As I was saying …

Spared, at last

Consider for a moment, if you will, the daunting list of government-related issues facing the roofing industry: health care reform, immigration reform, card check legislation, Environmental Protection Agency lead paint rules, climate change legislation, proposed Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) ergonomics rules and changes to fall-protection standards, changes to estate tax rules, and on and on and on. It's enough to drive a person to drink, or at least to Costa Rica.

As I reviewed the list, it seemed—in a moment of despair—that there was an unusual amount of attention being paid to the roofing industry. All these issues affect roofing professionals, and all affect them dramatically. Many roofing contractors now will be required to provide health insurance to their employees more or less at the same time employees will be required to become certified to handle lead paint. If OSHA has its way, all roofing contractors may have to keep records of work-related musculoskeletal injuries. And any roofing contractor planning on dying should do so as soon as possible while there is no estate tax. A tax is more than likely to be restored some time this year retroactive to Jan. 1.

Surely, I thought, there must be at least one issue out there that would spare the roofing industry. And then Newsweek arrived, and it was as though Michelle Obama herself was speaking to me one-on-one: The cover story was about her efforts to curb the burgeoning problem of obesity in America! We have at last found an issue on which the roofing industry can come to unanimous agreement: We are opposed to overweight roofers.

Of course, the issue is made easier by the fact that it is difficult to be a roofer and be overweight, but this is no time to get picky. I say: Let them regulate us. Bring on the daily calorie allotments, the truth-in-labeling programs, the ban on Frosted Flakes.® Our industry can take it. When you are burning a few thousand calories per day climbing ladders and doing all the other things roofers do, you can afford the occasional Twinkie surtax.

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