A Man in Boxers with a Spear

My chosen profession is Safety Manager. I didn’t choose this profession, mind you, it chose me. At first it was an additional duty, perhaps given by my former employer as punishment, or warning to others, I’m not sure.

I pause to consider the wisdom of my profession, from time to time, when I do things that are altogether stupid, which happens at such frequency that I am often left in a dazed state.

One of those times happened last summer, when I found myself a bachelor for several weeks. My wife and youngest daughter traveled to Oklahoma to help family, leaving me unsupervised.

In the middle of the night I was awakened by a sound.


I’m a light sleeper, so the beep at 2:30 in the morning had my attention. The beep was coming from one of the dozen or so smoke alarms on the main floor of our house. The smoke alarms are wired into the electrical system, but they have 9-volt batteries as backups. Whenever the life of the batteries is spent, they beep their imminent demise. Never at 2:30 in the afternoon, only at 2:30 at night. This was one of those times.

I crawled out of bed and went in search of the dying battery.


I thought it was the smoke alarm right outside the master bedroom, which was altogether a good thing. We have vaulted ceilings in our house and the smoke alarm in the hallway was within reach. I went to the garage and grabbed my four-foot stepladder and removed the dying battery. I placed it on the kitchen counter and crawled back into bed.

Approximately 45-seconds later I heard


And crawled back out of bed. It wasn’t the smoke alarm in the hallway. It was the smoke alarm in the master bedroom, strategically placed at the top of our vaulted ceiling.

I am just over six feet tall, but for reasons that escape me now, I took my four-foot stepladder, climbed up and reached for the smoke alarm. I was at least one of me short. Perhaps I thought I had hidden abilities and might suddenly become Stretch Armstrong or Inspector Gadget and my arms would span the distance. I found I possessed no such hidden abilities.

So I stood and stared at the smoke alarm and willed it to be silent.


At this point I should clarify that I wasn’t strictly alone in my house. Our two dogs were with me. They watched what I was doing and, as they often do, went to their beds and covered their eyes with their paws. One of them groaned. I wish they wouldn’t do that, because I find it distracting.

I considered just going downstairs to the guest room and ignoring the dying battery. But knowing the smoke alarm was beeping upstairs (even if I couldn’t hear it) would keep me awake.

Then I remembered. I had a spear.

I have a spear because I like to torture myself (and anyone fool enough to follow me) with the Spartan Race. The obstacle course requires the idiot participants to take part in a spear throw. If you don’t successfully complete the spear throw (or any other obstacle) you have to do burpees. Anyone who has seen me will understand that me throwing myself to the ground and jumping back up again is not a pleasant thing in the least. I bought the spear to practice in hopes of avoiding burpees.

It was in my office, waiting for me.

So I grabbed the spear and climbed up my four-foot stepladder in my boxer shorts, reaching for the smoke alarm.

(For those who have gazed upon me in all my glory, I want to pause a moment and let that mental image sink in; of me in my boxer shorts, spear in my hand, standing on a stepladder reaching for a smoke alarm. Have you got it? Has it seared itself into your mind? Good. I’ll continue.)

With the tip of the spear I was able to pry open the cover on the smoke alarm and pop the dying 9-volt battery from its place. I put it on the kitchen counter and crawled back into bed.

Two hours later my alarm went off


And I considered the fact I was a Safety Manager and had recently done what I encourage my co-workers never to do.

It was then I realized I wasn’t made a Safety Manager as punishment. I was made a Safety Manager as a warning to others.

That is all.