An Open Letter to the Ladder Idiot

Dear "Handyman":

A little over six months ago, I was spending nearly every spare minute working on my Occupational First Aid Level Three ticket.  The course, if you don't know, is the highest level of first aid attainable in British Columbia.  It falls just short of the requirement for entry-level paramedics - in fact, were I to become an entry-level paramedic, it would be only a week's worth of schooling. 

I'm telling you this to give you an idea of where I'm coming from.  I've been in many simulated emergencies, including people landing on sharpened pikes of rebar, chainsaw injuries, and men and women getting crushed by errant forklifts.  I've also done extensive training on ladder injuries.

You see, there are a lot of idiots in B.C. that are careless while on ladders.  In fact, ladder injuries are one of the leading methods of injury on Worker's Compensation claims in this lovely province of ours, to the point that there are even ad campaigns warning you guys.

Based on wednesday's experience, I'm pretty sure you've never seen these ads, so I'll summarize them for you.  They show an idiot on a ladder, and a caption that says "Don't be so fucking stupid, you moron."

I'm paraphrasing, but you get the drift. 

You probably don't know who I am.  I'm the ginger-haired guy who said "I wonder if he knows he won't be able to claim WCB when he falls, because he's using that ladder improperly".  I know you heard me, because you shot me a very dirty glance.  But I'll let you in on a little secret - I wanted you to hear me. 

You see, you were standing on the top rung of a ladder - you might not have seen the warning that says "Do not stand here" or "This is not a step"... you were, after all, standing on it.  But that sign is there to protect you - you have absolutely no traction while on that step, and even a slight movement at the base of the ladder is amplified up there. 

You see, should that asian girl doing taxes on a computer at the base of your ladder move and accidentally bump your ladder, you'd have nothing to catch onto - you have no "points of contact".  And you'd fall.  And hit that asian girl doing taxes on your way down.  And her computer.  And her cute little Hello Kitty backpack.

In short, you would be landing on an overdone stereotype. 

So, when I was asking the supervisors who the first aid attendant was, it wasn't to be an ass.  It was in the (vain) hopes you'd get some common sense and maybe try to find a safer alternative.  It was also to figure out why in the name of hell the supervisors were letting you get away with this - after all, were you to fall, you can bet it'd be their asses on the fire.

I know how your mind works, because it's how the mind of every injured worker works - "I'm careful, and it's never happened to me before, so...".  Which is, of course, the stupidest thing in the world.  I've never been hit by a car before, but you can bet I still look ways before I cross the street, and wait for the "walk" sign to flash before my feet touch asphalt.

What you don't know is that I was already preparing for your fall.  Every time you wobbled, I was ready to spring into action.  I had already figured out who my helpers would be when it came time to immobilize your neck.  I knew who was calling the paramedics, and how I was going to deal with the panicky people.  I knew how I'd handle the situation were you to strike someone on your way down, or get cut up from shattering a computer monitor.  While I had never had an actual first aid emergency happen on my watch, I felt pretty confident in my abilities to handle the situation at hand.

In short, were you to slip and drop twenty feet to the ground, I was ready for it.  And, you may not like this, but I was hoping it would happen. 

Why?  Because sir, you are an idiot, and even though you didn't fall today, it is going to happen if you keep doing stupid things like this.  So I have no remorse for you when you get hit, because you heard warnings, and you ignored them.  As for me, well... I could use the practice. 

You got away lucky today.  But it's just a matter of time.  See you soon. 

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