The Wal-Mart Baseball Bat Incident

            When you work in any profession there is always the chance that you can run into some type of dangerous situation, whether it is an accident which could cause injury and sometimes even death or there is a possibility that you could have a run-in with a dangerous and mentally unstable person who is looking for someone to take his anger out on. Normally this applies to high-risk occupations like police work, construction and so on. And as I learned one night in 2007, retail is no exception.
            It was a cold February night in 2007 while I was still working on the overnight shift at the Wal-Mart in Herkimer, New York. That night I went into work thinking that it was going to be another normal night of stocking freight to the sales floor so that customers could buy them. At that time I was assigned to the Electronics department even though as an overnight stocker I was expected to go wherever they needed me to stock. And on overnights, you usually have a more colorful group of characters that come into the store. There are the kind that are usually drunk and on their way home from the bar. You also got college students coming in and occasionally cause trouble with shoplifting and running around the store as though they are still in kindergarten. There was even one time around Halloween in 2005 where a local bar had a “hoe and pimp” costume contest and when that got out you had a group of young women coming into the store dressed only in lingerie.
            However, for the purpose of this story I am going to focus on that one particular incident that happened that night in February 2007.
            Also at that time, I had been blogging for about a year and was in the process of writing a book about the Chester Gillette case at the Herkimer County Historical Society, both of which I had been heavily involved in. I was also starting to use the computers up at the college to go on Myspace back when Myspace was a thing. In fact, I was planning to go back to the Historical Society to work on my book the week after Valentine’s Day and also after my twenty-ninth birthday. Unfortunately, those plans would be unceremoniously thwarted for the worst possible reason.
When I first got up that night, I was feeling a little nauseous and I was debating whether or not to call in that night. Eventually the nausea went away and I ended up going into work. Maybe if I really was sick and called in, I would not be writing this story right now.
The first half of that night was going okay and it was around two in the morning which was when I normally went to lunch. While I was going towards the shoe department, I realized that maintenance was waxing over by those doors that night so I had to go back and go through the doors over by Electronics. I was not really paying attention as I was passing the Photo Lab because all I was thinking about was going to lunch.
And that was when I was hit in the back by a guy with a metal baseball bat that he took out of Sporting Goods. I did not even have enough time to react but then he kept swinging and backed me right into the Photo Lab. I put my right hand up to block and then he swung again, hitting my right hand. I screamed at him and he stood there for a second with a crazed look in his eye. Then he threw the bat and ran.
 The attack was completely unprovoked and I have had no dealings with the person before that. Other associates who were on overnights doing mod changes witnessed my attack and chased him out into the parking lot. During the chase, one of the associates called the police and once he got on the other side of the fence the Herkimer Police Department got there in time and he was arrested very quickly.
            Then the cops came into the store to get a statement from me and then they took me in the back where the police cars pulled up so I could identify the guy. Then the cops took photos of my injuries and the scene of the attack. After that I ended up going to the hospital where I was x-rayed. The doctors thought I had a little crack on my right ring finger but otherwise I had no broken bones or fractures. My luck as far as never having any broken bones was still holding. Still I ended up wearing a splint for a week and I had to put an ice pack on my back for a couple of days.
            Even though I went home from work after I returned from the hospital with a side trip to the police station to drop off my doctor’s report, the doctors said that I didn’t have to miss any work. I also had to take a drug test which is mandatory for Walmart associates who have been injured on the job. Then I had to get forms from Bassett Health Care in Herkimer. And in all that time I was still debating about whether or not to tell my family. They found out eventually and they weren’t mad that I didn’t tell them right away because it was obvious why. I did not want to worry them.
