Thinking is optional
By BROOKS TAYLOR
Mt. Pleasant News
It may not be Super Bowl Week, but it is Mt. Pleasant’s Super Bowl Week. Although the time and work devoted to covering the Midwest Old Threshers Reunion does not necessarily afford one an excuse not to get things done, I am going to use it anyway.
Time is short to write this column, Old Threshers is beckoning so I am turning to one of my favorite resources — “The Darwin Awards.” Have to be careful on how I phrase that because I know a Darwin and he may actually read this.
The Darwin Awards have appeared in this forum before. It is a collection of stories about dim-witted people doing stupid things. The items are collected by someone named Darwin, hence the award name.
Nominee No. 1 (San Jose Mercury News)
An unidentified man, using a shotgun like a club to break a former girlfriend’s windshield, accidentally shot himself to death when the gun discharged, blowing a hole in his stomach.
Nominee No. 2 (Kalamazoo Gazette)
James Burns, 34, (a mechanic) of Alamo, Mich., was killed in March as he was trying to repair what police describe as a “farm-type truck.” Burns got a friend to drive the truck on a highway while Burns hung underneath so that he could ascertain the source of a troubling noise. Burns’ clothes caught on something, however, and the other man found Burns “wrapped in the drive shaft.”
Nominee No. 3 (Hickory Daily Record)
Ken Charles Barger, 47, accidentally shot himself to death in December in Newton, N.C. Awakening to the sound of a ringing telephone beside his bed, he reached for the phone but grabbed instead a Smith & Wesson 38 Special, which discharged when he drew it to his ear.
Nominee No. 4 (UPI, Toronto)
Police said a lawyer demonstrating the safety of windows in a downtown Toronto skyscraper crashed through a pane with his shoulder and plunged 24 floors to his death.
A police spokesman said Garry Hoy, 39, fell into the courtyard of the Toronto Dominion Bank Tower early Friday evening as he was explaining the strength of the buildings windows to visiting law students. Hoy previously has conducted demonstrations of window strength according to police reports.
Peter Lawson, managing partner of the firm Holden Day Wilson, told the Toronto Sun newspaper that Hoy was “one of the best and brightest” members of the 200-man association.
Nominee No. 5 (The News of the Weird)
Michael Anderson Godwin had spent several years awaiting South Carolina’s electric chair on a murder conviction before having his sentence reduced to life in prison. While sitting on a metal toilet in his cell attempting to fix his small TV set, he bit into a wire and was electrocuted.
Nominee No. 6 (The Indianapolis Star)
A Dunkirk, Ind., man, using a cigarette lighter to check the barrel of a muzzleloader, was killed Monday night when the weapon discharged in his face, sheriff’s investigators said. Gregory David Pryor, 19, died in his parents’ rural Dunkirk home at about 11:30 p.m. Investigators said Pryor was cleaning a 54 caliber muzzle-loader that had not been firing properly. He was using the lighter to look into the barrel when the gunpowder ignited.
Nominee No. 7 (Reuters, Mississauga, Ont.)
A man cleaning a bird feeder on the balcony of his condominium apartment in this Toronto suburb slipped and fell 23 stories to his death. “Stefan Macko, 55, was standing on a wheelchair when the accident occurred,” said Inspector Darcy Honer of the Peel Regional Police. “It appears that the chair moved, and he went over the balcony,” Honer said.
The Winner (The Arkansas Gazzette)
Two local men were injured when their pickup truck left the road and struck a tree near Cotton Patch on State Highway 38. Woodruff County Deputy Dovey Snyder reported the accident shortly after midnight.
Thurston Poole, 33, of Des Arc, Ark., and Billy Ray Wallis, 38, of Little Rock, Ark., were returning to Des Arc after a frog-catching trip. On an overcast Sunday night, Poole’s pickup truck headlights malfunctioned.
The two men concluded that the headlight fuse on the older-model truck had burned out. As a replacement fuse was not available, Wallis noticed that the .22 caliber bullets from his pistol fit perfectly into the fuse box next to the steering-wheel column. Upon inserting the bullet the headlights again began to operate properly, and the two men proceeded on eastbound toward the White River Bridge.
After traveling approximately 20 miles, and just before crossing the river, the bullet apparently overheated, discharged and struck Poole in the groin. The vehicle swerved sharply right, exited the pavement, and struck a tree. Poole suffered only minor cuts and abrasions from the accident but will require extensive surgery to repair the damage to his groin.
Wallis sustained a broken clavicle and was treated and released.
“I’ve been a trooper for 10 years in this part of the world, but this is a first for me. I can’t believe that those two would admit how this accident happened,” said Snyder.
Upon being notified of the wreck, Lavinia Poole (Poole ‘s wife) asked how many frogs the boys had caught and did anyone get them from the truck?
Though Poole and Wallis did not die as a result of their misadventure as normally required by Darwin Award Official Rules, it can be argued that Poole did in fact effectively remove himself from the gene pool.