Hindsight is 50/50

by Kevin on January 27, 2015


It should have been a simple task. But like most simple tasks, we sometimes feel the need to do things our own way. All I had to do was walk down a fence line and close a valve in a water line. Sounds simple, huh? I wish.

Antonio told me that morning that one of the duties that day would be to replace a leaking float valve on the trough in the water lot. Like most ranches I’ve worked on, finding a shut off valve is akin to finding the holy grail…supposedly they exist, but nobody has ever actually seen one. But Antonio assured me that if I were to walk down the fence line and go through a gate at the corner, I would see it.

At least he was pretty sure that’s where it was.

As I walked off in that direction, he hollered out to me that it would be imperative that I go through the gates and not try to take the shortcut through the fence. At least that’s what I thought he said.

Antonio spoke about as much English as I spoke Spanish. And at this time, I spoke about as much Spanish as I did sign language. With enough gestures, we could communicate.

If he would have grabbed his crotch, shook his head with a pained expression and said “Muy mal…no, no, no”, I think it would have been better for me. That would mean, “Don’t straddle the fence.”

So I get to the corner of the pasture and I hope I can describe it where you can understand the situation. Imagine if you will a T intersection.

I am in pasture “A” and the valve I need to turn off is in pasture “C”. There is not a gate leading directly from one pasture to the other, rather you have to go out of pasture “A” into pasture “B”, and then walk five feet to the right and go through another gate from pasture “B” into pasture “C”.

Or I could save opening and closing two gates and just step over the barbed wire fence. In the back office of my brain, I would like to say that I noticed that the barbed wire fence I was about to straddle was threaded through a water hose as it circled the brace post.

I vaguely remembered Antonio telling me to use the gates, but we had a lot of work and I could save a few precious minutes of being out in the hot South Texas sun by just going over the fence…so I did.

My timing is impeccable.

I pushed the top strand down and threw my right leg over the barbed wire fence, being ABSOLUTELY careful to keep it very pushed down because the closest region to the barb was pretty important to me.

That’s when the first pulse from the electric fence charger lit me up like a 1,000 watt light bulb.

The first thing that happened was my knees gave way and the whole weight of my body came down on the single barb. But as quick as it had happened, it stopped…for two seconds. Then I was hit with another hot shot blast to the happy place.

I don’t know whether to congratulate myself for escaping the death trap after only twelve crotch electrocutions…or cry. But what I did manage to do in my ninja-like escape is to tear my wranglers all the way up my butt.

I got the water turned off and I used the gates for my return journey. When I arrived, gingerly I might add, Antonio took one look at me and in the best English I’d ever heard him speak he said, “I telled you.”

Then he said something else that I didn’t understand. He tried explaining it, but I just couldn’t get it and quite frankly, I didn’t really care. I just wished he would stop laughing.

Later on in the bunkhouse, Antonio is recounting the story complete with belly laughs and a charades type of re-enactment that the other cowboys found very entertaining. Then he said again what he had said to me and I thought a few of them were going to throw up from laughing so hard.

Another cowboy spoke good English and I asked him what was so funny. Between wiping his eyes and catching his breath he said, “Antonio says that he told you, ‘Hindsight is 50/50’ ”.

He roared with laughter again and I said, “That’s not that funny. Besides, the phrase is ‘Hindsight is 20/20’”.

“Nope,” my translator said. “Antonio says it is 50/50 because your pants were torn and he could see half your hind on one side and half your hind on the other side.”

Hindsight is indeed 50/50.

Wait for the Lord and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land; you will look on when the wicked are cut off. Psalm 37:34


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