Some people think you can just do dumb things without any forethought, but learning how to do dumb things responsibly takes years of diligent practice. And some people, realizing how difficult it is to do dumb things responsibly, try to avoid doing dumb things all together. My wife is one of those people. She just let’s me do all the dumb stuff and then reaps the rewards.
For instance, last week a smoke detector started chirping in the middle of the night and was disturbing her slumber. With a sharp elbow to my ribs, she then disturbed my slumber and said, “Fix it.”
Our old farmhouse has twelve foot ceilings, and I didn’t feel like going to the barn to retrieve the ladder, so I did what any reasonably trained person in the art of doing dumb things would do. I erected a makeshift tower using chairs and advanced engineering practices (big chairs on bottom; small chairs on top), climbed it like King Kong, and then used a plunger to extend my reach and twist down the smoke detector. Then I went back to bed. The next morning when my wife woke up and saw the chair tower still standing, she was deeply impressed and said, “That was really dumb. I’m surprised you didn’t fall.”
What my wife didn’t realize, however, was that I had been building and climbing chair towers ever since I was a little boy searching for hidden Christmas gifts. Not only did that tower represent years of study in the art of doing dumb things, but it stood as monument to my specialization in elevated dumbery, or the branch of doing dumb things from heights. In college, my friends and I dedicated several Friday nights to studying elevated dumbery. In fact, whoever decided to add brick latticework to the side of the freshman men’s dorm at Wingate University should have just put a three-story rock climbing wall.
Anyway, after years of careful study, I’m proud to say I just recently composed my magnum opus in elevated dumbery. It takes the form of a traditional limerick, but uses a few variations in meter and rhyme to really emphasize the dumbery. I call it, “Ladder in the Front-End-Loader.” It was inspired by my ongoing attempts to clad our old farmhouse in hardie board. Prepare to be impressed:
Ladder in the Front-End Loader
A man was re-siding his house
to impress and delight his spouse.
He couldn’t reach the gable,
so he lifted and made a ladder stable–
and somehow lived to write this magnum opus.