Binks Is Here

Commentary on the World

There Ought to be a Law...

…requiring beautiful women to be present on every elevator trip after hours.

The New Yorker has an article that mentions this guy, but is mostly about elevators.

Here’s the punchline:

White never went back to work at the magazine. Caught up in media attention (which he shunned but thrilled to), prodded by friends, and perhaps provoked by overly solicitous overtures from McGraw-Hill, White fell under the sway of renown and grievance, and then that of the legal establishment. He got a lawyer, and came to believe that returning to work might signal a degree of mental fitness detrimental to litigation. Instead, he spent eight weeks in Anguilla. Eventually, Business Week had to let him go. The lawsuit he filed, for twenty-five million dollars, against the building’s management and the elevator-maintenance company, took four years. They settled for an amount that White is not allowed to disclose, but he will not contest that it was a low number, hardly six figures. He never learned why the elevator stopped; there was talk of a power dip, but nothing definite. Meanwhile, White no longer had his job, which he’d held for fifteen years, and lost all contact with his former colleagues. He lost his apartment, spent all his money, and searched, mostly in vain, for paying work. He is currently unemployed.

Looking back on the experience now, with a peculiarly melancholic kind of bewilderment, he recognizes that he walked onto an elevator one night, with his life in one kind of shape, and emerged from it with his life in another. Still, he now sees that it wasn’t so much the elevator that changed him as his reaction to it. He has come to terms with the trauma of the experience but not with his decision to pursue a lawsuit instead of returning to work. If anything, it prolonged the entrapment. He won’t blame the elevator.

You know, I think I wouldn’t respond too bad to 41 hours in the elevator (I’d probably demand the overtime though…). On the other hand, Mr. White wasn’t stuck in the elevator for 41 hours - he was stuck in the elevator for an unknown duration; having no idea when he would get out (in fact, he didn’t even have a watch to keep track of elapsed time). In such a situation, I’d probably go a bit loopy too.