Eppler: My Greatest Worst Moment at Work

Reported by: James Eppler
Set Text Size SmallSet Text Size MediumSet Text Size LargeSet Text Size X-Large
Share
Updated: 3/19/2013 12:07 pm

On Twitter: @JamesEppler

You know that dream you sometimes have right on the cusp of going into a deep sleep? Usually it's something like you're falling off a cliff - a long drop - and you jar yourself awake just before impact. For me, the "falling dream" really happened, and it still wakes me up occasionally.

It was four years ago this week that I was covering a play at Texas Tech. It was a production of "Sweeney Todd" in the Allen Theater. The set was impressively designed - professional-grade work. The most interesting part, of course, is the drop-away barber chair. After the Demon Barber of Fleet Street cuts the throat of a victim, he pulls a lever and dumps the body below stage. Having been on the job as the Entertainment Reporter at FOX 34 for about a year, I saw a golden TV opportunity.

I was right - but not in the way I expected.

I decided to do what we in the business call a "stand-up," where a reporter shows up on camera in the middle of the story to talk a bit. It's best if these are demonstrative, so I figured I'd do my stand-up as a sit-down in the barber chair and be dropped below stage. The director thought it'd be a great idea. I even brought some shaving cream to add to the theatricality of the thing.

I was instructed to keep my head back, and my arms tucked in. Here's what happened.

Now that you've watched it a few times, allow me to answer some questions:

1. "Oh my GOSH! Did that hurt?"
Yes, it hurt. It knocked the wind out of me and I couldn't get a breath for close to a minute. I honestly don't remember the fall itself - just that it was a short drop with a sudden stop. One second I'm in the chair, the next I'm below stage in the dark gasping for air.

2. "How'd that happen anyway?"
I didn't "look before I leaped." Apparently, the drop was a bit short of 6 feet, and I'm about 6'2". I locked my legs, hit, pitched forward and hit my chin on the side of the stage.

3. "Any big boo-boos?"
Fortunately, I just got a nasty cut under my chin. No knocked out teeth, no broken nose, but both were just a few inches away from being a reality. I didn't even need stitches, although I bled like crazy all over some new slacks I'd just bought. The most long-term effect was on my lower back from being jarred so hard. I'm still dealing with it.

4. "What about that pretty face of yours?"
You're too kind, really. I went to work the next morning to anchor the newscast like normal with a big bandage across my chin. My co-workers were concerned before they laughed - which is nice.

5. "Any stunts for TV since then?"
Um, unless you count touching a live rattlesnake or getting a flu shot on the air, not so much.


But I don't really believe in regrets. I learned from it with minimal damage. And as much as I laugh at internet videos of people getting hurt - this is just karma.


Share
0 Comment(s)
Comments: Show | Hide

Here are the most recent story comments.View All

No comments yet!
Lubbock Weather
90°
Partly Cloudy

Wind: VRB 5 mph
Feels Like: 92°
High: 96°
Low: 70°
Live Music on Good Day
Get your band on Good Day Lubbock!
Do you have a band or know a group you'd like to see featured on Good Day Lubbock? We have live music every Friday morning. Click for the details.
Inergize Digital This site is hosted and managed by Inergize Digital.
Mobile advertising for this site is available on Local Ad Buy.