Amid all our talk about missiles and sinking ships, Bathtub Safety Officer Rafferty came by the house yesterday for a seasonal check-up and was alarmed to discover that I had the ladder out. We had a brief, but intense discussion.
BSOR: I hope you’re not planning to use this.
Me: I AM planning to use it. I’m going to wash the second floor windows.
BSOR: Ladders are dangerous. A terrible hazard.
Me: I think you’re confused. Gravity is dangerous. Carelessness is a hazard. But ladders can be useful.
BSOR: Ladders should be outlawed, or at least fixed with graphic warnings.
Me: Graphic like the proposed new cigarette labels?
BSOR: Yes, with big, gruesome images of broken bones and severe head wounds – anything to make you think twice. Especially at this time of year when a lot of amateur aerialists go high off the ground to scoop wet, slippery leaves out of gutters. That combination of excessive altitude and loss of friction – it’s horrifying. Like watching a clown walk a tightrope made from banana peels.
Me: I don’t have gutters. I’m just doing windows. I’ll be careful.
BSOR: Everyone who goes up on a ladder thinks they’re being careful. But they’re forgetting one thing. The universe is perverse, and it has a twisted sense of humor. Remember the Tarzan movies?
Me: Of course. With Johnny Weismuller!
BSOR: And in those films he had a son.
Me: Named “Boy”!
BSOR: I’m sorry to be the one to tell you, the actor who played “Boy” just passed away. He fell off a ladder. Imagine it! You’re famous for being a Jungle Boy, swinging through the trees, and this is how it ends? The universe goes out of its way to mock us!
Me: That’s very sad.
BSOR: And that’s why I don’t want to get out of bed in the morning. Until I realize the bed could catch on fire or a spring inside the mattress could break its moorings and suddenly, violently extend, piercing my heart. So I get up.
Me: I appreciate your concern. But I’m going to use the ladder.
BSOR: I’ll need to see your LOL.
Me: Beg your pardon?
BSOR: Your Ladder Operator’s License.
Me: There’s no such thing. Is there?
BSOR: In my perfect world, there would be. And you’d have to go through training to get one. They’d teach you about basic stability, extension dynamics, power line awareness, footwear security, tool belt management and the habits of bees.
Me: I think the political environment just shifted away from favoring more regulation. I’m going to go up there.
BSOR: Sudden shifts of any kind are also very, very dangerous. People don’t recognize the value of balance. Balance in all things!
And then he issued me a Safety Police Officer’s Ticket (SPOT) for planning an Above Grade Gravity Rule Altitude Violation And Totally Ignoring Offical No! (AGGRAVATION).
I protested, saying I hadn’t done anything wrong. He agreed, and said that’s the best time to “catch” me, before the fact and not when I’m actually tumbling off the ladder.
But then BSOR has always loved acronyms and pre-enforcement of rules that don’t exist.
What is your policy towards ladders?