it so I decided to go ‘over the top’. My plan was to climb on top of one of the large wooden poles that made up the fence and then simply jump down the other side.

It didn’t work out that way.

I got up on to the pole all right. There was only room for one foot on top of it so I balanced there, one leg bent back, arms outstretched. I reckon I must have looked a bit like the Karate Kid except in Welly-Boots.

So for one graceful moment, there I was – perched in the countryside on my pole.

All was well with the world.

Then I went to jump down the other side of the fence.

Perhaps it was because Mary chose that very moment to shout, ‘Be Careful,’ at me.

Perhaps she caused the very air to become negatively charged with her concern.

Perhaps it was all simply destined to fail from the moment I mounted my pole.

Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps…

I launched myself from the top of the pole but the act of my launching caused the poorly anchored pole to fall away backwards behind me just as I departed it.

This transformed what should have been a simple leap to the ground into a graceless swan dive out into rural space.

Bear in mind I was about six feet off the ground when I parted company with the toppling pole. It felt like a long long way to fall.

On the way down I found time to realise that my chin was going to be my first point of contact with the Earth.

In a last-ditch attempt at vanity, I drew my head back to save my beloved chin.

I threw my arms out behind me too, so as to further take my lower jaw out of the impact zone.

It worked. I hit the ground chest first, head up, arms back.

I think it really was quite a remarkable show.

Mary ran up to me. ‘Are you all right?’ she gasped, “Are you all right?”

I was winded. I was as winded as a winded person can ever be winded. There was no breath in me.

But I could tell that Mary was deeply concerned. The way I was curled up clutching my chest, the poor lady was probably thinking that I was having a heart attack.

So I squeezed an answer out on my last dribble of air.

“I’m fine.” I wheezed, “Fine…”

Did I mention that Mary was ‘hard of hearing’?

Mary was as ‘hard of hearing’ as the post from which I had so recently sailed forth.

She shook me a bit.

“I said are you all right?” she wailed.

I recovered, after a while. I sat up and reassured Mary that I was indeed fine.


In point of fact my stupidity had earned me two cracked ribs. But I wouldn’t know that until much later. For now, I pretended to have no ill effects at all.

It was critical that I regain some of my professional manner so that I could continue on and complete my job on a calm clinical way…

…as if!

(Really, I should end this story now – I’ve written enough words, I think. A story which has, up until now, been fairly embarrassing for me to tell is about to become completely mortifying. Still, I can’t stop myself from telling it. God help me I can’t!!)

On the way back up the field, after completing our little boundary-check, we came to the same fence again.

I had reinstated the pole as best I could so the fence was once again an obstacle to be overcome. Mary went through it exactly as she had done before.

I still wanted to save my jacket so I went with ‘Plan B’.

I walked to a point midway between two posts, pushed the barbed wire down and stepped over the top of it.

I do this all the time, it’s not a problem.

But this time, when I threw my leg over the fence , I got my first inkling that all might not be quite right with my ribcage.

A sharp pain wrenched through me.

I let go of the barbed wire in shock and the evil wire shot up and snagged me around the place where my trouser-legs tend to meet up.

I hasten to explain, there was no ‘anatomical’ difficulty here – I had baggy waterproof pants on over my ‘regular pair’ (of trousers, dear, of trousers) so I wasn’t in danger of any fate worse than death.

But I was left in a dreadfully uncomfortable position. One leg was on the ground, the other leg was dangling in the air on the other side of the fence and my trousers were totally snagged as if on the barb of a fish hook.

Try as I might, I simply could not free myself from the fence.

Not to mention that I had two newly cracked ribs.

Okay, I mentioned it.

Mary watched me struggle for what seemed like twenty-five minutes and then she apologetically asked. “Can I give you a hand?”

I had no choice.

Dear Mary got down on her knees in the field and, at face level with my snagged trousers, she tugged and wrangled and finally got my errant crotch free again.

As I told you, her elderly neighbour had agreed to walk down the field that day and meet up with us for a chat…

…he never showed up.

For these small mercies, we can only give thanks.

