Tuesday, February 1, 2011

True Stories of John 7: Dumbest Thing You Could Do

You know what the dumbest thing you could do is?

All you need is a hammer, a bag of salt, a crappy ladder, and a snowstorm.

No, an ice storm. Yeah. Sleet, slush and slippery crap everywhere. You can barely walk down the steps with this little traction.

You go to the garage and get the rickety wooden ladder. It’s the only one you have because you’re cheap.

You carry that all the way up to the deck and set it on a patch of ice. Why on a patch of ice? Because that’s near the gutters, silly. And because it’s on this narrow deck, you’re only a foot away from the edge at all times.

You climb up this ladder that was designed for people fifty pounds less than you, carrying a bag of ice-melter and a hammer. Make sure nobody else is home to hold the ladder for you, because that would be a competent thing to do.

You get to the top and survey the gutters. Thoroughly frozen over. Icicles as long as your leg. The only way to stop this is to empty those gutters.

So you start hammering at the ice with the teeth of the hammer. Nowhere to hold onto, the ladder wiggling beneath you, ice chips spraying into your eyes.

That’s uncomfortable. Shake your head rapidly to warm up. Now get dizzy, because that’s what actually happens when you shake your head rapidly.

And then you look down to steady yourself. Instead of steadying yourself, you get hit in the face with vertigo.

Keep hammering at those gutters. Wonder if the ladder is swaying or if your sense of balance is just off. You’ve got to ignore it and swing faster at the ice. The family will be home soon and this will be a great surprise.


  1. Now that paints a picture! Geez, John, I hope you made it down safely. (It is pretty funny, though, in an America's Funniest Videos kind of way!)

  2. I looked at my ice-filled gutters this morning, wondering if the weight of the ice that's in them and the ice that's coming today will tear them down.

    I looked, shrugged and said, "Well, no point in trying to clear them."

    This is spooky topical.

  3. Love the pace of this and the tone.
    I found myself holding my breath and giggling at the same time! And then you left the gory end up to our imagination. The splattered fool.

  4. oh, sorry, I didn't clock the "True Stories of John" at first. (You caught me, I sometimes skip titles.)

    Well, I guess the splattering was minimal otherwise you wouldn't have been able to write this.

    Glad you're ok!

  5. If I was your mother I'd give you a good talking to. Never do that again!

  6. And you lived to tell the tale. I hope the family was suitably impressed.

  7. I love renting. If our gutters break–not our problem! (except, you know, in an immediate sense). Really great execution on this story. Your phrasing was impeccable and hilarious.

    I can almost top that. I decided to WALK/skate/slide/fall-down a 1/2 mile to the beauty parlour next to a busy road to keep a hair appointment. Nearly died 4 diff. ways.

  8. And this is why I live in Southern Cali. Of course, I don't get fun non-fiction stories like these. winky

  9. Okay, after chatting with you all day today, I went and read this and instantly thought "Oh my god I've been bugging him for hours when all his bones are broken!" I presume the fractured fingers can't be bothering you TOO much.

    Funny in a "how did we humans survive long enough to develop computers again?" kind of way.

  10. People tell me I'm crazy for living in Florida. They say things like, "But what about the hurricanes?" Since 1983 we've had 3 hurricanes, all in one year and nothing close since. What's my point? "You're crazy for living up north where there are blizzards!" I realize this year is the worst in a million years--just like the year we had 3 hurricanes. Stay safe, John. I hope the roof can handle the weight of the snow.

  11. And the Darwin award goes to...actually it doesn't sound any nuttier than me standing on the top (NO STEP)of my own rickety ladder waving a rake around trying to snag the last of the grapefruit.

    Glad you lived to tell the tale!


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