When I was a kid, someone left a pair of power pole climbers in our garage- metal spikes that fit around your boot and dig into the wooden pole as you step. Ever the adventurous type, of course, I had to try them out. I strapped them on as best I could - my feet were not nearly big enough for them to fit properly - and set out for the pole at the back of our house. Not having a belt, and not knowing a belt was supposed to be used, I struggled to get the hang of climbing the pole. Eventually, I managed to get about halfway up the thirty-five foot pole before my arms gave out and I quickly descended.
I practiced quite a lot, and in a few days I got to where I could make it to the bottom of the cross arm. I didn’t want anything to do with the high voltage power lines and didn’t try to go any further. I still had no clue I was supposed to be using more equipment, and I thought the guys who did this climbing thing for a living must be really strong. I decided I needed more practice.
Since I wasn’t actually doing anything, climbing the pole every day was rather pointless, but it was fun - that is until the guy from the power company saw me. He nearly wrecked his truck in an effort to get me to come down. Then, he threatened to take away my climbers and said he’d call the police the next time he caught me. Apparently, he thought I was either going to fall or get electrocuted. After that, I only climbed on the weekends or later in the day when the power company guys were not working. But, as is usually the case with kids’ short attention spans, I soon forgot about climbing power poles.
And then, years later, my son decided he’d like to climb power poles. Except he approached the idea with a little more thought and planning - he went to school to learn how. For the past several months, he’s attended Northwest Lineman College.
This past week, we attended his graduation. But before the ceremony, the soon to be graduates put on a show for all of us, a lineman rodeo. And at last, I got to see the right way to climb a pole. They made it look easy! And, having the proper equipment, it probably is a lot easier than the way I tried it. I’ll probably never know. Although my son would probably give me pointers and show me how, and maybe even lend me his climbers, I think I’m too old and out of shape to even attempt such a thing.
So instead, I just bought a tee-shirt. Hey, it says I’m a climber, and no one will ever know I’m really not - aside from those who read this blog. Unfortunately, that number could be a lot since I just posted it on the Internet.