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Stupid is As Stupid Does

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The recent news about the rescued miner and the subsequent stories told about the dangers of vertical shaft entries made me think back upon the perils of entering a horizontal tunnel.

I was getting some nice gold at the entrance to an old "coyote hole" as they are called: unreinforced diggins that the old-timers left behind after wiggling their way along a long ago pinched out desert pay layer.  The old-timers had enough sense to leave sufficient caliche-cemented material to support the natural arches of their diggins.  A 100 years later I happened upon this particular situs.  After clearing away debris, I noticed a 6" thick cemented layer of river polished pebbles and cobbles down near the base of one of these remnant arches.  The pay layer of shiny pebbles and cobbles ran through otherwise clay embedded sharp, angular stoney material both above and below.  It wasn't long before my samplings proved up what I hammered out of that obvious pay layer.  The temptation to enter the dark interiors beckoned to me before the day was finished but I resisted.  After all, the tunnel space was only around 2 feet high and maybe 3 feet wide.  More ominously the floor was impeded by numerous fairly large boulders that over time gravity had pulled out of the ceiling and accumulated on the floor.  I'm 6'2" and clearly not shaped for squeezing my way over and around those tight spaces -- especially so because I was 60 years of age back then and my joints just refused to flex anymore as much as I would have liked.

But the temptations continued to haunt as the flakes and small nuggets accumulated over the course of many subsequent weekends working the old-timers' discard piles by shoveling buckets of gravels through my dry washer.  I found myself thinking about what might lie deeper inside the interior of the hillside.  These thoughts obsessed.  I would flash on fantastical images of golden riches at odd times -- while driving on freeways, while waiting to call my next witness during jury trials, while trying to pay attention to my wife's chatter, even durning dream states while asleep.

One day the inevitable tipping point finally occurred.  It was the day I opted to follow my fantasies instead of my common sense. Taking a deep breath I gathered together two 2-gallon plastic buckets, one inside the other with some small pry bars, chisels and a rock hammer inside.  Then I brushed away the entryway cobwebs and began making difficult progress into the deeper bowels of my objective.  A headlamp enabled me to make out the interior contents.  I studied these carefully before figuring out the best way to grab my ankles to help bend my legs sufficiently to gain additional yardage.  I finally had worked my way 40 feet or so when I came to a sharp lefthand 90 degree turn.  You can imagine my utter surprise as I pulled forward across the now sandy flooring far enough to peer around the corner.

I sucked in an involuntary gasp of air when my headlamp illuminated bright green foliage not more than six feet in front of my face.  A moment of brain frozen confusion scrambled my thoughts -- after all, plant life requires sunlight for chlorophyll to work!  How was it possible for all this lush green leafy material to exist down in this dank dungeon?  Then a cold realization quickly descended.  I had entered the den of a huge colony of pack rats or maybe kangaroo rats.  The rats foraged during the night and dragged branches of freshly nibbled creosote brush back into their den.  An even worse thought then arose.  What kind of critter likes to eat rats?  That's right Buckoo, the kind that doesn't have any legs.  Then I panicked a little as I imagined my lungs already saturated with deadly pathogens such as plague or ebola.

I waited for my pulse to reduce the pounding noise going on inside my ears.  I had to make a choice.  If I advanced further I might cross the invisible line that divides a rat colony's acceptable versus unacceptable invasion of personal space.  The thought of triggering a creepy hundred-rat avalanche caused my common sense to regain the control mechanisms of my mind.  I no longer obsessed on golden maybes.  But I didn't want to waste this effort either.  So I began scraping samples and filling one of the buckets.

Now a new problem presented: How to turn around?  It is one thing to slither snakelike all the while going forward.  It hadn't really occurred to me that I might not be physically capable of actually turning bak around.  Well, I simply had to do it.  There was no way I could back all the way out, not being able to see what I was doing.  So, once again I sucked in a breath and grunted my way into a tight turning shape.  That's when I got stuck.

Well, sir, stupid is as stupid does alright!  My breath came with difficulty.  The cramped space had folded my diaphragm nearly in half.  I was beginning to see little electric dots of light dance around inside my head.  So I grabbed my ankle one more time and gave it a mighty tug while simultaneously pushing off of a fallen boulder with my freer leg's knee.  My shoulder pushed against another boulder that protruded from the earthen ceiling.  If that bad boy decided to dislodge and let go its grip the rats might soon be nibbling on fresh prospector meat that evening.

