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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Years after the D.C. incident on my roof but already 15 years ago (time races!), here in Virginia another close friend fell off not a two-story house but just a shed whose roof he was painting, and he broke several bones in one knee, and that put a severe cramp on his mobility for a long time.

Almost always this guy is filled "from the crown to the toe, topfull" -- to borrow Lady Macbeth's wonderful expression -- with good sense, although he hails from New Jersey. But up on that shed he forgot, and he stepped on a piece of plywood that rested on the wet paint, and off that roof he and his 200 pounds and the plywood slid.

Unable to move, he lay on the ground in intense pain for over an hour, waiting for someone to come within earshot, and meanwhile rain started to fall. It was only after two years of much therapy and agony and inconvenience that he, the hyperactive type, got back on his feet. He was in his mid-50's, and his leg never did heal quite right. And recently he had to undergo surgery to have that knee replaced, and today he is not quite a model of physical fitness.

Though I sprained my ankle a number of times when I was a child, I have yet to break any bones, and I would very much like to keep things that way to the end. I like my chances of managing that.


A neighbor down the road who is an X-ray technician told me that men over 50 should never go up on ladders. He speaks from terrible things he has seen in emergency rooms.

Though I am now many years past that cutoff age, I still violate that very sensible principle now and then. I don't go up farther from the ground than my height, I make sure my ladder is well seated into the ground, I tie the ladder to anything I can, I go up and down the rungs VERY slowly, and I fight to keep my ever-wandering mind from wandering. Still ... Why? The answer must have to do with living in the country, where it's hard to avoid tasks asking for going up ladders. But along with that I know that the fates are always there, waiting to be tempted.


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