Short & sweet

Many years ago, the father of one of my school classmates fell into a vat of boiling syrup at the jam factory where he worked. Death was instantaneous, and sweet.

At the inquest, the coroner said that the deceased should not have been tasked with stirring the syrup, as he was only 4 feet 6 inches tall, and therefore could not be expected to accomplish the job safely or comfortably.

The factory owner deposed that the deceased was simply “filling in” that day for the Principal Syrup Stirrer, who stood 6 feet 11 inches tall, and who was suffering from gingivitis on the day in question.

On any other day, the deceased was tasked solely with capping pots of jam, at a workbench that had been abbreviated especially for him, at the factory’s own expense.

The coroner returned a verdict of death by misadventure, but ordered the factory to review its policy on sick leave.

In a curious coda to this, we might have thought that the family of the deceased man would be turned off jam (so the speak) ever after, but this was not the case.  They did, however, have a lifelong aversion to potted shrimp.



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