During the weeks after finally struggling my way back into the welcomed embrace of Mr. Sun I caught myself up in periodic bouts of self-recriminations.  How could I have been so utterly blinded by farfetched dreams so as to leave common sense just dangling as an afterthought so far behind?  I know, IT WAS STUPID.  I WAS STUPID.  But I still have these dreams...

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A good cautionary tale well told, Micro.  Don't you just hate that feeling of being stuck in a tight space?  It's hard to believe that we adults can do such stupid things, but we do sometimes (except me, of course).  The important thing is learning from the mistakes before we get killed in the process.  My brothers and I used to wander into mines around Prescott when we were kids.  It was fun at the time, and we caught a few bats for pets, but looking back it's almost certain Someone was looking out for us.

Subsurface mining, even in the best of circumstances and with the best technology, is still dangerous work, and claims dozens of lives a year in the U.S. (I don't think the statistics include incidental wanderers, but only true commercial operations), and many thousands every year worldwide. 

Maybe as we get older and our mortality slaps us in the face more frequently, we grow more cautious, and are less apt to try to hurry the process along.

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Well, I guess even very intelligent people can be stupid too...just a bit of gold for bait and good sense flies away.

glad you survived, Martin!

fred

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4 hours ago, Micro Nugget said:

The recent news about the rescued miner and the subsequent stories told about the dangers of vertical shaft entries made me think back upon the perils of entering a horizontal tunnel.

I was getting some nice gold at the entrance to an old "coyote hole" as they are called: unreinforced diggins that the old-timers left behind after wiggling their way along a long ago pinched out desert pay layer.  The old-timers had enough sense to leave sufficient caliche-cemented material to support the natural arches of their diggins.  A 100 years later I happened upon this particular situs.  After clearing away debris, I noticed a 6" thick cemented layer of river polished pebbles and cobbles down near the base of one of these remnant arches.  The pay layer of shiny pebbles and cobbles ran through otherwise clay embedded sharp, angular stoney material both above and below.  It wasn't long before my samplings proved up what I hammered out of that obvious pay layer.  The temptation to enter the dark interiors beckoned to me before the day was finished but I resisted.  After all, the tunnel space was only around 2 feet high and maybe 3 feet wide.  More ominously the floor was impeded by numerous fairly large boulders that over time gravity had pulled out of the ceiling and accumulated on the floor.  I'm 6'2" and clearly not shaped for squeezing my way over and around those tight spaces -- especially so because I was 60 years of age back then and my joints just refused to flex anymore as much as I would have liked.

But the temptations continued to haunt as the flakes and small nuggets accumulated over the course of many subsequent weekends working the old-timers' discard piles by shoveling buckets of gravels through my dry washer.  I found myself thinking about what might lie deeper inside the interior of the hillside.  These thoughts obsessed.  I would flash on fantastical images of golden riches at odd times -- while driving on freeways, while waiting to call my next witness during jury trials, while trying to pay attention to my wife's chatter, even durning dream states while asleep.

One day the inevitable tipping point finally occurred.  It was the day I opted to follow my fantasies instead of my common sense. Taking a deep breath I gathered together two 2-gallon plastic buckets, one inside the other with some small pry bars, chisels and a rock hammer inside.  Then I brushed away the entryway cobwebs and began making difficult progress into the deeper bowels of my objective.  A headlamp enabled me to make out the interior contents.  I studied these carefully before figuring out the best way to grab my ankles to help bend my legs sufficiently to gain additional yardage.  I finally had worked my way 40 feet or so when I came to a sharp lefthand 90 degree turn.  You can imagine my utter surprise as I pulled forward across the now sandy flooring far enough to peer around the corner.

I sucked in an involuntary gasp of air when my headlamp illuminated bright green foliage not more than six feet in front of my face.  A moment of brain frozen confusion scrambled my thoughts -- after all, plant life requires sunlight for chlorophyll to work!  How was it possible for all this lush green leafy material to exist down in this dank dungeon?  Then a cold realization quickly descended.  I had entered the den of a huge colony of pack rats or maybe kangaroo rats.  The rats foraged during the night and dragged branches of freshly nibbled creosote brush back into their den.  An even worse thought then arose.  What kind of critter likes to eat rats?  That's right Buckoo, the kind that doesn't have any legs.  Then I panicked a little as I imagined my lungs already saturated with deadly pathogens such as plague or ebola.

