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Moving Heaven and Earth for my friends

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012 12:14 p.m. CDT

My hometown of Laura, Ohio, is quickly swelling with an influx of past inhabitants. Chief among them are my buddy Roben and his heterosexual man partner, Jeff. They moved just down the block, which now means a majority of my best friends all live along Main Street within shouting distance.

The only downside to a friend moving is the actual move itself. Those of “friend” status usually get roped into helping with the move one way or the other. For me it was a self-voluntarily action made during the immediate aftermath of my recent wedding. In retrospect, it perhaps was a poorly-timed decision made in haste during a state of jubilee and intoxication.

Nevertheless my numero uno associate, Dave Cabeen, and I arrived to Roben’s old abode last month as a steady, cold and miserable rain fell. Rain on moving day, how ... irritatingly stereotypical. Even more so for Roben and Jeff, whose indispensable incomes have allowed them to amass quite an impressive array of technological equipment.

Roben lived in an old defunct hospital where I was born 33 years ago. His habitat rested on the fourth level of the old medical center’s education wing that was accessible through a large patient elevator that was possessed by Satan. The demonic device was known for forcefully closing and the unrelenting safety bars seemed to shrug off any flailing limbs that attempted to interfere with the doors slamming shut. This would normally be something worth noting when moving expensive and highly fragile home d‚cor.

It was not.

Dave and I both had reasonable expectations regarding the amount of items that needed to be loaded into an awkwardly-parked and idling U-Haul truck outside. What we walked into was three-times worse than those expectations. Never before in all my life have I witnessed so many boxes, sofas and beds. I bet I moved half a dozen beds out of there. Why do two dudes have that many beds?

If you happen to be looking for a mover who has bulging biceps, a bald head, a curly mustache or is otherwise dressed as a carnival strong man circa 1920 then I am not your guy. I am more of the shiftless troublemaker kind of mover who prefers to sit back in the corner watching someone else do the work. That’s fine with me because look at me. I am a wimp. I am probably the last person in the world who should be responsible for lifting, hauling or even touching valuable heirlooms, like a very large, all-glass display case.

“Hey, Will E and Dave,” Roben called out to us, “can you move this very large, all-glass display case for me?”

Dave and I did our level best to scurry away like rats as we had previously spotted the glass case upon our arrival. We even commented to one another about the poor saps that would get conned into moving the behemoth.

But at the end of the day, Roben had us dead to rights.

Things were going marvelous at first as we managed to load up the display case on a dolly and proceeded onto the elevator. Upon reaching the ground floor we both noticed the elevator was slightly askew, which created a significant gap between it and the ground floor. When we tried pushing the dolly over the uneven gap it became stuck in the threshold.

While the dolly was stuck Dave and I scrambled to come up with a way to remedy the situation that wouldn’t involve the sound of breaking glass.

Oh, did I mention this case was made entirely out of glass?

And that’s when the elevator doors began to methodically close. Time went in slow motion as we realized the inevitable. I jammed my hands against the elevator’s safety bar to no avail. Inch by inch the doors closed in on the glass case. Out of options, I forcefully jammed my body into the elevator’s threshold, which in retrospect is not how you want to handle such a situation.

Somehow the doors miraculously stopped just in time, sparing the glass case and my personal well-being, which wasn’t that much of a concern.

Mostly because I was already at a hospital.

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