When I was in college, I worked as the evening manager for a stocking crew at a local grocery store. I was training a new employee (let’s call him Steve) and had made it to the back room, where the cardboard baler was. 3-4 times a day, the baler would be filled with cardboard from stocking the shelves and need to be emptied, so it was necessary for our new employee to learn how to make a bale correctly. I was ready to give Steve his first lesson in making a bale.
This lesson of mine? Almost cost Steve his life.
The basics to building a proper bale are simple: six strong, flexible wires needed to be wrapped around the bale while the machine smashed the cardboard down as much as possible. One slight problem, however, is that the holes where the wires needed to be put through in the machine would get clogged with cardboard. The solution? A long, heavy metal bar with a pointed end that could be shoved through the holes.
Steve and I were in the back, making a bale together. I told him to get in the back of the baler to make sure the wires went through as I pushed out the offending cardboard that was blocking the wire holes. I distinctly remember him asking,
“What if you push the bar through while I’m right here?”
To which I answered, “It’s easy- I’ll just shout out which hole I am punching out 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.- and when I call out the number, make sure you aren’t behind that hole!”
I proceeded to lift that bar and shoved it through the holes with all my might, all the while shouting, “1st hole!” “2nd hole!” “3rd hole!” and then “4th hole!”. This was accompanied by a scream. “AH! You got me in the eye!” Steve was already quite the prankster and I told him to not joke about something so serious. He walked out from behind the baler, covering his face. I could already see blood streaming from behind his fingers.
I thought I wanted to die.
It wasn’t until after we made it to the emergency room that the story of what had happened came out. For some reason, he had been confused and when I said “4th hole!”. He thought that I wanted him to see what was blocking the whole and he had PUT HIS EYE to the hole RIGHT when I shoved that bar through.
Through some amazing stroke of luck, the doctor told us, the bar had glanced off the bridge of his nose and scraped his eye lightly. He ended up with stitches on his nose and an eye patch for a few weeks, but otherwise was fine.
What made me sick to my stomach was how CLOSE that sharp, heavy pole came to piercing through his eye and into his brain. He could easily have died. This story still haunts my memory.
AND. Is a lesson in marriage.
Neither Steve nor I was doing something wrong. We both were doing what needed to be done to make a successful bale, but because we were not communicating correctly, I almost ended up killing him.
In marriage, both you and your spouse could be doing the right thing to making a good marriage (working for a living, taking care of your kids, running a good household), but if you have poor communication and cannot tell one another where you are and what/why you do what you do, you can end up killing your marriage.
Communication. It will literally make or break your marriage.