Deadly Objects Get Dropped With Alarming Frequency
Getty Images/Paul Bradbury
"Things are dropped [from the tower] at least twice a day," says Roland. "It depends who is on the tower and how hungover they are."
We assume the possibility of getting peed on falls under the same umbrella.
Maybe you've heard that urban legend about how a penny dropped from the top of the Empire State Building will gain enough force to kill someone walking below. That legend is ... not at all true, because air stops objects from accelerating endlessly. But heavy objects dropped from that height will absolutely spill your brain matter onto your boots. "A wrench would reach terminal velocity [177 ft/s] before it hit the ground," says Roland. Imagine a major-league pitcher throwing a 120-mph fastball at your head -- only instead of a baseball, it's a crescent wrench.
"That would shatter any part of you it hits. The hard hats we wear would not protect us from that. They protect us from bumping our heads and lighter objects, like rolls of tape or small nuts." Oh, and if you're not wearing a hard hat, from that height, a dropped tape measure can kill you.
Getty Images/Michael Blann
Any of these? Dentists will have to identify you by your teeth.
His first week on the job, Roland was holding a rope to keep an antenna steady (meaning he couldn't leap out of the way) and had to watch helplessly as a tiny speck came hurtling down like a meteor. He had no idea what it was, or how much it would hurt on impact. "I watched this object fall for four seconds coming straight at me, and I'm screwed. It pegged my elbow." It turned out to be a roll of tape ... but he still had a bruise the size of a softball for two weeks. "My whole arm went numb when it hit, so it didn't hurt, but that was probably just some nerve damage. After that, I was part of the team, and they knew I could be trusted to keep them safe up there, because I was willing to take the hit."
Helpfully, when someone drops something, they'll shout "headache!" as a warning. "We can tell what was dropped by how intensely they scream 'headache.' Also, I still don't know if it's better to stay where you are or run to avoid getting hit." If you're on the ladder, though, there's no running -- the decision's out of your hands. You simply stay still, hold your protected head high, and pray to every god that it's not a wrench.
Ryan Menezes is an editor and interviewer here at Cracked. Follow him on Twitter for bits cut from articles and other stuff no one should see.
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