BJ Condike

BJ Condike

Published On: October 12, 20194 min readCategories: Humor

My phone rang and I answered, “Hello, this is Jack.”

“Hello, Mr. Thompson. This is Angela Meriwether at Apex Insurance. I want to chat with you about your recent claim if you have some time. Actually, it’s a group of claims. I’d like to get this resolved before the holidays.”

“Sure,” I said. “Sorry about all that paper, but I couldn’t find a single form on your website that covered everything.”

“Well, it’s unusual to have a single incident involving auto, home, medical, dental, and personal liability,” she said. “The whole thing is confusing. Could you clarify what happened?”

“I put it all in my claim, but I can explain it if you wish.” I paused. “What happened to Beverly? She usually handles my claims”

“Beverly is on sick leave. The poor dear had some sort of breakdown. She kept muttering something about monkeys and telephone poles. Your name came up repeatedly.”

“Oh, that’s too bad.” Wanting to avoid the monkey story, I quickly continued. “So, where do you want me to start?”

“Let’s start at the beginning, Mr. Thompson, with the damage to your vehicle.”

“Please, call me Jack.” I took a breath. “I was installing a TV antenna. I have an A-frame with a steep roof, but I didn’t have a ladder tall enough to reach the peak. A storm was approaching, and I was in a hurry. My idea was to rappel up the roof on a heavy rope. I planned to throw the rope over the roof, fix it to my truck on the other side, and then pull myself up while walking up the roof.”

“Okay. So what went wrong?”

“I tied a hammer on one end of the rope, swung it in a circle, and let it go over the roof.” I paused.

“And?” I sensed some impatience in her voice.

“I let the rope go a bit late, and the hammer went straight up in the air. Of course I did the smart thing and ran like hell. Unfortunately, I forgot to move my vehicle to the other side of the house. The hammer came down on my truck.”

“Yes, I see it here in Damage Block 1 on the Auto claim form. ‘Dented hood’,” she said. “But what about the other vehicle damage?”

“So I moved the pickup to the other side of the house and tried the hammer-and-rope thing again. This time I was successful, more or less.”

“What do you mean, ‘more or less’?” Her impatience was growing.

“The hammer flew over the roof just fine, except I heard a loud noise when it landed. The hammer landed on my truck. Again”

“That would be Damage Block 2 on the Auto claim, ‘smashed windshield’. Then what happened?”

“I was upset, as you might imagine, but I forged ahead. I began rappelling up the roof, and it went well at first.” I hesitated.

“Please, Mr. Thompson—Jack. Get on with it!”

“Okay, Angela—may I call you Angela? I’m getting there. As I neared the peak, the rope started slipping. At first I thought it was just tightening up some slack, but that’s not what it was.”

“So what was it?” She was becoming agitated.

“I was so upset over breaking the windshield, I must have forgotten to tie the rope to the truck. I kept pulling the rope toward me hand-over-hand, faster and faster, until the end sailed over the peak, right at my face. Unfortunately, the hammer was still tied to the rope.”

She sighed. “I’m guessing that relates to the dental claim. Procedure Block 1, ‘repair chipped tooth’. What happened next?”

“With the rope not tied down, I started falling. In my panic, I swung the hammer, trying to catch the claw in the roof. I punched the hammer into the roof all right, but it slipped out of my hand, and I fell anyway.”

“That would explain Damage Block 1 on the Homeowners claim form, ‘roof penetration’, and also Illness/Condition Block 1 on the Medical claim form, ‘sprained ankle’.” Angela was catching on, but there was an edge in her voice. “There seems to be a lot more here.”

“Well, there’s more on the roof story, but I’ll get to that. Eventually I got the antenna up,” I continued, “and connected it to the TV. It was one of those giant CRT types with the big picture tube.”

“What does that have to do with it?” She was getting exasperated.

“Remember I said there was a storm on the way? When lightening hit the antenna, the picture tube burst, starting a fire. I think I put that in Damage Block 2 on the Homeowners form. Fortunately the Fire Department arrived quickly.”

“But why is the Fire Department suing you?” Her voice was shrill.

“The Fire Chief said I should have warned him about the roof.  It must have weakened when I punctured it with the hammer—remember Block 1 on the Homeowners? One of the firemen got injured when he fell through. I think I put that on the liability claim, something to do with gross negligence. The Chief was mad about that, but he was really mad about the loss of his fire truck.”

“What? Where is that?” I could hear her madly shuffling papers. “How could you lose a fire truck? Which form is that on?” She sounded hysterical.

“I didn’t lose it, exactly. The TV was on the back wall. After the fire started, flames burned through the wall to the deck, and reached my gas grill. When the propane tank detonated, it kind of destroyed their new fire truck. It was pretty much a total loss. I wasn’t sure whether to put that on the Homeowners claim, or on the Auto claim.”

“Was there any more damage?” I thought I heard her sob.

“Nope, that’s about it. I hope that explains everything. Thanks for all your help, Angela, and please, give Beverly my best.” I said. “Oh, and have a Merry Christmas!”

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