MakeShift Challenge: Impaled on a Tree: Most Creative Entry

Nisse Taunt’s Most Creative Winning Entry
by Lee D. Zlotoff
March 14, 2008

How to Escape from an Impaled Branch (aka Vlad the Impaler)

Since I know you should never attempt to remove an impaled object yourself, my goal is to cut myself free so that I can get to the phone inside the house.

My first thought is to pull the chain off of the broken chainsaw and wrap it around 2 sticks to make handles. Then I can use it to saw myself free. However, this would be difficult at best and would cause a lot of movement to my pal “Vlad” and therefore a lot of pain to me. So I save this idea as a last resort.

I need the pole saw. So I yank the chainsaw’s cord out of the wall. Luckily I’ve got a nice long extension cord. I want to make a lasso out of it to grab the pole saw’s handle. It’s difficult to tie a good slipknot in the heavy-duty cord, so I take the elastic hair band out of my long hair and wrap it around the cord to make a loop. When I lasso the pole saw’s handle, it should tighten up and I can drag it to me.

If this doesn’t work, what I’ve probably succeeded in doing is knocking the saw on the ground or lassoing the chair instead. If I can still lasso the saw, great. If not, I’ll try for the chair. Since this is my vacation home and I’ve got this chair outside, it’s probably an old wooden one. I might be able to work the legs loose or break them off. Since I don’t have my Swiss Army Knife and I’m laying on top of the branches I cut from the tree, this is probably the easiest way of getting some wood the right size for what I need. Using a shoelace, I tie a few of the chair legs (or other sticks) into a grappling hook shape. I may be able to snag the pole saw this way.

If nothing I’ve tried so far worked, I still have another option before my last resort. First, I need to get the extension cord over the lowest branch. It’s about 15-20 feet up, so not really easy to do. I briefly amuse myself with the thought that I could get a squirrel to do that for me, but realize that I would be far more likely to be able to teach my cat to fetch the phone. I make a mental note to do that later.

Back to the tree. I tie my nice heavy work boot to the extension cord. This will hopefully give me enough weight to sling the cord around and up over a branch. Once this is done, I untie the boot and tie the end of the cord onto the end of the ladder. I also tie some sticks or chair pieces on this end of the ladder to use as a hook. I push the ladder over to the pole saw, using the leverage of the extension cord over the branch to raise and lower the far end. I should be able to rake the pole saw back towards me.

If I couldn’t get the cord over a branch, I might be able to use a forked stick from the pile around me, as tall as I can get, stuck into the ground. I could also rest the ladder on what’s left of the chair or on a shorter stick- anything to get some leverage to raise the far end of the ladder while I’m seated on the ground.

Now that I finally have my pole saw, I need to get ready to use it. First, I tear up my long sleeved shirt (using the saw’s sharp edge if necessary) into long strips. I use these to bandage around Vlad and my leg. This will hold my skewer still while I cut, hopefully reducing the pain/damage to my leg.

If possible, I will remove the blade from the pole saw to make it easier to cut with at this angle. I’ll lash it to a short stick using cloth or shoelaces if it’s too difficult to hold by itself. If I can’t get the blade loose, I will just prop up the end with a forked stick or chair pieces.

Now that I’m free of Vlad, I need to get into the house. I could use my pole saw to cut a tree branch into a crutch, but at this point I’m probably thinking I’d rather not take the time. Instead, I tear up some pieces of my shirt or pants legs and use them to make sure my sawed-off skewer is secure and to pad my good knee. Then I put my work gloves on and crawl across the gravel to my house.

I call a friend or an ambulance, and when I get home from the hospital, I watch the great view as the tree guy chops up my tree into tiny bits of firewood for my next bonfire. :)

– Nisse Taunt

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