The Accident Report

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Jace: Bricklayer's Accident Report ~

Possibly the funniest story in a while. This is a bricklayer's accident
report, which was printed in the newsletter of the Australian equivalent of the
Workers' Compensation board. This is a true story. Had this guy died, he'd have
received a Darwin Award for sure....

Dear Sir:

I am writing in response to your request for additional information in
Block 3 of the accident report 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 that
I had some bricks left over which, when weighed later, were found to be
slightly in excess of 500 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 on 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 ensure a slow descent of the bricks.

You will note in Block 11 of the accident report form that I weigh 175 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 equal, impressive speed.

This explained the fractured skull, minor abrasions and the broken collar
bone, as listed in section 3 of the accident report 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. Fortunately by
this time I had regained my presence of mind and was able to hold tightly to
the rope, in spite of beginning to experience a great deal of pain.

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, that barrel weighed approximately 50 lbs. I refer you again to my
weight.

As you can 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 several 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 cracked.

I am sorry to report, however, as I lay there on the pile of bricks, in
pain unable to move, I again lost my composure and presence of mind and let go
of the rope and I lay there watching the empty barrel begin its journey back
down onto me. This explains the two broken legs.

I hope this answers your inquiry.

Bill Fuller
 

thirteenbyseven

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That reminds me of true excerpts taken from some Department of Motor Vehicles accident files. Some are succinct and combative. "This accident was caused by a little guy driving a little car with a big mouth." Others aspire for literary greatness. "I watched as the disheveled, sad faced old gentleman bounced off the hood of my car." Most all assign blame to powers beyond their control. "I was driving along when out of the blue, the light turned red!" Blameless even in the face of nature flouting the laws of physics. "As I rounded the bend in the road a tree came out of nowhere and hit my car."

Gotta watch out for those overly aggressive predatory trees!
 

Max

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I remember hearing a tape of this excellent bricklayer story being told by the musician Gerard Hoffnung. I suspect it was his creation.

Hoffnung

He died very young at some time in the early 60s I think.