I waited for my pulse to reduce the pounding noise going on inside my ears.  I had to make a choice.  If I advanced further I might cross the invisible line that divides a rat colony's acceptable versus unacceptable invasion of personal space.  The thought of triggering a creepy hundred-rat avalanche caused my common sense to regain the control mechanisms of my mind.  I no longer obsessed on golden maybes.  But I didn't want to waste this effort either.  So I began scraping samples and filling one of the buckets.

Now a new problem presented: How to turn around?  It is one thing to slither snakelike all the while going forward.  It hadn't really occurred to me that I might not be physically capable of actually turning bak around.  Well, I simply had to do it.  There was no way I could back all the way out, not being able to see what I was doing.  So, once again I sucked in a breath and grunted my way into a tight turning shape.  That's when I got stuck.

Well, sir, stupid is as stupid does alright!  My breath came with difficulty.  The cramped space had folded my diaphragm nearly in half.  I was beginning to see little electric dots of light dance around inside my head.  So I grabbed my ankle one more time and gave it a mighty tug while simultaneously pushing off of a fallen boulder with my freer leg's knee.  My shoulder pushed against another boulder that protruded from the earthen ceiling.  If that bad boy decided to dislodge and let go its grip the rats might soon be nibbling on fresh prospector meat that evening.

During the weeks after finally struggling my way back into the welcomed embrace of Mr. Sun I caught myself up in periodic bouts of self-recriminations.  How could I have been so utterly blinded by farfetched dreams so as to leave common sense just dangling as an afterthought so far behind?  I know, IT WAS STUPID.  I WAS STUPID.  But I still have these dreams...

Good story and you have excellent writing skills.

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6 hours ago, Micro Nugget said:

The recent news about the rescued miner and the subsequent stories told about the dangers of vertical shaft entries made me think back upon the perils of entering a horizontal tunnel.

I was getting some nice gold at the entrance to an old "coyote hole" as they are called: unreinforced diggins that the old-timers left behind after wiggling their way along a long ago pinched out desert pay layer.  The old-timers had enough sense to leave sufficient caliche-cemented material to support the natural arches of their diggins.  A 100 years later I happened upon this particular situs.  After clearing away debris, I noticed a 6" thick cemented layer of river polished pebbles and cobbles down near the base of one of these remnant arches.  The pay layer of shiny pebbles and cobbles ran through otherwise clay embedded sharp, angular stoney material both above and below.  It wasn't long before my samplings proved up what I hammered out of that obvious pay layer.  The temptation to enter the dark interiors beckoned to me before the day was finished but I resisted.  After all, the tunnel space was only around 2 feet high and maybe 3 feet wide.  More ominously the floor was impeded by numerous fairly large boulders that over time gravity had pulled out of the ceiling and accumulated on the floor.  I'm 6'2" and clearly not shaped for squeezing my way over and around those tight spaces -- especially so because I was 60 years of age back then and my joints just refused to flex anymore as much as I would have liked.

But the temptations continued to haunt as the flakes and small nuggets accumulated over the course of many subsequent weekends working the old-timers' discard piles by shoveling buckets of gravels through my dry washer.  I found myself thinking about what might lie deeper inside the interior of the hillside.  These thoughts obsessed.  I would flash on fantastical images of golden riches at odd times -- while driving on freeways, while waiting to call my next witness during jury trials, while trying to pay attention to my wife's chatter, even durning dream states while asleep.

One day the inevitable tipping point finally occurred.  It was the day I opted to follow my fantasies instead of my common sense. Taking a deep breath I gathered together two 2-gallon plastic buckets, one inside the other with some small pry bars, chisels and a rock hammer inside.  Then I brushed away the entryway cobwebs and began making difficult progress into the deeper bowels of my objective.  A headlamp enabled me to make out the interior contents.  I studied these carefully before figuring out the best way to grab my ankles to help bend my legs sufficiently to gain additional yardage.  I finally had worked my way 40 feet or so when I came to a sharp lefthand 90 degree turn.  You can imagine my utter surprise as I pulled forward across the now sandy flooring far enough to peer around the corner.

