Gravity: It's the Law

This is another (and more detailed) missive from Rear Admiral F.M. Dirren Jr, who by the way was the COMNAVSAFECEN -- Commander of the Naval Safety Center. This report involves two civilians employed by the Navy to maintain the grounds of a naval base. The ...uh... "sound effects" are apparently from the original, which hit my inbox in early 1998.

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While he didn't actually climb out on a limb then saw the limb off behind him, this grounds keeper did the next best thing and got pretty much the same results. Properly bedecked with all the required safety gear, our hero leaned his ladder against the offending limb, then turned to brief his helper on the precise manner in which he wanted his ladder tended while he performed this delicate surgery. That completed, he yanked his chainsaw into consciousness, ("BAR-UUM! BA-DA-BA-DA! BRUUM! BAR-UUM!") and scrambled up the ladder, trailing oily-blue smoke and noise behind him as he rose.

Once up there, he checked his clearances, made sure there was no one standing underneath, checked his goggles, checked his gloves, adjusted his hardhat, checked his ladder-holder one more time, gave his saw a couple of anticipatory BAR-RUMM! BA-DA-BA'S, then he draped it across that big old saggy limb and he commenced to wail.

"RA-OOM! RA-OOM! WRRRREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!"

MY GOODNESS! He laid into that thing with a vengeance and, before you knew it, a huge piece of that big old limb that had been hanging down there -- getting in every body's way -- creaked loudly, groaned some, broke off and crashed gracefully to the ground below. Just, I must add, as the rest of the branch -- suddenly unburdened of a great deal of weight -- went "SPROING!" And snapped smartly back to its previously near-vertical position. Which is to say that it, more or less, popped itself out from underneath the guy ... with the chain saw ... on the ladder. And he found himself, more or less, leaning against the atmosphere which, at an altitude of twelve feet or so, offers precious little resistance to guys standing on ladders holding chainsaws.

Well, the ladder went one way and the tree trimmer went another. And the ladder-holder? Well, he didn't know which way to go so he just sort of stood there with his mouth open as the ladder landed next to him and the tree trimmer landed on top of him.

You know, that ladder holder fits my definition of a true friend -- someone you can always count on to be there for you when you're looking for a place to crash.

Posted July 23, 2008 8:00 AM

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