As you know this blog is dedicated to human stupidity of the lethal variety. There are just so many creatively stupid ways that individual members of the human race have used to terminate their membership in this absurd fraternity. I have been busy recently, not dead. I try very hard to avoid stupidity of any variety, let alone the lethal kind. However, life intrudes and you end up making some sacrifices. That said, this may be a new habit or it may be a one shot return to the writer’s seat. We’ll see how it goes. So, as the title suggests, I am still alive, unlike the people in this post.
Now, David Grundman is our subject for scrutiny. David decided to participate in the highly dubious, potentially lethal, and ecologically damaging practice of cactus plugging. Cactus plugging is the practice of shooting at a cactus until it falls over. If you aren’t from a desert climate and your only experience of cacti is from the movies, let me just say that they are better left alone. Cacti are tough skinned, durable, and the spines are not just for show. Cacti are also remarkably heavy. I know that they don’t look it, but a full grown saguaro cactus can weigh between 3200 – 4800 pounds. Cacti are definitely not to be fooled around with. David first destroyed a rather small specimen and emboldened by his success at cactus termination, proceeded to shoot bits off of his next victim, a 26ft tall saguaro that was probably around 100 years old. We have talked before about the dangers of guns. Guns are great fun, but there are safety issues to address every time you pick up a gun. In this case, David forgot to check that he was at a sufficient distance from his target to avoid its inevitable reprisal. In a demonstration of nature’s vindictiveness a 4ft long cactus limb fell from the plant and crushed its would be murderer. That’s right a 4ft limb fell on and crushed him to death. Cacti are as I said deceptive in the weight department, and apparently vindictive as well, not that David’s own hubris and ignorance weren’t contributing factors. Just remember that Mother Nature isn’t the kindly old lady everyone always pictures.
The next death is a historical death of unverified veracity. Li Po is an influential Chinese poet from the 8th century. I say influential, because of his 1000+ poems that he wrote many are still extant and studied, I’m sure, by grade schoolers and scholars the world over, but mainly in China. You would think that a man that is intelligent enough to create poetry this lasting would be smart enough to avoid lethal stupidity. However, he is a poet and therefore of an artistic temperament, which explains his next actions. Evidently he tried to hug the moon’s reflection on water. Yes, you read that correctly. I am not trying to dissemble or deceive. He was out boating and was so taken by the beauty of the moon’s reflection on the water that he attempted to hug it. The consequence being that he fell in the water and drowned. Now, what kind of person goes boating, apparently alone, and apparently lacking the ability to swim? If only his education had also included basic swimming techniques, or if he had the common sense to stay out of boats, or taken a buddy. He could have written 2000+ poems. I hope that this suggests something to you. Don’t write poetry.
We’ll explore one more tale of lethal stupidity – that of Hans Steininger. Hans had a massive beard, touted as the longest beard in the world, at least at the time. It was four and a half feet long. Apparently, Hans had to roll the thing up just to get around. Also, if you really want to see this thing, someone cut it off him and it now resides in a museum in Austria. Hans gets double points for being both stupid and morbid. I realize that the morbidity is on someone else, but it all ties back to Hans. Anyway, the year was 1567 and a fire started in Austria. I would like to report that Hans beard caught light, but we know that the beard is in a museum. It could have been that the beard caught light and in an attempt to put it out he caused his own demise, but that isn’t it. No, it is more mundane, but still stupid. Hans panicked and in his panic he trod on his own beard, fell, and broke his neck. Kind of depressing isn’t it.
What have we learned from this week’s safety report?
- Use a lifejacket
- Use the buddy system
- Don’t mess with Mother Nature
- Don’t mess with cacti
- For Heaven’s sake trim your beard
So, until the next post – Keep calm and don’t be Lethally Stupid.