One night, a few winters ago, I was kept awake particularly late, chatting with a friend through our computers. I heard a loud crash and investigated. On my bed, right where I would have laid my head, was a very large, heavy chunk of plaster from the ceiling of my bedroom. It was part of a much larger section, not only what landed on the bed. The piece missing from the ceiling, including the pumpkin-sized chunk that could have killed me if I'd been sleeping when this happened, was exactly - exactly - the size and shape of a child's coffin.