I am writing in response to your request concerning Block No. 1 on the insurance form which asked for the cause of injuries, wherein I put “Trying to do the job alone.”  You said you needed more information, so I trust that the following will be sufficient.

I am a bricklayer by trade, and on the day of injuries, I was working alone, laying brick around the top of a four-story building, when I realized that I had about five hundred pounds of brick left over. Rather than carry the bricks down by hand, I decided to put them in a barrel and lower them by pulley, which was fastened to the top of the building. I secured the end of the rope at ground level and went up to the top of the building and loaded the bricks into the barrel and flung the barrel out with the bricks in it.  Then I went down and untied the rope, holding it securely to insure the slow descent of the barrel.

As you will note on Block No. 6 of the insurance form, I weigh 150 pounds.  Due to the shock of being jerked off the ground so swiftly, I lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope.  Between the second and third floors, I met the barrel coming down. This accounts for the bruises and lacerations on my upper body.  Regaining my presence of mind, again I held tightly to the rope and proceeded rapidly up the side of the building, not stopping until my right hand was jammed in the pulley.  This accounts for my broken thumb.

Despite the pain, I retained my presence of mind and held tightly to the rope.  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 about fifty pounds.  I refer you again to Block No. 6 and my weight.  As you would guess, I began a rapid descent.  In the vicinity of the second floor, I met the barrel coming up. This explains the injuries to my legs and lower body.  Slowed only slightly, I continued my descent, landing on the pile of bricks.  Fortunately, my back was only sprained and the internal injuries were minimal.  I’m sorry to report, however, that at this point I again lost my presence of mind and let go of the rope. As you can imagine, the empty barrel crashed down on me.

I trust this answers your concern.  Please know that I am finished with trying to do the job alone.

Barbara Johnson, So, Stick a Geranium in Your Hat and Be Happy
(Thomas Nelson, 2004) pages 80-81


  • Are you still trying to do the “job”, whatever your “job” may be, alone?
  • How comfortable are you working with others?
  • What do you consider to be the pros and cons of working alone … of working with others?


Author: philipchircop

I'm a Jesuit from Malta, an artist at heart and madly in love with all things beautiful and soulful: music, painting, sculpture, photography, film, theatre, poetry, good company, good food, good wine and more. I believe that beauty is a wonderful entry into the mystery of the God “whose centre is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.” God can be sensed in all things if and when we engage in a long, loving look at the real that surrounds us. I consider myself a seeker with bottomless curiosity, an eternal student of life, exploring fresh and creative ways to proclaim the Good News in the hope of helping fellow pilgrims and seekers to embrace real and radical changes that will lead to conversion and transformation.

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