Aloha Friday Message, March 16, 2007 – Good LUCK!!

Bad Luck
Here’s an old story that circulates periodically. I thought you might enjoy revisiting it. It is reminiscent of the old adage, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” Well, in this case good, hard work and even being an Irishman did not result in all the best for poor Bill. I’m hoping your plans all work out and as you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and that if you’re looking for the luck of the Irish, you won’t find this fellow’s luck. Another saying: “If it weren’t for bad luck, he’d have no luck at all!”

Dear Sirs:

This letter is written in response to your request for more detailed information about the cause of the accident I experienced on August 12th. In the Accident Report Form, Item 6, I entered the cause of the accident as “Failure to plan.” I trust that the following account will provide you with the information you seek.

I am a bricklayer, and at the time of the accident, I was working on the last course of brickwork around the fourth floor and roof of the building. At the end of the day, I had about sixty-two bricks left. Each brick weighs about four pounds. I loaded the bricks into a large wooden barrel used to hoist materials up to the roof. The hoist rope ran through a single-pulley block and was tied to a sixteen foot I-beam at the ground level. I swung the barrel over the edge of the roof so as to be able to lower it to the ground, and then left the roof to retrieve my load of bricks.

Once at ground level, I released the knot that held the barrel anchored. You may recall that in Item 3 of the accident form, I listed my weight as 135 pounds. The pile of bricks weighed close to 250 pounds and the barrel added another 30 pounds. Due to the difference in weight, I found myself traveling rapidly toward the roof as the barrel descended with equal speed. Owing to the great surprise I experienced, I am afraid I lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope. This was an unfortunate oversight.

As I ascended, the barrel of bricks met me half way. This would account for the fractured wrist, broken collar bone, and abrasions on my left leg. As the barrel of bricks and I separated, I accelerated upwards to the level of the pulley. At that moment, I estimate the barrel was approximately six inches from the ground and I was approximately forty-eight feet from the ground. Under the circumstances, I did not have time to think about the nearness of the pulley, and so experienced injuries to the first two fingers and the thumb of my right hand as they were pulled into the works of the pulley frame. A fraction of a second later, the barrel hit the pavement and the bottom broke open, releasing its load of bricks. The barrel now weighed about thirty pounds. I remind you that I weigh about 135 pounds.

The barrel and I instantly changed directions. We again met half way which explains the lacerations to both legs and buttocks, and, I believe, the fracture on the back of my skull. I descended to the ground as quickly as I had ascended to the roof. At ground level, I landed on the pile of bricks. I believe it was at that time that I broke both ankles and fractured four ribs on my right side along with two back vertebrae.

As I lay on the heap of bricks, racked with pain and bleeding profusely, I wondered how I could have ever survived such a terrible episode. As I thought about the moment I first untied the knot holding the barrel of bricks suspended above the roof, I gazed up at the remains of the empty barrel dangling four storeys above me. In disgust with my failure to plan, I again lost my composure and cast aside the rope. As is evidenced by my broken jaw and lacerations to the face and head, I was unable to evade the barrel’s rapid return.

Sincerely yours,

William Patrick O’Shaunessy, Esq.

Aloha nui loa!
In God WE trust!

Most so-called “bad luck” is attributable to the failure to plan.
~~ Chick Todd

Have a wonderfully lucky (well-planned) St. Pattie’s Day!!

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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