Did anyone have any near-disasters in 2005? I saved my best for yesterday. I like chopping firewood. It's fun, it's good exercise, and I'm good at it (before yesterday), even though I only do it about 2-3 times a year, always cold sober and well rested (including yesterday). The last time (before yesterday), I did it was a few weeks ago, for a buddy of mine who lives in the sticks, uses a wood stove, and has a bad back. He has a bunch of whole tree trunks, 12-16" thick. He chainsawed them into logs about 16" long, and I spent about four hours chopping them. A regular maul could not get through the damn things on the first swing, or the second, or the third, so I had to use a heavy duty number with a equilateral triangular head weighing about twice as much. Once the section is cut in half, the regular maul will do, and I cut 4-6 smaller logs out of the original one. In my life I must have taken thousands of swings with an axe, with no problems at all (before yesterday). With ALL my other cuts, the sections would fly off perpendicular to the direction I was facing, before yesterday, when a piece of wood shot straight at me and hit me in the left leg, just below the knee. It stung like a son of a bitch for about five minutes. Then the pain went completely away, no limp, or anything. I almost quit, but I didn't want to get gun-shy so I did about 10 more minutes of chopping. I go inside for a few cold ones, and forget about the leg until I took off my clothes to shower. I almost freaked out: there was a frigging knot the size of a walnut on my leg. Naturally, it started hurting as soon as I looked at it. I wail for my sister, who I am visiting, who is an RN. She was aghast. Ice pack, elevation, and immobility. I was afraid the leg would lock up on me over night, but it didn't, and I am getting around fine now. So what's the big near-disaster deal about a little wussy ding on the leg? Well, if that piece of wood had hit me a foot higher, I would now be singing soprano.