April 16, 2015

Mayhem at the masthead

IN THE INTERESTS OF FREE SPEECH, a whistleblower for VigorLeaks recently intercepted the following  letter to our local office of the Social Security Administration:

Dear Sir or Madam,

I would like to apply for Social Security disability benefits. This is what happened:

I was employed as a yard hand at the local marina. My boss told me to replace a burned-out light bulb at the top of a mast on a 45-foot cutter. Having drawn a suitable bulb from the Stores Dept. I proceeded to the boat. I had no help to get up the mast but hit upon the idea of filling two large plastic buckets with water. I tied them together and winched them to the top of the mast on the main halyard.

I then secured my bosun’s chair to the halyard with the thought that the weight of the buckets would help me ascend mast.

Unfortunately, as I cast off halyard, I discovered that the weight of water in the buckets was considerably more than my weight. I therefore shot up the mast at high speed.

Unfortunately, my right shoulder crashed into the spreaders and became dislocated and heavily bruised. At the same time, the descending buckets hit my left shoulder, cracking the bone and causing considerable pain.

Upon my arrival at the masthead, two fingers of my right hand got jammed in the pulley, causing one to be broken and the other to be badly squashed. I had no time to install the new bulb because the buckets, having hit the cabin top, fell over on their sides and emptied themselves. I was now considerably heavier than the buckets, and began descending at a rapid pace.

Unfortunately, on my way down I met the buckets coming up at high speed, causing severe contusions and bruising, and fracturing two ribs. I slammed heavily onto the cabin top, breaking a toe on my right foot. And then I must have lost control of my senses because I let go of the halyard.

The buckets now descended from top of the mast at high speed, one delivering a blow to my cheek, which was badly cut, and the other hitting me squarely on top of the head, which rendered me unconscious until a nice lady from one of the other yachts, having seen me bleeding and heard my screams, gave me first aid and called 911.

My boss says he doesn’t think I will ever be fit to work on boats again, at least not for his boatyard. I would therefore like to apply for disability and look forward to hearing from you.

[Name withheld to avoid embarrassment. -- Ed.]

Today’s Thought
There is no person who is not dangerous for someone.
— Madame de Sévigné, Letters

“Where’ve you been?”
“Yeah, half an hour ago, they tell me.”

(Drop by every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, for a new Mainly about Boats column.)


Alden Smith said...

I think there should be a Nobel Prize for stupidity where the winner has to donate a Nobel size monetary amount to charity.

Joe Fairclough said...

Terribly sorry, but this is Gerard Hoffnung's Bricklayer's Story from the late 1950s. He saw it in the Manchester Guardian in 1957. It dates back at least to the Reader's Digest in 1940, and is reputed to date back to the 1930s. Doesn't stop it being terribly funny, and if you can locate a recording of Hoffnung at the Oxford Union, you could die laughing.
Joe Fairclough

John Vigor said...

Hi Joe:

Yes, I have heard Hoffnung recite his bricklayer story many times. He was brilliant in the way he used those expectant pauses, causing the audience to collapse with laughter. Well worth searching for. I bet it's on YouTube somewhere.


John V.

John Vigor said...

Yes, here is Hoffnung's famous recitation to the Oxford Union:


John V.