I sucked in an involuntary gasp of air when my headlamp illuminated bright green foliage not more than six feet in front of my face.  A moment of brain frozen confusion scrambled my thoughts -- after all, plant life requires sunlight for chlorophyll to work!  How was it possible for all this lush green leafy material to exist down in this dank dungeon?  Then a cold realization quickly descended.  I had entered the den of a huge colony of pack rats or maybe kangaroo rats.  The rats foraged during the night and dragged branches of freshly nibbled creosote brush back into their den.  An even worse thought then arose.  What kind of critter likes to eat rats?  That's right Buckoo, the kind that doesn't have any legs.  Then I panicked a little as I imagined my lungs already saturated with deadly pathogens such as plague or ebola.

I waited for my pulse to reduce the pounding noise going on inside my ears.  I had to make a choice.  If I advanced further I might cross the invisible line that divides a rat colony's acceptable versus unacceptable invasion of personal space.  The thought of triggering a creepy hundred-rat avalanche caused my common sense to regain the control mechanisms of my mind.  I no longer obsessed on golden maybes.  But I didn't want to waste this effort either.  So I began scraping samples and filling one of the buckets.

Now a new problem presented: How to turn around?  It is one thing to slither snakelike all the while going forward.  It hadn't really occurred to me that I might not be physically capable of actually turning bak around.  Well, I simply had to do it.  There was no way I could back all the way out, not being able to see what I was doing.  So, once again I sucked in a breath and grunted my way into a tight turning shape.  That's when I got stuck.

Well, sir, stupid is as stupid does alright!  My breath came with difficulty.  The cramped space had folded my diaphragm nearly in half.  I was beginning to see little electric dots of light dance around inside my head.  So I grabbed my ankle one more time and gave it a mighty tug while simultaneously pushing off of a fallen boulder with my freer leg's knee.  My shoulder pushed against another boulder that protruded from the earthen ceiling.  If that bad boy decided to dislodge and let go its grip the rats might soon be nibbling on fresh prospector meat that evening.

During the weeks after finally struggling my way back into the welcomed embrace of Mr. Sun I caught myself up in periodic bouts of self-recriminations.  How could I have been so utterly blinded by farfetched dreams so as to leave common sense just dangling as an afterthought so far behind?  I know, IT WAS STUPID.  I WAS STUPID.  But I still have these dreams...

Willard, Ben and Edgar Allen Poe, all mixed into one!  But after that experience, you should change your name to Macro Nuggets! (yeah, micro brain perhaps, but gold plus testosterone will often do that to ya!) Well Done Sir! 

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I made a mistake like that once. Her name was Dianne.:rolleyes:

 

 

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46 minutes ago, Terry Soloman said:

I made a mistake like that once. Her name was Dianne.:rolleyes:

 

 

 

Since we are talking about being trapped in a tight spot we cant back out of I refuse to make a joke about the turning radius of a full size Dodge Ram pickup. I just won't do it.

 

 

 

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Well remembered and told.  You should bring that one out at the camp fire at Bill's outing or one of the PCSC outings.

Mitchel

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Yep, what others have said.  But I would bet we could all fill this with our own stories of Stupid is as Stupid Does.  Yeah maybe that will be a good topic for fireside stories.

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You have a gift for writing.  Very enjoyable story.  I must admit you had me holding my breath a couple of times.  Anytime you can craft your words in such a fashion that it elicits emotion in the reader; that's some darn fine writing.

While reading that, I was thinking; good reason to have a winch on your ATV, with the wireless push button fob.  Attach your cable to one ankle.  When you are ready for extraction you push the button on the fob and let the winch drag your butt out.  Not suggesting you do that, but just saying.

This reminds me of scuba diving for lobster.  We all know that lobsters love underwater caves.  SCUBA divers also know we are never to go in the caves.  Well maybe just a little way would be OK?  NO!   A friend of mine, a very experienced diver, succumbed to the lure of the seafood delicacy that no doubt lurked in the darkness of that underwater cave.  He thought to himself, I will just go in far enough to find the lobster but I will turn my flashlight off from time to time so I can see the glow of daylight.  That glow will guide me back towards the entrance.  My friend, his name was Gary, enters the cave and proceeds further and further.  Dutifully he would stop every few yards and turn off his flashlight and check that the glow of the entrance was still there.  He came upon a chamber and there were lobster everywhere.  Hanging from the ceiling, sitting in every nook and cranny.  Big ones, little ones, huge ones.  Before attempting to grab  them, in California it is only legal to take them by hand, he turned his light out.  Even though it was faint, he could still see the glow that would lead him back to safety,

