This last weekend I was putting a roof over the slide-out portion of our trailer. At an altitude of about 8.5 feet I embarked on a journey of discovery that I now relate to you, the huddled masses. I was on top of the slide-out and trying to climb back onto the step ladder by reaching out with my foot and shifting weight onto it. (You know the spot, that tippy top part where there's big red writing DO NOT STAND.) It began to move a little, which I expected, but then began to move a lot, which I didn't expect. When I tried to pull my leg back I realized, like Wile E. Coyote running off the cliff, that my body was too far over the edge and that I had just purchased a one way ticket to the ground. A few decisions had to be made at this point, and made quickly. I could jump for the ladder and hope that it didn't topple over but a brief benefit-cost analysis suggested that I might not like the result of that. I could let my other foot slip off and try to bend back and grab the roofline but there was a lot of plastic sheeting and a not-quite-yet-stable 2x4 frame that I had halfway nailed together and I knew there were a lot of sharp, pointy things in that direction. So, with very few good alternatives available to me, and with the power of gravity frustratingly not following the Warner Brothers acceleration curve, I decided to just go straight down. It is, clearly, the fastest way to resolve the situation. My descent took me past the ladder and thankfully kept any stray arms or legs from getting caught up in the rungs, which would have been bad. On the way down my shoulder got into a test of wills with a small running light on the side of the trailer. The running light put up a valiant effort but in the end was just outmatched. It snapped off and died a heroic death. After that encounter came the 'contact with the ground' part of this story. That event began with my foot, which had forgotten to retract itself from its position of proximate cause and still thought it was reaching for the top of the ladder. My weight came down on it and it did what feet do when asked to support that much stress that quickly: It gave up and let the ankle take it. Stupid foot. By then the rest of me was finishing up the journey begun .372 seconds before. That's when I discovered two things. First, wet and loamy forest ground with a coiled up hose on it is not a bad thing to fall onto. Second, I'm a genius for cleverly arranging random bricks to be 6 to 18 inches away from me rather than directly under me during this event and break a rib or rupture a spleen.
And that's how to fall off a roof.