Steven M. Drew
SLS, P. Surv.
I have enjoyed my time on council and would encourage any member asked to be a part of council that they readily accept. One of the duties as council member is to write a couple of columns for the SLSA Corner Post. It can be a daunting task to write something that the membership will enjoy. Carla sent me a reminder the other day that my article was due and I immediately thought to myself I would get to this as soon as the workday was finished. So, I put a reminder in my calendar on my smartphone for 6:00 PM yesterday afternoon. I managed to finish up work early around 5:15 pm, and wanted to head home and hang my patio lights up around the back yard – just in time for spring. I was halfway up a ladder at the back of my house (circa 6pm) when an alarm went off on my phone. Rather than backing down the ladder I decided to read the message, hoping I hadn’t left a client in the lurch. It was then that I almost lost my footing, and thought to myself “well that was poor planning”. I immediately thought of an article I read some years back regarding poor planning. The author is unknown and the story has been around for close to a century. Below is the article (in one of many forms) for your enjoyment:
To Whom it may Concern:
I am writing in response to your request for additional information. In block number three of the accident reporting form, I put “poor planning” as the cause of my accident. You said in your letter that I should explain more and I trust that the following details are sufficient:
I am a bricklayer by trade. On the day of the accident, I was working along on the roof of a new six-story building. When I completed my work, I discovered that I had about 500 pounds of bricks left over. Rather than carry the bricks down by hand I decided to lower them in a barrel by using a pulley, which fortunately was attached to the side of the building at the sixth floor.
Securing the rope at the ground level, I went up to the roof, swung the barrel out and loaded the bricks into it. Then I went back to the ground and untied the rope, holding it tightly to insure a slow descent of the 500 pounds of bricks. You will note in block number 11 of the accident reporting 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. 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 explains the fractured scull and broken collarbone.
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 my pain.
At approximately the same time, however, the barrel of bricks hit the ground – and the bottom fell out of the barrel. Devoid of the weight of the bricks, the barrel now weighed approximately 50 pounds.
I refer you again to my weight in block number 11. 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 and lacerations of 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 three vertebrae were cracked.
I am sorry to report, however, that as I lay there on the bricks in pain, unable to move, and watching the barrel six stories above – I again lost my presence of mind.
I let go of the rope! And I lay there watching the empty barrel begin its journey back onto me
original author unknown originally circulated at the turn of the 20th century”