            And so I spent the last couple of weeks on light duty at work which was basically doing break packs, returns and zoning various departments. It was pretty annoying not to be able to do my full job, at least partially.
Then I went back to Bassett where I was examined. I was able to get my splint off and was x-rayed again. The doctor said that I had to remain on light duty at work for at least another two weeks. Or so I thought. I had to get a doctor’s note before I could return to full duty which took about a month to get.
            As a result of my ordeal, I could not blog on my site for at least a week because my right hand was still hurting and I was worried that using a computer would aggravate it more. I also had to take more time off of my book at the Historical Society which set me back a lot. Thankfully, it was only for about a week. After I got the splint off, I blogged about my ordeal. But other than that I had to take it easy for a bit.
            During my recovery process, I did feel like I was suffering from a temporary moment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder where I kind of burst out in rage which I thought was natural considering that something like this has never happened to me before or since then. Sure, I have dealt with bullies in school when I was a kid, but nothing that would lead someone to nearly kill me with a weapon. He probably would have had he aimed at my head and there was also the fact that there were other associates around that saw him attack me.
            And then a strange thing happened. To this day, I am not sure if it was the shock I still felt or whether it was the ibuprofen talking, but I had visions of a young woman holding my hand and telling that everything would be all right. Call me crazy, but I swear to god that this is the truth.
            In the weeks that followed and I slowly recovered, I went to tell my story to the Grand Jury so that the District Attorney could build his case against my attacker. In the meantime, he was held in the County Jail which incidentally was right down the street from my house and he was not let out on bail. When he was first caught, he had no sense of reality and had no idea why he was being arrested. Other associates who have seen him described him as a manic-depressive person who has had problems with the store before. While he was in jail, my attacker had been undergoing psychiatric evaluation to see if he would be fit to stand trial. That was another thing I had to worry about: Would I have to go to court and testify again if the case went to trial? I was hoping to put this behind me as quickly as possible.
            And yet I still managed to do some things that helped me take my mind off the ordeal. For starters, about a couple weeks after the incident, I went to Hamilton College with a person I worked with to attend the ceremony where Chester Gillette’s prison diary was donated to the library’s collection of Gillette memorabilia for which I got my picture in the Observer-Dispatch again. I also went on the Heart Run in Utica with my mother as well. And I received my first laptop computer from a contact I made in Houston, Texas as a result of the Gillette blog. Now with that computer, I was able to continue working on my book and at the same time I launched what is now my main website. It seemed that slowly but surely that my life was starting to return to normal.
            And throughout the remainder of the year, I got updates from the District Attorney’s Office on the status of the case and on the defendant. I basically wanted the defendant to get whatever sentence the court deemed fit to give him. I did not sue him because he looked like the type of guy who did not have anything to go after. Eventually, the case ended up not going to trial and he ended up getting sentenced to five years’ probation. And I never saw the guy again after his arrest. Finally, the ordeal was over.
            As far as what happened, I have long since gotten over the incident and I do not have any long-lasting lingering effects such as pain in my right hand or any bad memories of that night. Looking back on what happened that night, I could not fight back because I was on the clock and there has been some controversy about losing your job if you act in self-defense. However, if this happened on the street, I would have had more options and I would have been able to fight back. But all in all, I acted accordingly in that case.
Hopefully I will not find myself in that situation again but then again, retail can be just as dangerous as police work especially in terms of the people you deal with. There will always be crazies out there that are looking to do an innocent person trying to do his or her job harm. I was very fortunate to be alive that night but there have been others that have not been so lucky. The world is a pretty dangerous place which is why people have to be vigilant because this is just one of many things that could happen to anybody if you are not careful.
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How Bizarre

