The accident

Dear Sir;

I am writing in response to your request for additional information
in Block #3 of the accident reporting form.  I put "Poor Planning"
as the cause of my accident.  You asked for a fuller explanation and
I trust 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-story building.  When I
completed my work, I found I had some bricks left over which when
weighed later were found to weigh 240 lbs. Rather than carry the
bricks down by hand, I decided to lower them in a barrel by using
a pulley which was attached to the side of the building at the
sixth floor.

Securing the rope at ground level, I went up to the roof, swung
the barrel out and loaded the bricks into it.  Then I went down
and untied the rope, holding it tightly to insure a slow descent
of the 240 lbs of bricks. You will note on  the accident reporting
form that my weight is 135 lbs.

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.  Needless
to say, I proceeded at a rapid rate up the side of the building.

In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel which was now
proceeding downward at an equally impressive speed.  This explains
the fractured skull, minor abrasions and the broken collarbone, as
listed in Section 3, accident reporting form.

Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping
until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep into the
pulley which I mentioned in Paragraph 2 of this correspondence.
Fortunately by this time I had regained my presence of mind and was
able to hold tightly to the rope, in spite of the excruciating pain
I was now beginning to experience.

At approximately the same time, however, the barrel of bricks hit
the ground-and the bottom fell out of the barrel.  Now devoid of the
weight of the bricks, the barrel weighed approximately 50 lbs.

I refer you again to my weight.  As you might imagine, I 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 two
fractured ankles, broken tooth and severe lacerations of my legs
and lower body.

Here my luck began to change slightly.  The encounter with the
barrel seemed to slow me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell
into the pile of bricks and fortunately only three vertebrae were

I am sorry to report, however, as I lay there on the pile of bricks,
in pain, unable to move and watching the empty barrel six stories
above me, I again lost my composure and presence of mind and let go
of the rope.

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This message was sent on 23 May 1996