23 August 2009

So I fell off my roof today.

Before you say it, let me beat you to the punch: yes I am an idiot.

I was taking down an unused satellite dish left by the old owners, and knocking off some piles of decaying pine needles.

It happened something like this:

Do you remember that scene in King's "The Shining" when Jack Torrence is knocking the wasps' nest off the Overlook Hotel? Well I had finished tossing off all of the piles of debris that were far enough from the edge that I wasn't too terrified to approach them. (I know this will sound absurd, but yes I do have a fear of heights.) I was climbing down off the second floor roof to the ladder I had stood on the first floor roof. My son was holding the ladder. I carefully searched for unseen stable footholds. Just as I felt the rungs of the ladder firm beneath my feet, I saw a flurry of yellow and black by my left eye.

I felt the first yellow jacket sting my left earlobe. I immediately shifted from crawl to third and popped the clutch. I launched off the roof and prepared to hit the deck. All I could think of was School of Aerospace Medicine at Brooks Air Force Base in San Antonio. We never jumped, but the flight trainers gave us some of the tools. We rode the ejection trainer up a stomach dropping three storeys in less than a second. We were tossed in a swimming pool in under our chutes and had to swim for air in flight suits and helmets. We jumped off thirty foot towers and had to attenuate impact by collapsing joints one at a time: toes, ankles, knees, hips, crumple and roll. After this training we each got to ride a T-37 and take it through multiple G-force flips, dives, and barrell rolls. I think they stopped short of throwing doctors out of a plane because the Air Force had invested too much in us already to let us have some real fun.

I lay on the roof and looked up at B. His eyes popped wide and he asked, "Are you OK?".

I ran a quick system check and replied, "Yeah, I scraped my elbow a bit, but I'm not hurt. I guess I came down that ladder pretty fast, didn't I?"

He said, "Uh dad, you came down, but you didn't use the ladder."

George: you don't even have to say it, I know, YOU TOLD ME SO!

Everyone take care and celebrate because school starts tomorrow!


  1. Didja ever see the episode of Two And A Half Men where the dad falls off the roof as he's trying to descend the ladder after adjusting the TV antenna? Everyone who encounters him all bandaged up after his fall, says to him, "Why didn't you just call the guy?" That's what your story reminds me of. Glad you're o.k., but next time, call the guy!!! ; )

  2. Hmmm..... Sore today?
    Ah well, go stretch out. The impact of old age will seem much less!


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