Teaching through laughterApr 25th, 2006 | By Ian Poulton | Category: Personal Columns
Reading a theological book today, I was delighted to find the following under ‘paradigm miscalculations’.
MURPHY’S LAW ARCHIVES
Case No. 48732; Ref: AB-5634297
Ms. S. Brown, Administrator
Allied Insurance Company
347 Worth Street
Akron, Ohio 43256
Dear Ms. Brown,
This is a response to your request for additional information in Block number 3 of the referenced accident reporting form where I put “Poor planning” as the cause of my accident.
You said in your letter that I should explain this more fully, and I trust that the following details will be sufficient.
I am a bricklayer by trade. On the day of the accident, I was working alone on the roof of a new six-storey building. In the late afternoon, when I had completed my work, I discovered that I had about 500 pounds of bricks left over. Rather than carry them down by hand, I decided to lower them in a barrel using a pulley which, fortunately, was already attached to a beam protruding from the side of the building at roof level.
After securing the rope at ground level, I returned to the roof and loaded the 500 pounds of bricks into the barrel. Then I went back down to the ground and untied the rope and held onto it rather tightly to insure a slow descent of the barrel of bricks.
You will note in Block number 11 of the accident form that I weigh 135 pounds. Due to my surprise at being jerked off the ground so suddenly, I lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope. Perhaps needless to say, I proceeded at a rather rapid rate up the side of the building. In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel coming down. This is when I broke my left arm and collar-bone. Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until I cracked my skull on the beam and ran the fingers of my right hand two knuckles into the pulley.
I had regained my presence of mind by this time, however, and held tightly onto the rope in spite of my pain.
At approximately the same time, the barrel hit the ground and its bottom fell out depositing the bricks in a ragged pile. Devoid of the weight of the bricks, the barrel weighed something less than fifty pounds. (I refer you again to Box number 11.)
As you may have already guessed, I then began a rapid descent down the side of the building. In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel coming up. This accounts for the lacerations on my legs and lower body. The encounter with the barrel slowed me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell onto the pile of bricks and fortunately, only one ankle was broken.
The puncture wounds on my chest and stomach came as I lay on the bricks unable to move.
Staring up at the barrel, I again lost my presence of mind and let go of the rope.
Following the advice of my doctor, I am planning to leave the bricklaying trade and pursue a less dangerous occupation.
I was still laughing as I walked around Tesco at half past five this afternoon.