Friday humour - October 17, 1997

     From Tony at Bluehaze:

  As suggested by Mike Horne (and because this is Safety Week), here's two
Darwin Awards.  For those who haven't heard of these:

  "The Darwin Awards are given, usually posthumously to the individual(s)
who remove themselves from the gene pool in the most spectacular fashion.

  However, there is an exception to the requirement to die.  If said
individual does not die, however does render him/her self incapable of
producing any children - they may be eligible for the dubious honour of
receiving the award while still alive."

             Once again, Science triumphs over Budweiser

We have many transmission lines that criss-cross the state.  These are held
up by Transmission Towers of different construction.  Near most urban areas
these are normally "metal Ornamental Towers" (they are supposed to be
prettier than wood towers).

Sometimes we have folks who feel it would be nice to climb these towers and
enjoy the night air.  Most enjoy their view, stay away from the wires, and
when they get bored, come back down.

Well, this is a story of a fella who was a little despondent over a recent
fight with a girlfriend, and decided he needed a little fresh air to clear
his head.  "Let's climb a tower".  He proceeded to climb a tower south of
Hartford next to I-91.  Before he got to his tower, though, he decided to
stop for a 6 pack to help clear his thoughts.

Here our Darwin Award nominee sits 60 feet above the highway, drinking his
beer, consoling his bruised ego.  Our friend had 5 beers when he decided he
needed the services of a men's room.  It being of such a long hike down, he
unzips and decides to do his business right there off the tower.

Now electricity is a funny thing.  You don't need to touch a wire in order to
get shocked.  On these 115,000 volt lines, depending on the conditions, you
could be as far away as 6' and still get shocked.  Well, our friend proceeded
to "whiz" near the conductor (wire) and the power arced to his "stream"
(salt water is a most excellent conductor of electricity), followed up to his
private parts, and blew him off the tower.

The guys where I work had a momentary outage on this line and sent workmen to
see if there was any damage.  When they reached the scene of the accident,
they found a very dead person, his fly down, what was left of his private
parts still smoking, and a single beer left on top of the tower.

   Ex-port's have already seen this other one, but it's good enough to
   repeat.  (It claims to be the winner for 1997)


You'll recall a Darwin Award winner not long ago where a former airforce
sergeant decided to strap a cargo plane rocket booster to his car to see how
fast it would go and ended up killing himself (hence the "Darwin"
the struggle for survival only the fittest survive....) when his car didn't
negotiate a curve in on the road in northern New Mexico where he had set up
this experiment.  The car smashed into the side of a cliff several hundred
feet above the roadbed.

Here's the 1997 winner: Larry Waters of Los Angeles.  Larry is one of the
few to win the award and still be alive.

Larry's boyhood dream was to fly.  When he graduated from high school, he
joined the Air Force in hopes of becoming a pilot.  Unfortunately, poor
eyesight disqualified him.  When he was finally discharged, he had to
satisfy himself with watching jets fly over his backyard.

One day, Larry brightened up.  He decided to fly.  He went to the local
Army-Navy surplus store and purchased 45 weather balloons and several tanks
of helium.  The weather balloons, when fully inflated, measured more than
four feet across.  Back home, Larry securely strapped the balloons to his
sturdy lawn chair.  He anchored the chair to the bumper of his jeep and
inflated the balloons with the helium.  He climbed on for a test while it
was still only a few feet above the ground.

Satisfied that it would work, Larry packed several sandwiches and a six-pack
of miller lite, loaded his pellet gun - figuring he could pop a few balloons
when it was time to descend - and went back to the floating lawnchair where
he tied himself in along with his pellet gun and provisions.  Larry's plan
was to lazily float up to a height of about 30 feet above his back yard
after severing the anchor and in a few hours come back down.

Things didn't quite work out for Larry.  When he cut the cord anchoring the
lawn chair to his jeep, he didn't float lazily up to 30 or so feet.  Instead,
he streaked into the LA sky as if shot from a cannon.  He didn't level off
at 30 feet, nor did he level off at 100 feet.  After climbing and climbing,
he levelled off at 11,000 feet.  At that height he couldn't risk shooting
any of the balloons, lest he unbalance the load and really find himself in
trouble.  So he stayed there, drifting cold and frightened for more than 14
hours when he found himself in the primary approach corridor of LAX.

A Pan Am pilot first spotted Larry.  He radioed the tower and described
passing a guy in a lawn chair with a gun.  Radar confirmed the existence of
an object floating 11,000 feet above the airport.  LAX emergency procedures
swung into full alert and a helicopter was dispatched to investigate.

LAX is right on the ocean.  Night was falling and the offshore breeze began
to flow.  It carried Larry out to sea.  Right on Larry's heels was the
helicopter.  Several miles out, the helicopter caught up with Larry.  Once
the crew determined that Larry was not dangerous, they attempted to close in
for a rescue but the draft from the blades would push Larry away whenever
they neared.  Finally, the helicopter ascended to a position several hundred
feet above Larry and lowered a rescue line.  Larry snagged the line, with
which he was hauled back to shore, a difficult manoeuvre, flawlessly
executed by the helicopter crew.

As soon as Larry was hauled to earth, he was arrested by waiting members of
the LAPD for violating LAX airspace.  As he was led away in handcuffs, a
reporter dispatched to cover the daring rescue, asked him why he had done
it.  Larry stopped, turned and replied nonchalantly, "A man can't just sit

Here's a salute to Larry Walters, the 1997 Darwin Award Winner.
[ End Fri humour ]

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