Lost Presence of Mind

Have you lost your mind?

Sometimes we have no one to blame but ourselves for some of the things we face in this life.  One such explanation is revealed in the letter that a man wrote to his insurance company about a work accident he had.


Dear Sirs:

I am writing in response to your request for additional information. In block number 3 of the accident reporting form I put “Lost Presence of Mind” as the cause of my accident. You said in your letter that I should explain fully, 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 discovered that I had about 500 pounds of bricks leftover. 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 on the roof, swung the barrel out, and loaded it with bricks. Then I went back to the ground and untied the rope, holding it tightly to insure a slow decent of the 500 pounds of bricks. You will note in block number 11 of the accident report form that I weigh 135 pounds.

Due to my surprise at being jerked off the ground so suddenly, I lost 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 skull and broken collarbone that I have noted.

Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep into the pulley. This explains the lacerations of my right hand.

Fortunately, by the 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, the barrel now weighed about 50 pounds.

I refer you again to my weight of 135 pounds in box number 11. As you might imagine, I began a rapid desiccant 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 the lacerations of my legs and lower body.

The encounter with the barrel slowed me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell into the pile of bricks and, fortunately, only three vertebra were cracked.

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