One of our pesky building inspectors dropped by the other day. Another inspector earlier had informed us that the window near the bottom of the staircase needed to be of tempered glass which, I presume, is harder to bust through than ordinary glass. This requirement is because somebody, somewhere, long, long ago fell against a window and was injured. I have never heard of anyone falling through a window, ever, but improbability is no impediment to those mysterious people who make up building codes. So, we paid a handsome premium to get the mandated tempered glass window.

Well, the new guy looks the place over and decides we need a tempered glass window at the top of the stairs too, and in the bathrooms because the windows are not the requisite five feet from the bathtubs. Try as I might, I cannot imagine a scenario where either of these situations would result in any unusual hazard. A person would have to pole vault from the tub to fall against a window four feet off the floor and four feet from a tub. Similarly, in what way is a window at the top of the stairs any more likely to be impacted by a falling person than any other window in the house? (On second thought, I had better not protest this one too loudly; the rule weenies might respond with “You’ve got a point there – we’ll require tempered glass in all windows.)


This same inspector examined my door, my pride-and-joy, medieval torture chamber door (see previous posts,) and expressed skepticism it would meet code. He later called back, after checking with his superior, to say I would be “allowed” to use the door. Hah! And a good thing too. I would have fought for that door like a mama bear fights for her cub.

HOW HAVE WE COME TO THIS SORRY STATE OF AFFAIRS? This is America, for chrissake. We fought a revolution to free ourselves from the shackles of a tyrant and now we have allowed ourselves to be enslaved by the likes of the Planning Department? That they can write volumes of chickensh*t regulations and Americans accept them without a fight astonishes me. George Washington would be appalled.

Asinine regulations like special windows at the top of the stairs are obviously infringements on our freedom. But the real issue is no particular regulation; it is the whole idea of government intrusion into a purely personal matter like a man building his own house. Whatever happened to choice? How is it possible that Americans have forfeited the right to choose what type of windows they put in their homes?

The usual government excuse for imposing regulations is that they are protecting the weak from exploitation by the strong. But how does that excuse apply here? Are they protecting me from myself?

I suppose the thing to do in a situation like this is to organize a contingent of like-minded citizens. I did write my county commissioner and he expressed sympathy with my plight but he basically passed the buck by saying building standards are imposed on the county by the state.