I chose 'Smarter Than The Wood' for the name of this blog because it had a sense of humor but could also be thought provoking. I hadn't really considered how it might come back to bite me. There's a little bit of a 'up on a pedestal' reality to this claim that might call for getting 'knocked off it' on occasion. I had no intention of getting on 'my high horse' about this when I started but I'm afraid I might have set myself up for a fall.
This came up first in a conversation with a client about a particular detail we were working on. I got a "someone smarter that the wood wouldn't do that' response, implying that my solution was less than 'perfect'. I never said I was perfect, damn it, but I guess suggesting that my insight into problem solving might be 'smarter' is more dangerous than I thought.
Another example came during simple day to day operations. This is embarrassing but the door is open now. On one particularly hectic day I tried to do one more thing than my apparently feeble mindedness could handle, installing a temporary toilet in the house where we were finishing up the framing, trying to save a little money on sani-can bills. This was late in the day (a theme we will revisit next). When it didn't flush properly I left for the day thinking it could be dealt with in the morning. The next day the plumber was on the job taking care of another issue so I mentioned that something was wrong with the toilet. Big mistake. The first thing out of his mouth was " did you remove the knock-out?" Damn. I'll probably never live that one down. 30 some years of construction and I'm smarter than the wood but forget to remove the seal from a new toilet rough-in? At least I should have keep it to myself by fixing my own mistake. Now the whole world knows!
But the reason I'm writing this post is because of an accident I had last November and it's not really funny. Late one day as it was getting dark I decided that it was important that I get a tarp up onto an area of the roof so that we wouldn't have to worry about snow in the morning. Everything was fine at first, my hammer in one hand, the tarp in the other, when for some reason I took one more step onto a patch of ice. There is one safety rule that always sticks with me. Most accidents happen at the end of the day when you might be a little tired, in a bit of a hurry and maybe not thinking about the next moment. 'Dumber than a stump' was one of the first things in my mind as I tried to get up off that hard frozen ground. My first thought was I'm alive but it hurts more than anything I have ever experienced. But second was "you know better, you've been telling others for years not to take that chance but here you jolly well are, aren't you". Two months later I'm still not fully recovered but I know one thing for sure. A moment of 'Dumber Than A Stump' lasts way too long.
So, what should one take away from all this. How about 'stay humble, my friend' and maybe, beware that a 'karmic payback' may be waiting in the wings.