A joke has it that a person fell off a tall ladder (25 or 50 or 90 or 100 feet). Then, however, it is revealed that the person slipped on only the second rung.
The ladder joke has been cited in print since at least 1922.
13 October 1922, Kansas City (KS) Advocate, pg. 4, col. 5:
A Kansas City carpenter fell off a 50-foot ladder the other day without being injured. He fell off the second rung from the bottom.
16 January 1941, Lathrop (MO) Optimist, pg. 8, col. 1:
John Bob Walker: I fell off a 30 foot ladder yesterday.
John Bill Bridewater: And you didn’t even get hurt?
John Bob: Oh, no, I was only on the second rung when I slipped.
29 January 1950, Hartford (CT) Courant, “Maw Green” comic strip by Harold Gray, comics sec.:
“HE JUST FELL OFF’N A NINETY-FOOT LADDER”
“...WAS HE KILLED INSTANTLY?”
“NA! HE ONLY FELL OFF’N TH’ SECOND RUNG!”
By Jack Vance
New York, NY: A Tor Book
“Ten years ago I fell off a ladder and I was only on the second rung.”
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Joel M. Eichen
Yeah, a neighborhood kid fell off a thirty foot ladder ...... but he was unharmed ....
He was only on the second rung, thank God.
Replying to @shoestringing
@shoestringing Some people use ladders… I fell off a forty foot ladder yesterday. Good job I was only on the second rung when it happened.
6:41 PM · Mar 28, 2009·Twitter Web Client
Rod A. White
BREAKING NEWS: A man fell off a 75 foot ladder today and suffered only minor grass-stains. Miracle? Nah, he was only on the second rung! =)
8:19 PM · Feb 24, 2010·Twitter Web Client
Les Hyne ????
Bit sore. Fell off a 5 metre ladder today. Luckily I was only on the second rung.
11:44 AM · Jan 28, 2012·Twitter for iPhone
I Kent even
Fell off a 20-foot ladder today but I was only on the second rung so it’s all good.
1:21 AM · Aug 21, 2013·Twitter Web Client
I fell off a IOOft ladder once, luckily I was only on the second rung
4:41 PM · Jan 28, 2017·Twitter Web Client
Posted by u/MobileBrowns May 5, 2020
I fell off of a twenty foot ladder today :(
I’m ok though, I was only on the second rung.
Posted by u/Po1sonator June 11, 2020
I fell off a 30 foot ladder yesterday.
I’m fine, I was only on the second rung.