The Wisdom of Modah

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How To Fall Off A Ladder

This week, instead of one of my famously frequent, figurative face-plants,

I experienced a singular, literal ASS-PLANT.

I fell backwards off a six-foot ladder onto a concrete garage floor.

And it should have never happened, because of course


I had climbed the ladder to get my torso halfway through an opening into our attic.

And why would a hefty, sixty-two-year-old broad like me do that?

The answer is – to admire the aluminum’n’wood framework that two darling air-conditioning technicians had built for our new air-handler.

The hubs and I were spending a gazillion dollars on a fancy-schmancy, variable-speed, WiFi-compatible, remote-controllable AC system. In addition to a “whisper-soft outdoor compressor” the system also included a monstrous black Darth Vader of an air-handler that was destined for our attic. And, being true to my curious nature, I wanted to KNOW EVERYTHING about it and how-the-hell-it-was-gonna-fit-up-there.

While ascending the ladder, I made sure to climb no further than the second-to-last-step from the top. While earning a useless college degree in theater tech/design I’d learned NEVER TO STAND ON THE TOP STEP OF A LADDER, lest one should fall and, well, y’know, become a lawsuit. So Modah confidently braced her shins against the top of the ladder and latched one hand onto the first rafter in the attic.

As I surveyed the new air-handler frame, which included two hefty, parallel, aluminum rails leading away into the darkness, it occurred to me that the whole deal looked like the tracks from an indoor ride at Universal Studios. So I tilted my head back over my right shoulder to share this gem-of-an-observation with the technician standing below.

“Hey this thing looks like a ride from The Wizarding World of Harry Po–

The ladder shot forward. My body pitched backward. My arms flew wide and hit the edge of the attic opening. And as I was clawing, flailing and falling toward the earth, I had just enough time to think,

“Shit, THIS is how I’m gonna GO?”

Mercifully, the technician had just enough time to break my fall.

But, despite the technician’s quick thinking, I did land with a sickening thud.

The good news is that:

I didn’t die.

I didn’t land on my skull and traumatize my brain into a pile of unresponsive goo.

I didn’t break any bones.

I didn’t even go to the emergency room.

It’s a frikkin’ miracle that I’ve come out of this with just an aching back

and a pair of baseball-sized contusions near my tailbone.

God was merciful to Modah. And He has made His point.

From this experience I have learned an important lesson:



So, going forward,


before sharing them with others,

lest she get into any serious, y’know, trouble.


  1. This is a fantastic bit of Moda (sorry, I’m a purist and will always spell it this way) brilliance. I love that you surprised me with the lesson. Fine piece of writing.

  2. Great one, Modah. Funny (not ha ha) how in our dottage we want to prove how agile we are and how despite our self- ignored handicaps, we just keep doing what we’ve always done. One of my favorite books these days is “We Never Learn.”
    Meanwhile treat your husband and yourself to “Sully.” It is not the movie you would expect of this potential tragedy/ unlikely hero. Be reminded that Clint Eastwood is at the top of his game in his cottage in his sparing, searching tell of this story. And Tom Hanks? Bravo! Master class in moviemaking.
    Meanwhile, stay off those ladders!

  3. You lucky person, you, go forth and climb no more. I wouldn’t even dare get on the bottom rung of a ladder nowadays. Just sayin….

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