I was reminded of this old New England story recently. It’s one of those stories utterly pointless stories you tell in the winter when there’s not much else to do.

Back in the days of coastal schooners, there was a sailor who lived in Gloucester. He lived with his wife in a small house right on the harbor. His wife complained that the roof was leaking. He said he would stay ashore for a while to fix it. He got some back pay that was due him, bought some bundles of shingles, and got ready to fix the roof. He kept putting it off and putting it off, sitting around the house with his feet up, until he could put it off no longer. He grabbed his hammer and climbed up on the roof. Being a sailor, not a carpenter, he started at the ridge and worked his way down, instead of up the roof as he ought to have done. It was one of those foggy days where it was so foggy that when he was at the ridge he couldn’t see the eaves. By the time he was halfway down the roof, he couldn’t see the ridge or the eaves. He kept shingling and shingling, cursing when he bent a nail, which was often. The fog was so thick that he didn’t notice when he passed the eaves. He just kept shingling and shingling down the fog until he bumped up against the foremast of a schooner that was raising anchor, clambered down the ratlins, signed the ship’s papers and joined the crew.

Now that was a thick fog. We don’t have fog that thick any more.