Last night as I was going to bed, I got a call at around one in the morning, which is really bizarre because I usually do not get any calls at one in the morning. Once I answered my phone, I heard this female voice say, “You’re sexy.” Again, it was really bizarre because I haven’t given out my number to anyone, not even when I am on the web. I kept asking her who she was and she gave me two different names. Then I asked her who she was looking for and if she was looking for someone else, that she had the wrong number. Then she hung up.

My caller ID said that the call was a private call, so I don’t know where the call originated. It didn’t sound like it came from a phone sex hotline. Usually if I do get calls like that, the calls are usually automated anyway and I hang up. It may have just been someone with the wrong number. The thing is that it was a really weird call for me, probably the weirdest call I have ever received. I’ll have to keep an eye out on the phone to see if she calls again.

And then I have an update on my attack at Wally World last February. The guy who attacked me with a baseball bat got sentenced to five years probation. So that means that my legal drama is over. I am just trying to put this behind me and so far I have done a pretty good job of that.

The Year Of Opportunity

It is absolutely amazing. This year went by so fast. I can’t believe that New Year’s is only three days away. I’m sorry that I haven’t been here so much the last couple of weeks. It’s just that I have been really busy with things, both online as well as at work, especially with the Christmas shoppers at work. And over the holiday, I ended up with a three-day weekend off from the ‘Net. I spent Christmas Eve sleeping and Christmas Day working on my book until it was time to go to work. Yes, I did work on Christmas night, but the store didn’t open until the following morning.

Last weekend was Christmas for my brother-in-law’s kids in which I gave them all gift cards. This weekend is the grown-up’s Christmas. Anyway, I ended up doing some last-minute shopping this morning before coming in to go online. I also have another three-day weekend from the ‘Net to look forward to because of New Year’s. However, I still do have to work both days. I won’t be back online until Wednesday and by then it will be a new year: 2008.

As I have mentioned before, this year has been really crazy. It started off pretty much with me getting attacked at work by some customer with a baseball bat. That story is still not over yet, but he is still in jail, now awaiting sentencing, which won’t be until February. Then in March, I officially opened this site and ended my Yahoo site after that. I also created my “Cat A Day” site back in August. And if that isn’t the icing on the cake, I found that my online popularity had been increasing significantly. Just think, pretty soon I’ll be another Internet success story and who knows where that will lead.

I also have a book that I am working on, which is still not completed yet although it is pretty close. I started it last December, but was preempted because of the Valentine’s Day blizzard and then my assault at work. I didn’t get back on track with that until the summer. Now I am pretty close to the end. Hopefully within the next month or so, I will be ready to submit it to a publisher.

And so I must close the first year of this site by thanking those of you who have supported me throughout the course of this site and hopefully you will continue to stick around because hopefully, the best is yet to come.

The End of a Long Winter

Me at Hamilton College viewing Grace Brown's love letters. This photo also appeared in the Observer-Dispatch

Me at Hamilton College viewing Grace Brown’s love letters. This photo also appeared in the Observer-Dispatch

It is just so hard to believe that just last Monday, it was snowing outside on account of a Noreaster weather system that hit the area, and now today it is almost summer outside. At long last, the long winter is over and spring has finally arrived.

I for one am glad that the winter that everyone thought would never end actually did. I am certainly not going to miss the Valentine’s Day blizzard we had this winter, not to mention my assault at work the week after. It seems like every winter something bad happens. I still don’t know for certain what happened to the guy who assaulted me. For all I know, he’s still in jail. I still have some lingering pain in my right hand from where I got hit with the baseball bat, but other than that, I have fully recovered and am back to work at full duty. Of course the whole process of me getting restored to full duty took over a month.

However, not all things that happened to me over the course of this long winter were bad. I did get to go on the Heart Walk with my mother down in Utica in early March. It was the first time in seven years that I had competed in such an event. The last time I did the Heart Run, I was employed by Grand Union in Rhinebeck and the event was held in Poughkeepsie. And as a leftover thread from my involvement in last year’s American Tragedy Centennial commemoration, I also attended a ceremony at Hamilton College where the diary of famous murderer Chester Gillette was donated and I ended up in the newspaper again.And last but certainly not least, I found a secondary place where I can operate my blog sites until I can get my new laptop Internet-ready. In fact, that is where I am right now: In the library at Herkimer County Community College. The upside is that I get more computer time and I can use Myspace again so I can reconnect with old friends and possibly meet new ones and maybe find “the one.”

Now that the long winter is over with, I can get back to work on my book, which I had to put on hold because of everything that has happened. I am optimistic that I can complete it and get it out by next year. Aside from working on my book, my plans for this summer are incomplete, except for the fact that I may go and see “Spider-Man 3,” which is due out in just eleven short days, and “Transformers,” especially since they were such a big part of my childhood and it really looks good.

And hopefully this summer, I will be able to operate online from my own home without having to go anywhere. The possibilities are endless.