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June 7, 2013
I rented a power washer last week to clean the roof on the north side of our modest 5-bedroom house in sleepy, comfortable and very wealthy Moorestown, NJ. It’s the land of broad lawns and narrow minds, and no, I have never quite fit in.
You have to keep up with the neighborhood here, or suffer the wrath of the condescending looks and raised eyebrows. I do this chore every year (although my one son did the gutters this time around). The mold always turns the north side of our house, painted a sort of aqua blue, into a shade of green than resembles The Grinch, which perfectly describes my mood during this session. It is a nightmare-come-true, and I am already dreading next year’s waste of a day.
There are men who love this: motors running loudly, three stories up a ladder, defying death while working outdoors and doing Real-Man, Risk-Reward-type stuff.
I am not of that ilk.
What should have been a three-hour job took me the entire day. The motor ran out of gas. I got all the way up on the roof and then realized I had not brought the hose with me, which is the whole point of the exercise, so I climbed down and got the hose and climbed up and then discovered I hadn’t turned the hose on so there was no water and I had to climb back down and my wife said, “You have a bad attitude” and I shot her as much of a look of anger and hatred that I could but she and the boys just laughed at me and I climbed back up on the roof, once again forgetting the hose and OH MY GOD SOMEBODY PLEASE JUST SHOOT ME.
After an hour of power washing I had cleaned the mold off two or three shingles. Okay, one and-a-half. It appeared to me the stuff was actually growing and mutating right before my eyes, and I think I hallucinated a little being up on the roof breathing the dank, musty, pre-historic moldy air. I was daydreaming and I heard voices and when I actually came back to full consciousness, I realized there were a couple of kids on the field behind our house, watching me, talking about me, and they had no idea I could hear them.
“What is that guy doing up there?”
“I don’t know. He looks drunk.”
“I think he’s a worker.”
“No, I think he’s having a water gun fight with those wasps.”
“The ones right above his head.”
“Wouldn’t it be cool if he fell?”
“Yeah! If he did fall, I bet his brains would come gushing out of his head.”
“That would be awesome!”
“I would totally record it and it would go viral!”
That was the tipping point. “I’m not gonna fall you two slackers!” I shouted, losing my balance and nearly plunging to my death, only to catch myself by shoving the power washer nozzle up against the eave from the highest part of the roof, bracing my body so that I wouldn’t fall, but bending the washer beyond any reasonable way it will ever be used again.
“I’m not gonna fall! And even if I did, I can guarantee you my brains will not be running down the driveway for your enjoyment! And do you know why? Because I don’t have any brains that’s why!”
I’m hiring someone next year.
I will be defying death on stage at The Valley Forge Casino, just outside of Philadelphia, on Saturday, June 29. Get tickets here: http://www.comedycabaret.com/kopvf.html