As I sit here at my desk, gazing out the window deciding what to tackle next—update my resume, answer emails, work on our taxes—my eyes fall upon my neighbour who is perched high upon a ladder; clearly taking advantage of the mild weather, he’s taking down his Christmas lights. Naturally this reminds me of the battle my dad fought and lost with an unruly ladder.
Forget the taxes, I’m going to share this story instead.
My parents live near by and I pop over often. On this particular day I had stopped in without the kids for whatever reason. I was in the kitchen putting on the kettle for tea when I happened to glance out the bay window. It was at this exact moment that I witnessed my father riding a ladder from the crest of the roof, down to the pavement. Wearing slippers instead of sturdy shoes was his first mistake. The second was neglecting to ask someone to hold the ladder securely on the sloped driveway while strung the Christmas lights.
The bottom of the ladder slid back away from the house on the slippery pavement and he plummeted face first. He obviously had a secure grip on the ladder as he never let go, even as his face rebounded off the ladder’s rungs.
I screamed for my mom as I bolted outside. My dad slowly stood up and stared blankly ahead.
“Oh my god! Are you okay?!” I screamed.
He said he was fine, but the blood spurting from just above his eye said otherwise.
“I’m calling an ambulance.” I told him.
“Don’t be silly,” he answered. “I can drive. I just need to get changed, my pants are dirty.”
We don’t call my dad, “Mr. No Pain” for nothing. He was also in shock.
I drove him to the hospital. Several stitches and a broken wrist were the extent of his injuries. We were lucky.
So apparently this ludicrous ladder behaviour runs in the family.
Being the thrill seeker he is, my brother naturally had to up the ante by adding a chain saw to the mix.
Early one fall morning, Mike decided to trim the birch tree that had grown too tall and was now drooping over the roof. Feeling secure in work boots— not slippers—he climbed to the top of the ladder, chainsaw in hand.
The ladder was angled against the tree trunk. As he topped the tree, the trunk newly liberated from it’s top heavy foliage, snapped back expelling Mike and his roaring chainsaw from the ladder.
“I felt like it happened in slow motion,” he told me.
“I hurled the chainsaw as far from my anticipated landing spot as I as could, held onto the ladder as long as possible, and let go just as I hit the ground.”
Thankfully Mike and the chainsaw’s grinding teeth landed several feet apart and my brother walked away slightly bruised, but otherwise unscathed.
So what have we learned?
a) Slippers have no place outside the home.
b) Leave the chainsaws to lumberjacks and professional ice sculptures.
c) If humans were meant to fly, we’d have wings.
d) If you must climb a ladder, use the buddy system.
e) The men in my family are ridiculous.
The following video is another example of somebody feeling sadder via ladder…