Dear Dr. Boli: Why did built-in gutters go out of style? They are sturdier, more capacious, more attractive, and less likely to collapse while you hang onto them for dear life. Was it some insidious plot by Alcoa to get us all to hang flimsy aluminum boxes on our houses? Why, these structural abominations even require trips up an unstable ladder every few months for cleaning and can barely support the weight of a child, let alone a full-grown adult. Any wisdom which you could provide on the matter would be greatly appreciated. Also, can you recommend a good ambulance service in the vicinity of Pitcairn? I fear that I may soon require their services. —Sincerely, A Man Hanging From an Insubstantial Box Gutter in the Process of Pulling Out its Last Nail.

Dear Sir: Surely the business of teetering on a ladder is a matter best left to your servants. Dr. Boli himself has a reputation for being unusually indulgent to his staff, but there is such a thing as carrying indulgence too far. Your gardener or maintenance man or upstairs maid—the decision as to which one being, of course, best left to the butler—will soon become an expert at gutter-cleaning, if only you will not stubbornly insist on doing the thing yourself.

As for the ambulance, Dr. Boli would recommend dialing 9-1-1 and taking the first one that comes. To paraphrase Ecclesiastes, there is a time for comparison shopping, and there is a time not to be too fastidious.