@Ken Armstrong 2008

About the Author:

Ken Armstrong of Ken Armstrong Writing Stuff – is a genuine blogger with a generous heart. I know that those who read his blog would agree that he is a brilliant writer; he had published countless of his plays, stories and poems, and some were featured on stage, in Ireland. I could write pages and pages of his writing accolades. Read his impressive writing resume and you’ll know what I mean.

This article had been posted during the early days of this blog and some of you may not have read it , so I’m posting this again. You wouldn’t want to miss this.

For more of Ken’s interesting and amazing stories visit his blog at:
Ken Armstrong Writing Stuff.

While you’re here, you can cast your vote for Ken and Ken Armstrong Writing Stuff

for nominations on the following Blogger’s Choice Award for Year 2009

1. Best Blogging Host

2. Best Blog of all Time

Thanks for your votes. Again, thank you Ken for allowing me to re-post your article. More power and more successes for you! You deserve it!

Photo 2 by Zevotron____________________________________________________________________________________

19 thoughts on “Still Stupid After All These Years”

  1. Sounds like you had a pretty painful time. I know all about Irish fence posts – being Irish might have something to with that. I’ve hauled myself over fences from the Lake District to the Highlands of Scotland, but the Irish ones are the worst.

    Thanks for posting this Jena, it’s good to get a laugh at Ken’s expense.

  2. This is my third time to read this, yet I still laughed at Ken’s expense. I truly sympathize with him, but I couldn’t help myself; he wrote it so darn funny!

    Anyway, that was six months ago and with the looks of him, he’s doing just fine. You’re doing just fine, right, Ken? Hee, hee.

    Hey Ken, you should visit my Tasha’s Take blog when you have the time. I’ve got some music posts there now. You may like to my playlists if you’re interested.
    I shall be visiting your blog soon.

    You both have a great day,

  3. Hi Tasha,

    Yes, I also laugh everytime I read this. I’ll dropping by your tasha’s take to listen to your music. Thanks and happy blog hopping.

  4. Dear jena, this story made me laugh. This could happen to us all, and Ken described all the event in some sort of understatement that increases the funny impression furthermore…Good read thank you and happy blogging

  5. those fence can be very dreary and so don't underestimate it, lol! I had some fun memories with all those kind of fence in the island… it's too bad to say but I go with my cousins jumping over the barbed wire fence (without my Mom's knowing) when I was a kid…just to get some guavas, mangoes from a gated property (no tenant/caretaker whatsoever)… to feed ourselves from hunger (playing too much) and seeing all the scattered guavas & mangoes on the ground was quiet tempting, hahaha!
    very nice story! I had a good time reading it:) and thanks for sharing:)

  6. Hi Shawie,

    Lol, your experience could be a good story too; climbing over the barbed wires because of hunger. he he he.

    You have not enjoyed childhood if you haven’t got scars to show afterwards.

    Cheers. Thanks and best regards.

  7. Jen,
    This is a funny story. All credits to Ken of course.

    @Ken, sorry dude I couldn’t help laughing. It was a good read! But i would suggest that the readers should avoid eating or drinking while reading this story.


  8. Hi Zorlone,

    Yeah, I burst out laughing too when I read this…The story is presented in such a way that you have to pause and imagine the scenario.

    Happy blog hopping Doc.

  9. @Jen,

    I just remembered, Ken was being careful not to ruin his red jacket!

    Bad news: A broken rib

    Good news: The jacket was intact and a great story to tell!


  10. I really enjoyed that. A great read. Having spent some time in the country I can imagine all that happened. I was once chased by an upset sow over a fence! She wasn’t called Mary though! Had she got a hold of my crotch – well I shudder to think.

  11. Hi P1ke,

    I absolutely agree, thanks for taking time to visit. I do appreciate it. Cheers and happy blog hopping.

  12. hahaha! I think I read this in ken’s blog, and i laughed so hard that time.

    jena, thanks for visiting my Pinoy Around the World site. I have been remiss in my writing for that blog. a the moment, i am a blogger in limbo as I have some technical issues about my two websites. hayun tuloy, i am not inspired to write.

    By the way, I’d like to re-submit a more refined version of the story on Tony. I have seen some very minor edits lang.

    thanks, friend!



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