The Longest Now


Presence of mind
Saturday June 09th 2012, 11:03 am
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A man submitted a claim for numerous injuries, and for the cause put only “lost presence of mind.” Because of the size of the claim, the insurance company requested more information.  He replied:

I am writing in response to your request for additional information, with reference to the cause of my accident listed as “lost presence of mind”. I trust these details will suffice. 

I am a bricklayer by trade.  On the day of the accident, I was working on the roof of a new four story building. When I completed my work, I discovered I had some 300lbs of bricks left over. Rather than carry them down by hand, I decided to lower them in a barrel, using a pulley attached to the building at the top floor. Securing the rope at ground level, I went up on the roof, swung the barrel up, and loaded the bricks into it. Then I went back down and untied the rope, holding it tightly to ensure a slow descent. You will note from my report that I weigh 150lbs.

Due to my surprise at being jerked up off the ground so suddenly, I lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope.  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, leading to the injuries to my skull and collar bone.  Slowed slightly, I continued my ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep in the pulley, explaining the lacerations on my hand.  At the same time, the barrel of bricks hit the ground and the bottom fell out of the barrel.  The empty barrel weighs approximately 50lbs.  I refer you again to my weight of 150lbs.  

At this point I began a rapid descent down the side of the building, and in the vicinity of the third floor met the barrel coming up — accounting for the injuries to my legs and left arm. This luckily slowed my collision with the pile of bricks, resulting in only the broken ankle and dislocated hip.  As I lay there on the bricks, looking up at the empty barrel six stories above me, I once more lost my presence of mind and let go of the rope.


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