The Bricklayer

Dear Sir:

I am writing in response to your request for additional information.  When I was filling out block number 3 of the accident reporting form, I wrote “working alone” as the cause of my accident.  You said in your letter that I should explain more fully, and I hope these details will be sufficient.

I am a bricklayer.  On the day of the accident, I was working alone on the roof of a new six-story building.  When I completed my work, I discovered that about 500 pounds of brick were lying on the floor.  Rather than carry the brick down by hand, I decided to lower them in a barrel, using a pulley attached to the side of the building at the sixth floor.

I tied the rope at ground level, and I went up to the roof, swung the barrel out and loaded the brick into it.  Then I went back to the ground and untied the rope. I was holding it tight to assure a slow descent of the 500 pounds of brick.  You will remember that in block 11 of the accident reporting form I wrote that I weigh 135 pounds.

Due to my surprise at being jerked off the ground so suddenly, I lost my presence of mind, and I forgot to let go of the rope.  Needless to say, I ascended at a rather rapid rate up the side of the building.

In the vicinity of the third floor, as I was going up, I met the barrel as it was coming down.  That is how I fractured my skull and broke my collarbone.

I continued up rapidly, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand entered two knuckles deep into the pulley.

Fortunately, by this time I came to, and I managed to hold tightly to the rope in spite of the pain I was suffering.

At approximately the same time, however, as I was hanging by my hand, the barrel of brick hit the ground, and the bottom fell out of the barrel.  Empty, the barrel now weighed approximately 50 pounds.

You recall that I weigh 135 pounds.  As you might imagine, I began a rapid descent down the side of the building.  In the vicinity of the third floor, as I was going down, I met the barrel as it was coming up.  That is how I sprained my ankles and received lacerations on my legs and lower body.

Because of the encounter with the barrel, I was going slowly enough to lessen my injuries when I dropped onto the pile of pricks and fortunately, I only cracked three vertebrae.

I am sorry to report, however, that as I was lying there on the bricks, in pain, unable to get up, I was watching the barrel six stories above me, and again I lost my presence of mind.  I released the rope.

Sincerely,

The Bricklayer

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