Saturday, November 8, 2008

On Ladders


Ladders: where would we be without them? Could we, for instance, ascend to rooftops? Yes, if there are stairs available, but if there were no stairs? Then, my friends, you would need a ladder.

A ladder is a form of inclined plane, one of the six "simple machines", which also include the lever, wedge, and I think also some kind of wooden robot. But an inclined plane on its own is simply a flat surface that raises up -- or inclines -- from the ground to a higher surface. So it's really kind of a piece of shit. On the other hand, ladders add steps to the idea, which means you can just walk right up, easy as you please, without having to worry about a damn thing, other than slipping and falling. That's why you must remember to hold on with your hands to the sides of the ladder. Always use your hands when laddering.

I don't know when ladders were invited, or who invented them -- no one does. These facts are lost in the mists of history. One thing we do know is that whoever made the first ladder is one of mankinds great heroes, because without him or her (oh, who are we kidding? It was a "him") we would all still be living on the ground, or even lower. Grass huts would be a luxury, and the idea of building a larger house out of wood or -- God forbid -- iron would be considered madness. How, we would argue, could one expect to wash those windows way up there at the top? What, do you intend to grow wings, Jededaiah (Jededaiah is the guy with the "big house" idea)?? Or what about all those leaves that fall on the ground in Autumn? You realize, don't you, that those leaves are going to end up on your roof? Who's going to clean them off?? You?? What, do you intend to grow wings??

As illustrated above, if ladders had not been invented when they were -- whenever that was -- they probably never would have been, and as time went on, no one would be able to imagine performing the kinds of tasks we now normally associate with ladder-use without the benifit of wings. That's how bad things would have gotten. And it probably would have gotten to the point where Jededaiah would go, "Yeah, that's right, dickface, I'm gonna grow wings!" And then he'd probably make a pair of wings out of grass and wood, and stand there in front of his giant iron house, flapping these ridiculous monstrosities, so he could fly up to his roof and rake off the leaves. I don't even like to think where things would have gone from there. We probably would have had a war, or something. All for the want of a ladder.

Thank you, Stanley Ladder, or whoever it was, for inventing this wonderous device. I know that I can't walk through a Home Depot without marveling at the glory of the world you have wrought. Indeed, it wouldn't surprise me in the least to learn that Stanley Ladder's inspiration stemmed from his desire to reach closer to Heaven, not in the next life -- no! -- but in this one. To bask in the light of eternity while still he drew earthly breath. To use his corporeal strength and ingenuity to celebrate his Creator, by reaching out his hands to Him. So when you think about the fact that the tallest ladder we have nowadays is something like thirty feet high, it becomes pretty clear that Stanley Ladder had no idea what he was doing. Who thinks Heaven is only thirty feet above ground? Airplanes fly higher than that! But whatever, they say potato chips were invented by accident, too.

10 comments:

Jonathan Lapper said...

I have rarely read a more informative, thought-provoking and profound post. I have learned much here today and am grateful. Now I'm off to Home Depot to purchase a wooden robot. I didn't even know they had those until now. Thanks for the scoop!

bill r. said...

I must implore you to use your new wooden robot only for good. The temptation to grab for power is great when you control such a device. That's why I keep mine in the shed.

Adam Ross said...

This has to rank as one of the best posts in the history of blogs. Another thing about ladders: they tell you that last "step" is in fact not a step, but I've stood on that step, and my friend -- yes, that is a step.

p.s. "also, things" on your sidebar made me laugh out loud the first time I read it. I'm putting that fact here since there's no comment area over there.

Jonathan Lapper said...

This has to rank as one of the best posts in the history of blogs.

See. Now aren't you glad you took my advice and went with your original ladder idea?

By the way, my wooden robot immediately attempted to usurp my power, right in front of the kids. So, long story short, the fireplace got used a little earlier than expected this year.

bill r. said...

...they tell you that last "step" is in fact not a step, but I've stood on that step, and my friend -- yes, that is a step.

Adam, I applaud the courage shown in speaking out about this. It's a point that is central to a heated battle among we who are part of the Laddering Community. The "No-Steppers" can get ugly, so be warned. Solidarity, brother!

bill r. said...

Jonathan, you probably shouldn't have given up so fast. Show your wooden robot who's boss, and you'll never have to go to the grocery store again. I mean, not by yourself. You're wooden robot would accompany you. Provided, of course, that you've shown him who's boss.

Marilyn said...

In honor of this post and because I finally "get" why guys think she's beautiful, Marilyn Monday will be devoted to 6' tall Uma Thurman.

bill r. said...

Marilyn, I did a prelimanary search for Thurman, and she doesn't seem to have done a whole lot of cheesecake photos. This "Marilyn Monday" will be my greatest challenge yet! But it is a challenge I accept!

Jonathan Lapper said...

If you can't find any good cheesecake photos of Uma, may I suggest Marie Dressler.

Marilyn said...

Yes, I really enjoyed the "Marie Undressed" pictorial in Photoplay's June 1927 issue.

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