Falling off ladders? It’s kind of a guy thing

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My wife and I were sitting around the dinner table recently with a bunch of other couples having one of those objective, scientific discussions that underscores the radically different views held by men and women when it comes to common household activities.

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Opinion

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/09/2009 (4826 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

My wife and I were sitting around the dinner table recently with a bunch of other couples having one of those objective, scientific discussions that underscores the radically different views held by men and women when it comes to common household activities.

Take falling off a ladder, for instance. See what I mean? Out there in the Real World, you male readers just nodded in agreement and said, “Sure, I’ve done that,” whereas most female readers formed the following important thought: “Huh?”

For guys, falling off a ladder is a straightforward concept, which is why it was a guy who came up with the famous saying: “As easy as falling off a ladder.”

Here are the basic steps:

1) Climb up a ladder;

2) Do something stupid;

3) Fall off the ladder;

4) Shout some very bad words in mid-air;

5) Make pitiful mewling noises when you hit the ground.

But it’s entirely different for women. This became clear at dinner when our friend, Kevin, related a heart-rending true story about a recent incident in which he, through no fault of his own, fell off a ladder.

What happened was, Kevin was at the lake, hammering away on the roof of his guest cottage when — OK, I don’t recall exactly how this happened — he toppled over.

As he plummeted, Kevin’s brain kicked into action. That’s just what the male brain does — it thinks. Even in times of crisis, it never stops thinking, which is why we have men to thank for such thoughtful inventions as (a) pro football, (b) NASCAR, and (c) canned snack cheese you can spray directly into your mouth.

But that’s not the point. The point is that, in mid-air, Kevin’s brain began running through the steps he would have to take to survive.

“First, my brain told me to throw my hammer away so it wouldn’t kill me when I hit the ground,” Kevin explained.

“Then my brain told me to stretch my arms and legs out so that when I slammed into the ground, the impact would be spread out evenly over my entire body.”

The important thing is Kevin’s brain knew what it was talking about, because, other than the fact he is now a rabid Edmonton Eskimos fan, Kevin survived with most of his faculties intact.

All of us guys were impressed with how Kevin’s brain handled the situation, but that’s not how my wife and the other women at the table saw it. No, all three women rolled all six of their eyes. For them, falling off a ladder involves a two-step thought process, namely:

1) Women do NOT fall off ladders in the first place;

2) If they did fall off a ladder — and this would NOT be their fault — while plummeting to the ground, they would NEVER think about themselves.

“If I fell off a ladder I’d be thinking, ‘Oh no, who will pick up the kids after school?’ ” one of the wives noted.

“I’d be thinking, ‘Who will do the laundry? And the cooking? And the shopping?’ ” my wife added.

“Yes,” another wife beamed, “women can multi-task even when they are falling off a ladder.”

And you are going to laugh when I tell you this, but they also insisted that climbing a ladder is a two-person job, wherein one person climbs the ladder, while the second person just stands around holding the ladder steady.

This is not the way guys think.

This country did not become great because our founding fathers stood around waiting for people to hold their ladders for them, as we can see from the following true story my buddy, Bob, related during dessert.

A few years ago, Bob was cleaning the eaves on his two-storey house in Toronto, perched about 20 feet or so above the narrow cement walkway between his house and his neighbour’s home.

It’s a huge waste of time to climb down a ladder and move it, so Bob cleaned the gutters by leaning as far as possible from one side to the other, which worked perfectly — right up to the point where he kicked the ladder out from under him.

As the ladder fell, Bob grabbed for the eaves and stuck out one leg, which just managed to reach the neighbour’s house. So there he was, suspended in mid-air, clinging to his roof, one foot propped on the house next door.

Fortunately, his male brain knew what to do — he hollered for his wife, who was in the kitchen wondering what all the screaming was about.

After reprimanding him for making so much noise, she agreed to put the ladder back, allowing Bob to climb down.

The guys praised Bob for his quick-thinking brain, while the women felt his wife was the real hero.

But we were all happy to see him taken down a few rungs.

doug.speirs@freepress.mb.ca

Doug Speirs

Doug Speirs
Columnist

Doug has held almost every job at the newspaper — reporter, city editor, night editor, tour guide, hand model — and his colleagues are confident he’ll eventually find something he is good at.

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