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2000 Personal Accounts
Email a Friend The Darwin Awards salutes the spirit portrayed in the following personal accounts, submitted by loyal (and sometimes reluctant) readers. Next
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Bug Repellent  
2000 Personal Account

(2000, Florida) I was in high school in 1972, and had only recently moved to Florida. One summer evening I took a drive across Alligator Alley, the highway traversing the Everglades in southern Florida. I saw so many snakes crossing the pavement that I decided to return the next night to collect some.

I figured the best way to do it would be to sit on the car hood while my friend drove slowly along. When I spied a snake, I'd pound on the hood to alert my pal, and hop off to grab it. Few supplies were needed for this mini-expedition: a pillow sack to hold the snakes and a flashlight to spot them. The mosquitoes would probably be thick again, so I'd bring plenty of repellent, too.

My family kept the bug spray in the dark storage area under the kitchen sink, along with many other common household products. In a hurry, I spied the familiar letters O-F-F, grabbed the aerosol canister, and zoomed down to the 'Glades. I couldn't wait to start the hunt. But since I was wearing shorts, I did pause long enough to holler to my friend to toss me the spray. I applied copious amounts to first one thigh, then the other. Then...

Yow!

Suddenly the foam of a thousand scrubbing bubbles was frying my skin. I thought I was on fire, but couldn't guess the reason as I ran to the nearby canal and jumped in, hoping a large 'gator wasn't parked there at the moment. The water eased the pain, and after some intense rubbing I finally limped back to the car.

My friend was laughing his ass off as he handed me the aerosol can I had dropped in my haste. He shone his flashlight on its label. That industrial strength bug repellent was so powerful, it would probably have driven off hungry alligators! It was Easy-OFF oven cleaner.

The skin on my thighs eventually sloughed off and healed. Despite this incident, hunting for snakes has been a lifelong passion.

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Submitted by: Bill Love of Alva, Florida

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