And about that Barrel?

Every time I read this, I’m reminded of why I’m not a brick layer. I’ve done the job, but it was a short lived job I never wanted to repeat. However – did you know, chimneys are almost NEVER square with the roof. As you go up with the bricks, the chimney naturally twists slightly with every layer, and ultimately at the top, can be as much as a brick width turned from the bottom bricks. Your trivia lesson for the day.


Dear Sir:
I am writing in response to your request for additional information in Block #3 of the Accident Report Form. After I put “Poor Planning” as the cause of my accident, you asked for a fuller explanation. 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. When weighed later they 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 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 ensure a slow descent of the bricks. You will note in block #11 of the Accident Report 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 didn’t think 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 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 the excruciating pain I was beginning to experience.

At approximately the same time, however, the barrel of bricks hit the ground and the bottom broke out of the barrel. Now, devoid of the weight of the bricks, the barrel weighed approximately 50 lbs. Again I refer you 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; fortunately, only three vertebrae were cracked. I am sorry to report, however, as I lay there on the pile of bricks, in pain and unable to move, I again lost my composure and let go of the rope.

The empty barrel began a rapid journey back onto me. This explains the two broken legs.


Yeah… I don’t know where this story came from either, but every time I read it, I laugh until I can’t breathe, pee my pants and have to change clothes. I’ll still be rolling in two weeks! It’s that good.

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