About a year ago, I went to stay with some friends for the weekend, with the goal of helping them clean out their garage. When they’d moved into their house several months before, two of the stalls had become a catch-all storage facility for any random items that didn’t have an immediate place in their new home, and they were ready to weed through the junk.
A large rented dumpster was sitting on the driveway, and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t immensely fun to chuck things into it. Actually, the whole process was fun for me, since I didn’t have to make any command decisions about what to keep and what to ditch — I’d just hold things aloft and wait for the word on whether to set it aside or throw it away.
With three of us intently focused on this project, it was only a few hours’ work. And despite the fact that it had been pouring rain all day, I was pretty impressed that I wasn’t terribly wet or dirty toward the end.
Then my friend asked if I could help him move an old carpet roll that had been sitting outside.
“Of course!” I said.
To his credit, he did ask, “Are you sure?”
Yes, I was confident I could aid him in this task. He took one end, and I took the other. It was heavy and very soggy, but doable.
What I didn’t consider was that, as we attempted to hoist it over the edge of the dumpster, he would naturally be much stronger than me. So his end of the roll would be raised much higher and quicker than mine. And all the rain that had slowly soaked into the carpet and collected in the middle would rush down the tube and drench me, like the coldest, filthiest waterfall imaginable.
As I stood there dripping dirty muck, I couldn’t find any words. I just made a shocked, sort of horrified high-pitched noise, like “EEEEEEEH!” Then I walked directly inside and threw myself into a steaming shower.
It was sheer hubris that left me sopping in muddy rainwater after what had been such a successful day. Oh, and the power of physics, which is very, very real.