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2003 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 Prev Random

 
 
Human Paper Towel
2003 Personal Account

(April 2003) Our office has a paper towel dispenser in the kitchen. It holds a roll of blue paper towels without a cardboard tube in the center, and towels are pulled from a hole in the bottom of the dispenser. It is also refilled from the bottom. Press a catch and the base swings open, then a roll is shoved in, and the base is closed again. To prevent the roll from falling out before the base is closed, the dispenser is fitted with a "non-return device" -- a set of plastic flaps that hinge up but not down.

Bill was bored. Computer programming wasn't sufficient exercise for his vivid imagination. He wandered into the kitchen to make some tea, and as he waited for the kettle to boil, his eye fell upon the towel dispenser. The cleaners had failed to refill it and it was empty, with its base hanging open.

Terminally bored, Bill felt a sudden urge to see what it looked like from the inside.

To his delight, his head fitted into the dispenser fairly well. He was not a particularly tall man, and the unit was mounted high on the wall, so he stood high on his tiptoes for a better view... That was just the right height. The non-return device "non-returned" right under his chin!

How long can one stand on one's tiptoes? Not very long, according to Bill's colleagues, who were attracted by the thrashing, choking noises coming from the kitchen. They found Bill dangling by the throat from a paper towel dispenser!

Fortunately, they were able to release him without permanent damage. It was quite entertaining to watch. I do however wonder what an inquest would have made of the situation if he *had* strangled himself.

And I wish I'd had a camera.

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