I knew my tall, 50-year-old wooden ladder had outlived its usefulness, but I thought I'd use it for one last job: installing the roof on my kids' treehouse. Perched on the second-highest ladder rung, I strained to reach the last nail of the final shingle. Then, without warning, the ladder rung broke and I plummeted painfully downward as one rung after another splintered under my weight. I wound up on the ground feeling like Wile E. Coyote. Fortunately, I sustained only minor injuries; I took a chain saw to the ladder.
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