Editor's Note: In Defense of Roofers
This is an edited version of a letter sent to the producers of “The Mullet Bros.,” a television show in the works at UPN.
Dear Sirs and Madam,
This letter is written to bring a few points to your attention in light of your upcoming production of the television pilot, “The Mullet Bros.” According to an announcement in Variety, the “show revolves around the brothers — beer and wrestling fanatics who run a contracting and roofing company when they’re not goofing off.”
I am not a roofing contractor, but I have worked in their service for nearly 30 years and have many friends and associates who are roofing contractors. It would follow that I object to your story line, which will perpetuate the stereotype that my good friends in the roof-contracting profession must endure. I want you to know a bit about those whom you are lampooning as persons “who run a roofing and contracting company.”
Roofing is tough, dangerous, physically and technically demanding work. Roof contracting is a capital-intensive and risky business and is always performed outside — not a bad thing until you consider that in the summertime temperatures routinely spike over 100 degrees on the rooftop. Working outside can be a blessing until you find yourself in the middle of an approaching thunderstorm but are unable to retreat to cover before you have adequately sealed the building on which you are working. Or you are working to perform emergency repairs when the wind-chill puts exposed body parts at risk for frostbite.
Given the weight and volume of roofing materials, roofing work creates extreme physical demands. And considering that the roof is always the farthest point on the building from the ground, the risk of a deadly fall is just part of the job every day. While physically demanding and risky, roofing work must be performed by individuals who are skilled in the practice. These days there are many different roofing systems on the market that require specific talent and training to properly install. Roofers and roofing contractors are involved in a continuous process of system and installation improvement.
The roofing industry in this country employs several hundred thousand individuals and generates revenues in the tens of billions of dollars. In all the construction trades, roofing people and the products they install must be able to perform in the most demanding of circumstances: direct exposure to every extreme of the weather.
I hope your project succeeds, understanding that yours is a risky business as well. I also hope that you will reconsider your story line just a bit. “The Mullets” do not necessarily need to be roofers, and it would be a shame for your show to unfairly paint everyone in the roofing trade as “redneck.” The fact is, the vast majority of roofers and roofing contractors in this country are smart, dedicated, decent, hard working and honorable people who, in my opinion, are due considerably more respect than they are routinely accustomed to receiving.