Four Lights Tiny House Company

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Don't Try This on Home #4


Falling from tiny structures is still falling

I now know that, while it has often been used in fiction as a convenient means of explaining the otherwise inexplicable, amnesia really does exist. I know this because I’m told that, for six hours during the Summer of 2006, I was an amnesiac. I say “I’m told” that I was because I don’t actually remember being an amnesiac. Nonetheless, I have it on good word that this was the case. 

What little I do remember of those six hours is that I’d been telling some folks interested in building safety about how dangerous it would be to step on any of the plywood subflooring beneath our feet that wasn’t nailed down. I droned on to explain the even more obvious fact that it would be quite a fall from there to the hard surface nine feet below. My then-girlfriend, Jenny, and our mutual friend Deanne were attending, and they were doing a very good job of not rolling their eyes as I went on to say absolutely nothing a complete idiot wouldn’t already understand. 

The next thing I remember is sitting on a hospital gurney asking Jenny and Deanne to explain what had just happened. “You fell through a floor!”, they scowled. This time they were, apparently, making no attempt not to roll their eyes, and I could tell by the exasperation in their voices that I must have done something else really dumb to piss them off. Jenny’s irritation turned into excitement as she suggested to Deanne that it seemed like I was starting to remember what was being said. 

What happened?

It turns out my two cohorts had been reiterating the words, “You fell through a floor”, ever since I’d regained consciousness six minutes after my fall. They tell me that my role in our inane dialogue was as limited in its scope as theirs. “What happened?”, is a question I had apparently been asking every few seconds for more than 5 ½ hours.

Once I was more coherent, the two apologized for their rightful irritation, and for the state of my, now, ripped and pee-soaked clothes, which were contained in a plastic bag sitting at my side. They explained that it had been necessary to cut the shorts and underwear from my shivering body with a pair of tinsnips and cover me with housewrap after my fall, as I’d peed myself upon impact and seemed to be going into shock. They said they’d anticipated the ambulance in Charlottesville, some fifty miles away, taking at least an hour to arrive, so the urine-saturated cut-offs and boxer-briefs would need to go. Their tone seemed inappropriately apologetic for a couple of friends who’d just saved my life.

I still can’t remember new information worth a tinker’s cuss, but, then again, as far as I can remember, I was never much good at retaining knowledge anyway. 

I hope a few words about my own ill advised mishap might save someone else some trouble. I see two morals to this story, 1) Be careful when you’re building your house, especially when you’re working in high places. Ladders, in particular, are the most dangerous tool on the jobsite, and 2) Don’t demonstrate the obvious when it is far more easily, and safely stated.

Check back for Mistake #5: “There is no black and white in green”!

Posted by Jay Shafer — March 06, 2014

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