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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

You Should Scream

Once while I was living in D.C. I had to call the Fire Department to get me off my roof.

My house was a brick two-story colonial with a regularly pitched roof. I had gone up there on a ladder to attach an antenna to the chimney for my FM tuner. But no sooner had I gotten up there when I saw that I had made a big mistake in my choice of footwear. I had no traction on the shingles, or "purchase," as Paul Brown, the legendary coach of the Cleveland Browns, called it. So, unable to get back safely to the ladder, I struggled up to the ridge and then along the ridge to the chimney. The house had a working fireplace. I yelled down it to my wife to call the Fire Department.

I was wearing bowling shoes, and their extra-smooth soles, added to my fear of heights, was the problem. I had taken to wearing them around the house after I had discovered that bowling was yet another sport at which I had no aptitude. Thinking at first, however, that I would be the next 10-pins champ, I had invested in the right equipment, and that included the shoes and also a ball with the holes drilled in a special way, the (something)-Bates method. Getting the right equipment is the second thing I do when I go into a new activity. The first is that I pile up a small library on it. But now that I think about it, that is probably exactly the reason why I failed at bowling. I didn't buy one book on the subject. Incredible!

The firemen came quickly and threw up a ladder that hooked on to the ridge, and I climbed down safely, with extreme relief that I would be able to live a little longer, with nothing broken. It happened so fast that none of my neighbors saw it.

I ignored the bored and disdainful looks on the faces of the firemen, nor did I pay much attention either to the remarks of one of my best friends later. He said he would've stayed up there till doomsday before he called the fire department. I informed him that I was a Zen Buddhist (a slight exaggeration) and that one of the things that Zen teaches is that when something hurts you, you should scream. Screw the macho bull!


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