He detached his net lobster bag from his belt, getting it ready to accept the bounty that would soon be his.  He made his first grab, the thing was a monster.  Into the bag it went, as he lunged for a second, a third.  Soon there were lobster flying everywhere.  His adrenaline was through the roof as he bagged some of the biggest bugs he had ever caught.  As fast as he could suck down half a tank of air, he had bagged his limit, 7 lobsters.  He could hardly believe that he had used half of his air in such a short time.  Not to worry, plenty of air to get him out of the cave and safely back to the surface and into the boat.  He stopped and tried to slow his breathing and slow his heart rate, but the amount of adrenaline in his system could not have been any higher; or so he thought.  He turned off his light to get a bearing on the glow of the light coming from the entrance to the cave.  To his horror, there was no glow.  He had stirred up so much silt off the bottom in his frenzied rampage, that the visibility was now zero.  In addition, he was totally disoriented.  He had no idea which way to go.  He felt the sickening surge of yet another bolus of adrenaline pumped into his blood stream.  Despite his best efforts, his heart started beating harder.  His breathing became faster as he dangled on the edge of uncontrollable panic.  Panic is a diver's number one enemy.  You panic, you die.  As a fire-fighter Gary had been in tight spots before.  He turned his light on, to check that he had his gear together, that he had not twisted any hoses.  He made sure that when he did get out of the cave, he would not have any problems.  "That's it Gary, think positive."  he said to himself.  He checked his gauges, he was only 25 feet deep.  If you control your breathing, even with a half a tank of air, you have plenty of time when you are that shallow.  Gary made a well thought out decision, based on facts, not panic.  He got comfortable, leaned up against the wall of the cavern, turned out his dive light and closed his eyes.  He had not resigned himself to a watery grave, he had given himself a chance.  He had made a conscious choice.  He would not panic, he would think, he would use logic and try to relax.

He thought that obviously the stirred up dirt needed time to settle.  He also calculated that even if it took 10 minutes, or 20 minutes for the dirt to settle out a bit, if he just calmed down, he had plenty of air. If he sat still the remaining lobsters would settle down as well. Gary sat there in the total darkness with his eyes closed and thought about the wonderful lobster dinner that he would enjoy with his wife and three children when he got home from his diving trip.  He thought about the beautiful dives he had experienced on this trip.  All of the amazing sea creatures he had seen and the amazing underwater seascapes.  Soon his breathing had returned to normal, and a calmness had filled his body, like the warmth of a cup of hot chocolate after surfacing from a brisk dive.  With his light still off he opened his eyes. There off to the left, he could see it, a faint glow in the still murky water.  That glow that would lead him to safety.  He looked at his dive watch, he had been sitting there calmly for around eleven minutes.  Had he panicked he would probably have been dead in two minutes tops.  Gary slowly collected himself and nonchalantly swam out of the cave with around 37 pounds of fresh lobster.   He surfaced safely, with a tale of caution to share with the other divers.  His family would never know of the stupid thing he had done to get those lobsters.

Two weeks later, another diver entered that same cave, diving off of the same dive boat, looking for lobster.  Three hours later the dive master, crew and captain of the boat would recover his lifeless body from inside that cave.  He had 700 pounds of air left in his tank, and he had ripped his mask off.  Ripping your dive mask off is a common occurrence when divers panic.

Be Careful Out There Guys!

No one in your family is going to give a eulogy at your funeral that goes something like, "Well at least he died doing something important, he was trying to get some gold, some lobster, free climb a mountain..."

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Here's a sure-fire way to prevent that from ever happening: Discover you're claustrophobic..

Didn't know I had a fear of close quarters until my first trip into an MRI tube.. Thank goodness for that panic
squeezie thingie they give ya, as I about squoze that sucker in half..! I'll never forget the feeling and
experience; nearest to a full-blown panic attack I've ever had..!

Swamp

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4 hours ago, Swampstomper Al said:

Here's a sure-fire way to prevent that from ever happening: Discover you're claustrophobic..

Didn't know I had a fear of close quarters until my first trip into an MRI tube.. Thank goodness for that panic
squeezie thingie they give ya, as I about squoze that sucker in half..! I'll never forget the feeling and
experience; nearest to a full-blown panic attack I've ever had..!

