If you’d told me last week that I’d be spending my Fourth of July drunk on the top of a barn, I’d have told you that you were crazy.

I am terrified of heights. I always have been. On the Big List of Dumb Things Jen is Afraid of, “heights” is right up there with “germs” and just above “being incarcerated for a crime I did not commit.”

The barn is actually a workshop, for my friend Kate’s family construction business. Its roof of the barn is three stories away from the ground, and accessible only by a ladder, which seemed rickety to me, but which everyone had assured me was actually very stable. I had climbed up the ladder once, only to freeze at the top. Those of you who aren’t afraid of heights don’t know this, but the problem most of us heights-phobic people have is that we’re afraid that we’ll forget NOT to throw ourselves off. It’s not like we’re suicidal or anything. It’s just that we have no faith in ourselves that we’ll remember that solid ground is only a good thing when you’re standing on it, not plummeting toward it at 9.8 m/s/s.

Anyway, I got to the top of the ladder, looked at all my friends, shook my head, said, “Sorry, guys, I don’t think so,” and backed down — only to find myself face to face with the quasi-drunken members of locally infamous metal band White Limo.

(As an aside, I would like to say that I would like to make a Monkees-style TV show about White Limo. In my mind, they would live in an abandoned concert venue, like a converted movie theatre or similar, and they would drive around in a battered limousine, solving crimes and breaking hearts. I think this would be huge.)

So, long story short, the guys made me climb back up the ladder and sit on the roof for the fireworks. Well, OK, specifically, their drummer insisted and he was very cute and I am a sucker. So there you go.

I didn’t throw up or anything, either. Someone else did, though. After the last firecracker had faded away, I heard the most terrific retching behind me and turned around to find a guy who had given me a valentine in sixth grade — and who now has an actual CHILD — booting all down the side of the roof.

“You know, in retrospect,” Adrian (a.k.a. White Limo’s front man) said, “Maybe it wasn’t the most awesome idea to bring everyone up to the roof and get them loaded.”

I beg to differ, Adrian. It was a FANTASTIC idea.

Published by Jen Hubley Luckwaldt

I'm a freelance writer and editor.

9 thoughts on “Firecracker

  1. Roof, drunk, ladders, metal band… oh so many phobias apply, I can’t even count.

    Here’s the stuff that applies, but just to “d” on the list

    acrophobia, aerophobia, altophobia, barophobia, batophobia, bathmophobia, brontophonbia, catapedaphobia, cremnophobia, dementophobia, dystychiphobia…..

  2. nice, at least you guys didn’t bring the fire works up there with you (firework phobia(there apparently was no latin name for this) on top of everything else really would throw the altophobics off the roof)

    this one was just freakin hilarious:

    Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia–> Fear of long words

    and what the heck is a walloon?
    Walloonphobia- Fear of the Walloons

  3. I have an irrational fear that a crackhead is going to break into my car and steal all my textbooks, to sell them back to the university for crack money. I don’t know why this continues to bother me.

  4. Walloon.. so appropriate that you ask, oh fine and feathered nelly woman. Originally Celtic people from the border region of France and Belgium, most immigrated to Norhtern Germany during the 16th and 17th century European wars because many were Protestant. Hubley’s were Walloons, at least the ones who spelled their name Hubeli. But not all Hubleys came from the same place, as the current spelling has been Anglicized Low German, High German, and French. Pennsylvania Hubley’s were probably Walloons. The Nova Scotia Hubleys came directly from France and from Scotland. The name, originating from an old Celtic name for small hill, diverged into many forms but many were combined back into Hubley on immigration to the US. There was a boss at Embarkation in New York (before Ellis Island was built) named Hubley, so most of the clerks just gave it to anyone whose name was even close and could not write in English.

    However, the mostest fun use of the word Walloon is to say, “Waaaalloooooon” in a cave or other echo place. All you hear back is “LOOON, Loon, loon, loon, loooo.

  5. Clarification: Walloon is also the name of the Romance language similar to French spoken in Walonia. It’s origin were the Romanized Celts in the area creating a dialect of their own during the relitive static population movements from the 9th to the 16th centuries. In writing, is is almost inditinguishable from French. Place and family names (including “Walloon”) were retained from the Celtic, as well as the pronunciation and some idiomatic expressions are etymologically similar to Welch.

    The residents of Walonia today are mostly the decendants of the Catholic families that did not leave to Germany in the 1600s. Most speak and write in French, with Walloon (the Romance language) slowly dying. Like Wales and Ireland in the 20th century, there has recently been a resurgent interest in Walonia to preserve their ancient language.

    During the emigrations of the 18th to 19th centuries, people went to Scotland, America, and Germany. Those who had gone to Germany in the 1600’s adopted Low German, and when they subsequently left for Pennsyvania, they often lived in closed German-speaking communities, some of which are still in existance. Not Amish or Mennonite, they are usually just known as “Plain.” Many Hubley’s in Ohio and Pennsylvania can trace their roots to these communities, but just as many are not related at all (remember that guy in New York?) This is why the name is variously pronounce hub-lee, hewbelee, hew-blee, and hoo-blee. Most similar names (Huber, Hurley, Hubling, Hubble, etc. have the same Celtic root, a diminutive of “hill”.

  6. wow, that’s stinkin awsome. So I guesss I’ll have to give props to the next person that calls me Hewbley for their extensive knowledge of our name’s origin;)….and by the way you’re hill arious! (tehehe)

  7. well, i just wanted to know who gave you the valentine – but who’s this canttellthatkid character? canttellhimtogoaway? canttellhimtogetahobbie?
    are you related? do you need me to make like warren g and regulate? cause seriously, if this isn’t your dad or infamous cousin, let’s relax a bit, hey? don’t think i’m afraid to unnecessarily unuse unnessary force. no one messes with the j. any of the js (i have 3 – funny how fate brings first initials together). but thanks for the info. weirdo.
    ps unless of course you are a relation – in that case, disregard the not-so-thinly veiled threats. and insults.

  8. Just surfin thru and saw your comments on Hubley. My name is Robert Hubeli-the variant name. We have always pronounced it Hue-bell-eye. Interesting though, because my wife’s friend is from Switzerland and she said it is pronounced Hue-belly there. My grandfather came to the US from Switzerland and entered at Ellis Island. That may be where the pronunciation got changed. Who knows.
    Bob Hubeli

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: