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Darwin Awards
2009 Darwin Awards
Email a Friend Named in honor of Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, the Darwin Awards commemorate those who improve our gene pool by removing themselves from it. Next Prev Random

Tennessee Pee  
2009 Darwin Award Winner
Unconfirmed by Darwin

(mid-1980s, Tennessee) A mile down the road from Middle Tennessee State University, a couple of young, very drunk MTSU frat boys climbed a barbed wire fence that was intended to keep lesser mortals out of an electric substation. One frat boy climbed to the top of a transformer. That alone was an obviously bad idea, but it got worse when he urinated on the transformer on which he stood. As if electrocution via genitalia wasn't bad enough, consider his motivation to pee: a wasp nest "target" attached to the transformer. Needless to say, the wasps were the lesser of his worries. He did not live long.


Reader Comments:
Ben, Jesse, and numerous others cite the MythBusters episode 'debunking' the myth of peeing on the third rail.

We challenge MythBusters!

The large number of incident reports we have received over the years, as well as conversations with reporters and medics, incline us to believe that people do harm and kill themselves by urinating on electrified things, and their episode is misleading.

Typical Shocking Experiences:

Jim: "One fact I know; if you scoop up a coffee can of water from a stream next to an electric fence, then pour that water on the fence, you will feel a decent shock from the can. As kids, we dared each other. Now, the next logical dare was, who had the guts to pee on that fence? Nobody ever did, but I am very confident that urine would be as conductive as the water from that stream."

Donna: "We had been dog-sitting Herschel, an unruly Doberman. When Chris came to pick up Herschel, he hooked the metal chain collar to the metal chain leash (no handle, Herschel had eaten that) and headed outside. Herschel realized it was going to be a long ride home and cocked his leg to take a whiz--right on our electric fence! The electric charge ran up the urine stream, through the metal collar, across the metal leash, and into Chris. Herschel yelped, Chris swore, and both jumped back, breaking the contact! My husband and I had a good laugh about it once Chris and Herschel were gone. Without question, you can definitely get a charge out of peeing on an electric fence!"

Jamie: "During officer training, the pain of digging full-depth trenches in flinty soil was offset by the fun of sentry duty. During the night, the thick fog was regularly punctuated by small blue flashes as returning patrols blundered into an electric fence that a farmer had laid along our main fence. Even better was watching people nip out for a pee against a fence post. At some point the spray would hit the live wire, with the same flash and yelp every time. The individuals must have been too embarrassed to say anything, because it kept happening, and we certainly didn't choose to enlighten anybody! As far as I'm aware, nobody suffered any lasting damage, but I wasn't going to check. I'm sure my trench-mates will gladly corroborate the story--and some of the others, probably less happily!"

Now a Random Factoid from Wendy: "I usually type a story title into Google to get to that Darwin Awards page. But when I type, Tennessee Pee, what comes up first and foremost is... I kid you not... LOCAL BUSINESS RESULTS for pee in Tennessee! So I tried 'California pee' to see if other states also use 'pee' as a keyword. Nope! That ocmes up with 'Gender Neutral Bathrooms' and 'Wikipedia on Asparagus' and other relevant links. Only Tennessee features business results. Ha ha!"

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