Roofers tend to carry a heavy load far past the trucks and up the ladder. It seems these guys always have something on their mind. I am no different even though I must seem spectacular and perfect to you. I have my issues, no no I am not lying . I do have issues. I face challenges like everyone does. Sometimes I think that roofing is my purgatory, sort of a community service for something I did that I cannot remember. I remember a guy named Dale came into my office one day with another guy they nicknamed Batman. They called him Batman because he had an old Cadillac with those huge fins on the back and he had hand painted a formerly yellow car Black.
Batman painted a car like this black. We all new him as Batman.
Back to the story. Dale came in and basically said that the two if them were great roofers. Torch down was their specialty. I was jammed with work so I figured what the heck hiring people was just such a crap shoot I might as well give them a chance. They both came to work and I assigned them a truck and ordered rolls and propane and had the material delivered to the roof. They started promptly and all seemed well. I was heading back to my office after a few estimate calls and I wanted to finish up some proposals. Long story short after I went back to check on Batman and Dale they were no where to be found. I later found out that Dale said he was stung by a bee and Batman and him, well they needed to get drunk to manage the pain.
I was so angry at the moment. I could not understand why they would not just stay and work and deal with life.
In life there will be pain deal with it!
When I look backwards at how Dale and Batman dealt with life sometimes I wish I followed a bit of their medicine especially with what I have dealt with beyond my Big Roofing Career .
I have had two times recently when I wish i could pump up the volume, get stoned and just forget about it all.
I just do not have that kind of courage.
Last Saturday my 40 year old brother passed away. He was at paintball , left the field , drove a mile down a Dundee, Illinois Highway veered off the road and straight through a cemetery into a vacant Taylor Rental building. He was my kid brother and damn I used to change his diapers. I wiped his ass a substantial number of times. I loved this kid. He tried through the years to get close with me but I was always so busy doing the roofs. One summer when he was 15 years old he wanted to be with me , be a part of me and all that I was doing. He shoveled slag all day, he coated a smooth built up roof with aluminum coating alone. He just gave his all , just so he could be like me.
I never took enough time to be with him.
My brother Tom never became a roofer but he married a roofers daughter from Crystal Lake, Illinois. Tom became a slick insurance salesperson most recently selling employee benefits at Assurant Employee Benefits , One Tower Lane, Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois 60181. He is dead now but I understand he was under some pressure at work. Apparently his superior Rick Morris did not like him so much because he showed up at my brothers wake with the contents of his desk in a box. He waited on the line at the wake and handed the box to my other kid brother. I guess Assurant really knows employee benefits and how to be Dead Man rude.
OK so my brother is dead and what does this have to do with roofing or Dale and Batman? To me it has to do with all of it. Man I am feeling pain, guilt, regret, and anger. I guess I am healthy since those emotions are healthy during grieving. I am so ready for Dales medicine, isn’t there something that I could smoke or drink or digest or whatever to make me feel better? To make this go away? This past week has been rough but I managed to work on the roof , I did some estimates , and I did not cry or get high once. The main reason is I have never got high. I just never was a drinker nor did I use drugs. I pity myself for this . My life full of emotions and anger never being able to calm and self medicate.
The only drug I know is roofing and work, but sometimes it is not enough.
This past week so many dogs have come up to me crying and just rubbing against me in a consoling way. The dogs have been great to me and have helped so much. I guess I have been lucky just to have passed their walking course. I guess they have made me think.
A few years back I heard they found Dale floating in the Passaic River, in Garfield New Jersey. Yes he was dead and presumably a bit too high to be in the frigid waters with those flippers and his diving mask. It was an awful way to go for a roofer. I guess his courage got the best of him for one last time. One more roofer down.
I am still standing and hoping for one more roof to do. One more pallet of insulation and skid of SBS to carry up the ladder, Just give me something to carry , something to lay down just one more day. Let me think I am doing good and doing my job. Let me not have this courage that so many have. By now you probably realize that I am a strange bird up on these roofs but not so different than other roofers that have come before me or that shall come after me when I get discharged from this purgatory of the roof.
My purgatory of the Roof. Amen.