|“The Fridge” (left) and the kitchen variety both can inflict considerable pain. Encountering either one should be a young man's game.|
I used to shudder while watching William “The Refrigerator” Perry run over pro football opponents when he was among the stars on some great Chicago Bears teams. Probably part of my horror was because “The Fridge” seemed to save his most ferocious attacks for my favorites, the Green Bay Packers, who were suffering through some bad years at the time.
The Bears added insult to the Packers’ injuries in one memorable game when they placed Perry, a defensive tackle, at running back. He promptly plowed over and through a couple of Packers on his way into the end zone for a touchdown. I remember wondering at the time how it might feel to be hit by “The Fridge” when he was traveling under a full head of steam. I got a pretty good idea a couple of weeks ago.
Perry claimed he weighed 382 pounds at his physical peak. That was in 1985 when Da Bears won the Super Bowl. The average weight of refrigerators in American homes nowadays is 400 pounds. As part of our ongoing home remodeling project, I was on a two-man team moving a slightly below-average-sized fridge down a flight of stairs. It and Perry probably would have been a match on the scales.
We were not novices at appliance moving. Equipped with a rented professional-model dolly, we securely attached the refrigerator and worked it into position at the head of the stairs. Being the oldest team member (by far!), I took the easy position below the unit. All went well for a while.
Then, about halfway down, we loused up our procedure somehow. The fridge started thundering down the stairs right on top of me. There was nowhere to go but down as fast as I could, and that wasn’t fast enough. The refrigerator bashed me against the wall at the bottom and pinned one arm and both legs to the floor.
I suffered a gash on one leg, a cut elbow, a slice on a hand, a terribly painful knee on the other leg, and assorted scrapes and bruises. When my moving team pal managed to crawl over the fridge and pry it up so I could escape, he asked, “Did you hit your head?”
“Are there any dents in the wall?” I asked.
“None that I can see.”
“Then I didn’t.”
For two days I could hobble about 15 feet from my bed to the bathroom with painful effort and help from a walking stick and anything else I could grab to take pressure off my knee. Two weeks later I could walk fairly normally, and most of the cuts and bruises had healed quite well. Today, everything is back to normal.
I’ve decided fooling around with refrigerators is a young man’s game. In a way I was lucky my encounter with a runaway 380-pound object happened late in life on a stairway rather than as a youth on a football field. Granted, those Packers “Refrigerator” Perry plowed through wore protective helmets and pads, but they didn’t have several weeks to heal up before their next game.