Fear of chainsaw still bites

By Andrew Austin

I bought a chainsaw about a month ago, but I still have not used it.

I like to tell myself that it is because I have been very busy. We have our big office move coming up in a few weeks time and we have been busy with our local government election coverage plans.

But I know that is not the reason at all.

The real reason I have not touched the gleaming new machine on my garage bench, is that I am just a tiny bit afraid of it.

I reckon it is all the horror stories I have heard over the years of people doing themselves harm with chainsaws. Some of the stories are so graphic that they must surely be urban legends, but you never know.

Anyway, after a week of wondering if my purchase had been a wise move, I decided that what I needed was all the protective gear. So off I went and kitted myself out with all I needed to feel safe while wielding the chainsaw in my back garden.

It certainly made me feel better and I was gearing up to have a go this weekend. That is until I saw the scars.

I happened to mention my dilemma to some colleagues in the office. This prompted our deputy editor Mark Story to casually remark: "Have I told you about my chainsaw accident when I nearly cut off my foot?"

At first I thought he was joking, but I soon realised he was deadly serious. With a touch of drama, he whipped off his shoe and sock and showed me the scars.

He then proceeded to tell me all the gory details of the accident. He, and his foot, obviously lived to tell the tale, but it was a traumatic experience for him.

He certainly has the scars to prove it.

Just hearing it was enough for me.

I am not afraid of many things in life - you can't really be a timid person in this profession - but I do now find myself in a difficult situation.

I cannot just let it sit there, That would be a waste of money (chainsaws are not cheap). I have a simple choice to make: I must either use it to get rid of the mountain of big branches piling up or I must swallow my pride and take it back to the store I bought it from.

The latter is not as simple as it sounds because the salesman who served me knows me now and asks me every time he sees me if I have used the chainsaw.

I suppose the only way is to do what a former colleague of mine used to tell staff members: "Drink some concrete and harden up."

So, hopefully by the time you have read this, I will have a neat stack of firewood for next winter.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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