Sunday, October 15, 2006

An Opportunity That Knocks Once in a Lifetime

A couple of Fridays ago (10/6) I was home from work helping my wife after the birth of our second child, when my wife got a phone call from a good friend and neighbor a couple of doors down. She said that their 18 month old daughter had locked herself in a bedroom, they were getting panicky about it, and could I maybe come help?

I rushed over to find that there was a doorknob with a key lock (instead of the kind that you can poke a hanger into to open) on the interior bedroom door, and their little girl had accidentally locked it from the inside. Tammy (the neighbor) and her friend Sharon had already tried slipping and/or forcing various objects between the door frame to pry/force it open. I tried doing the same thing for a short while, until finally Tammy decided to grab a saw to try and cut around the door knob. The reasons were that a locksmith would take too long and cost too much, and the fire department probably would break down the door anyway, so it made sense to just go ahead and destroy the door.

Now, when I was younger, my dad put his fist through an interior bedroom door in a fit of rage. And ever since then I have wondered if I would be physically able to perform the same feat. Theoretically it wouldn't be too hard - I am fairly strong, have pretty good punching technique, and have put my fist through drywall before (in my own fit of rage when I was a teenager), and interior doors are two layers of fairly thin wood. But still, it's one thing to think you can and another to actually do it.

So I told them to stand back and then I let my right fist fly. One punch - crack! I didn't go through, but the door cracked, and flexed a lot more than I would hope, which makes it a lot harder to break. The top of the door was able to bend a good 2 -3 inches into the room, when pressed hard enough. Blood on my knuckes - well, I'm used to that from punching the heavy bag without gloves more times than I can count - so no big deal. Second punch - crack! Same thing. I grabbed the cracked door and pulled a piece of wood away. Lo and behold, right behind my point of impact was a nice strip of styrofoam that held the two sides together for stability. So it was stabilizing the wood, absorbing some of the shock, and preventing me from going straight through like I hoped to. One or two inches to the right this time - smash!! Right through.

Reached in through the door, turned the knob. Hero for the day. Now I'm wondering about it no more, I have some groovy cuts on my knuckles, and it was a pretty good rush too. Great manly moment. And to think my dad actually got paid to have moments like this as a cop.

Oh - and one more thing - several people wondered why I didn't want to kick the door in instead of punch through it. The reason is because first of all the door would fling inward where it could have hit the little girl, and secondly because it would have ruined the whole door frame, instead of just the door, which would be a whole lot more work and cost for my friend to replace it. I wouldn't mind giving it another try some day though, next time with better projecting of my punch. I should be able to go straight through with one solid motion, with or without the styrofoam.

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