Thursday, June 9, 2011
Roof! Roof! Roof!
It sounds wildly contradictory, but it’s entirely possible to die peacefully in your sleep of multiple gun shot wounds.
It wouldn’t be a bad way to go, although endorsing it in a place where my wife might see it could come back to haunt me.
I’ll bet I entertain the idea of how I’m going to die at least once a day.
I can’t read a news story about a gruesome death without putting myself in now vacant shoes of the dearly departed. Homicides, runaway trucks and a host of nasty airborne killers fill the skies.
It’s all in play any time you step out the front door of your house -- no safe haven there either with all the faulty wiring, latent asbestos linings and children who’re just beginning to toy with matches and knives.
I have no fear of death as long as it doesn’t have to hurt.
That’s why I was alarmed being back up on my gently sloping roof was again in my future.
Falling off my roof is not the way I want to go.
It’s impossible to drive down the street in Latrobe where I live and not see some crew of likely illegals scampering across the roofs like so many grimy tanned Santas.
A violent hail storm struck town a couple of months ago and it was like the roof fairy sprinkled magic dust on every insurance agent in town.
Renown for stinginess, they suddenly turned into Mother Teresa bestowing hundreds of homes with entirely new roofs.
I saw these heartwarming acts of corporate generosity and thought, “How can I get me some?”
I don’t have a fear of heights, which I find unreasonable. I have a fear of falling from heights, which makes perfect sense.
I’m friends with a man who fell off his roof. He’s a newspaper man and a fine storyteller.
When he told me the tale of his two-story tumble and the agonizing year-long recovery, it was like a Steven Spielberg production.
It was vivid. There were sound effects. He showed me R-rated scars.
Really, if he’d have told a story about getting his toe run over by a shopping cart with such dramatic virtuosity, I’d be ordering all my groceries on-line.
So the fear of falling off my own roof lodged deep in my still intact skull. Because we live in the woods, I’m up there about four times a year to clean the gutters.
I thought this hail storm was the perfect opportunity to get a snazzy new roof and some self-cleaning gutters.
Now, I have no idea if there’s even such a thing as self-cleaning gutters, but we live in an age when our phones can do so much I’ve convinced myself there’s some kind of gutter app I can download for 99-cents that’ll spare me from fearsome roof duty.
And I’m friends with one of the best roofers in Pennsylvania. He’s worked on some of the area’s most high-profile projects. He’s handsome, has refined tastes in wines, cigars and music and has a scintillating intellect that towers above the most monumental roofs in the entire region.
He gave me a free and very professional quote to present to the insurance company.
See, that’s how the world works. If you’re friends with a competent roofer, you get valuable service potentially worth tens of thousands of dollars.
If you’re friends with an inconsequential blogger, you get a slim paragraph of internet flattery that will strike any impartial reader as gassy and insincere.
Anyhoo, a friendly insurance adjustor stopped by Saturday to give the roof a look.
He said the roof was in perfect condition and denied our claim.
I told him about my fears and he burst out laughing.
“I’ve putted golf balls on greens with more severe slopes than your roof,” he said. “You could wear church shoes on that roof and not slip off.”
He basically called me a sissy.
And he’s right. So I’ll not mention it again and will work to overcome this unfounded fear.
I don’t want another professional to ever talk to me like that again.
I’ll die of embarrassment.
Not the way I want to go.