Havre Daily News - News you can use

By Pam Burke 

Life lessons: A pain in the head


April 18, 2014

One of the latest trending videos on the Internet is of a young man, presumably the Jared Michael who originally downloaded it, who was trying to get a video of himself, with his back to the tracks, as a train approached and passed.

That was the plan anyway.

As the 10-second video saga unfolds, though, it is revealed that Michael is standing very close to the tracks, and the young man gets kicked in the side of the head and face by a driver on the train. The blow flipped him forward onto the grassy verge away from the passing train.

Michael sounds rather shocked that someone had the gall to abuse him thusly but, never fear, many people out of the multi-millions who have viewed the video have been more than happy to explain to him that he is an idiot demonstrating expert level poor judgment.

He’s really taking some heat for this. It's not undeserved.

That's the thing about messing up when you're young, there's always someone around to rub your nose in that error ... or kick you in the head with it.

When I was not much older than Michael looks to be, I was working my way through college as a convenience store clerk and had the opportunity to help a parent teach a life lesson to his 9-year-old son.

The guy — obviously in anger-checked-father mode — marched his son into the store and straight up to me. To my confusion, the child promptly handed me a partially eaten Snickers bar and a dollar bill. He also presented a whole little speech to me — none of which I could understand because the kid had started sobbing uncontrollably.

The translation from the father was that his son had stolen a candy bar from the store earlier in the afternoon, and he was both returning the stolen merchandise, such as it was, and paying for it.

I got the impression that the dad would’ve preferred to return the eaten portion also, as a matter of pride, but was restraining himself from actually choking it out of his child.

I grew up with parents who would've done the same thing to me had I gotten caught shoplifting that one time I did it — I know this because they weren't big on coddling us kids when we did things wrong. I believe their theory was that a little humiliation accompanied by a healthy amount of groveling makes a life lesson stick.

I really wanted to give the kid my sympathy by telling him that statistically, most adults stole stuff as kids, and give the dad some support by saying that he was doing this because it was the right thing, a hard thing, but right.

So I said something like, “Er, um, thuh-anks … ? I but the when ... yuh wuh, derp, ... um, do you want your change?”

Honestly, the kid's crying was freaking me out, and he was so highly distraught I was just thankful he wasn’t bringing up the rest of that candy bar all over my floor without the benefit of a good old-fashioned parental choking.

Life lessons often need to be dealt by others. I failed the little boy, but trainman did that young guy by the tracks a solid, and I don't just mean a solid blow upside the head.

Watching the video, you can see that as he is getting ready for his intended picture, Michael is wearing ear buds that must be muffling his hearing because the train whistle is blowing incessantly and the trainman yelling at him, but he does nothing.

As the front of the train comes into view, one of the trainmen is on the ladder and hooks that guy in the head with a work boot.

Way to knock some sense into that hooligan, you might think.

If you watch the video in slow motion, you can see that the trainman is kicking the kid not just to get him away from the tracks, or even because he could (which also has merit), but because a metal piece jutting from the train's framework very likely would’ve struck and killed the kid if the booted foot hadn't gotten to him first.

The guy wrote on the video page: “I tried to take a selfie while a train passed a ‘safe’ distance behind. I guess I was still too close and got kicked in the head.”

He doesn't sound like a total idiot.

Life lessons, kid, you're doing them alright.

(One foot closer and he would've gotten kicked with two boots at pam@viewfromthenorth40.com.)


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