Swamp

Maybe unfortunately I am not claustrophobic.  You can't probably SCUBA dive if you are.  My wife is claustrophobic and can't stand to dive even though she is certified.  Some people get by with it if they are diving the Caribbean where they don't need a wet suit.  But when you are diving the cold waters of California and you are wearing a 3/8ths inch wetsuit, or a dry suit, you better not be claustrophobic.  You don't feel like you can hardly move in them, but of course you can.

Doc

 

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3 hours ago, DOC said:

Maybe...
Doc

I never connected these two things, but yeah -- I could care less if I ever SCUBA.. It has nothing to do with the suits though.. Welll, I don't know that for sure actually.. For me it's about the breathing.. I think I must have had a bad experience with a snorkel as a young 'un.. All I know is the thought of having no access to air while under water (snorkel) or needing to rely on air-in-a-can (SCUBA) pretty much freaks me out, yet I think I'd be ok with a hookah..

Swamp

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Thanks Doc for the kind compliment and the lobster story.  It brings back a similar memory.

While on an Assault Craft Unit 2 live fire night training exercise on Vieques Island, after landing a joint Marine and UDT (what S.E.A.L.s were called in the early 1960s) special forces team, our Chief Bos'n Mate had us tie off our LCU to a cocoanut palm to serve as the deadman while we awaited the return of the special forces team.  Our skipper, the chief, went to his quarters for a nap along with the rest of us who had separate quarters and left the 2nd Class Bos'n Mate on watch.  Well, long story short he fell asleep and the incoming tide and shifting current quietly spun us halfway around in the gentle swell.  A scraping noise awakened him and he quietly came down to my bunk to sheepishly request that I dive beneath the hull to untangle our kedging anchor's 2" wire rope lead (before our skipper woke up).  I was a little reluctant because the 2nd Class Bos'n had stirred the bottom up when first attempting to back off the shore which we were now diagonal to.  But I took a waterproof battle lantern and felt my way along the 2" wire rope to a point beneath one of the aft rudder struts where it apparently was jammed around the vicinity of a stern tube.  I could not see a thing.  Not even my own fingers just an inch or two in front of the battle lantern.  So I just shut it off and continued sliding my palm along the wire to see if I could disengage it somehow.  Slimy sea grass and small eels and other unknown critters stirred beneath my belly as I squeezed my way forward.

Well, I began running out of air even though I had taken several strong saturation breaths just before diving under.  Just then a receding wave settled the entire stern of our 180 ton LCU down flat upon the bottom.  Normally another wave comes along to gently raise everything back up -- but not if it was the 7th wave of a set.  My wrist was pinned between the wire rope and a half-round space between the rudder post and where it was welded to the stern tube (a stern tube is an armored housing that protects the props of an assault craft from hitting rocks or coral).  Unlike earlier LCU models, this one was not entirely flat bottom "square" at the stern -- it had a gentle slope that ran up from the stern tubes aft to a point maybe three feet below waterline at the stern bulkhead -- just enough space to squeeze my entire body beneath its cold steel hull that scraped along my backside.  That half-round space was EXACTLY the shape and size of my wrist.  I was, in short, handcuffed to a 180 unmovable tons with only scant oxygen remaining in my lungs.  I knew I could not panic.  So I just began slowly counting out the seconds: "thousand one, thousand two. etc" as a way of self hypnotizing and reducing oxygen burn.  Just the way we were trained in boot camp a couple of years earlier while inside the teargas chamber and the decompression chamber.  Right about "thousand 40" a new wave set arrived.

When I surfaced our skipper was in the water and had a dreadful scowl on his face.  His eyes flashed first at the Bos'n and then at me.  I was certain he was going to bite his now soaked stogie in half (which he virtually always kept jammed inside his mouth regardless if it was lit or not) and then kill both me and the 2nd class Bos'n Mate for being so stupid.  But he didn't and I lived to be stupid over and over again in more situations than I like to admit.  But I did learn about the importance of controlling panic in an unplanned life or death situation.

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"Learn about the importance of controlling panic in an unplanned life or death situation" 

Great example of being cool and calm "under fire" When the situation is life threatening and having a trained mindset that excludes uncontrolled panic, a controlled panic tends to either slow down or speed up the necessary response. If oxygen is available, slow deep breathing can prevent hyperventilation (which can occur with uncontrolled panic), and helps the mind stay calm, focused and functioning analytically.

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