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Darwin Awards
2007 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

Chivalry Rebuffed
2007 Personal Account

(May 2007, California) I was taught by my fraternity to believe in human service, and always lend a hand. Particularly to pretty young women! One afternoon, I was drinking beer on the front deck of the Berkeley frat house, enjoying the California sunshine, when I heard the unmistakable "thump thump, thump thump" of a flat tire. A Ford SUV pulled up to the curb, and two young women hopped out to inspect the damage.

I quickly jumped down from the deck and offered to lend a hand. Perhaps they needed a jack, or a spare set of hands? I was rebuffed. "Just because we're women doesn't mean we can't change a tire." So I sat back on the deck to watch the show.

The women retrieved tools and the spare from their vehicle and began to jack up the car. They didn't notice that the car was right against the curb. There was no room to remove the wheel or install the new one. I attempted to step in, but was brusquely rebuffed.

Eventually they realized their error, and rolled the car forward to the ramp in the curb. Here, again, they didn't take into account the angled edge of the curb, which allowed for drainage. Even fully extended, the jack wasn't tall enough to allow the installation of a fully inflated spare. Again, I offered my help. I suggested that they put the jack on a 4x4 block of wood I had handy, to offset the height.

But no! They wanted to change the tire themselves.

The young women found a cinder block, set the jack on it, jacked up the car, and removed the flat. Here's where the Darwin potential comes in. Until now, I had not paid attention to where on the underbody they had positioned the jack. I made the mistake of assuming they knew a jack couldn't go just anywhere. I was proven wrong.

With the jack fully extended and the flat removed, one woman began to put the spare on the studs. If you own an SUV, you know these spares aren't lightweight. The woman sat on the curb with her legs extended underneath the SUV, and wheel hub positioned directly in front of her. Only then did I realize that they had placed the jack on the only "flat" spot of the underbody--the floorboard of the passenger seat!

Before I could yell "Get out of there!" the jack tore through the floorboard and dropped the front of the SUV directly on the woman's legs. The hub fell just shy of crushing her unmentionables. To my knowledge, she suffered two broken femurs (impressive, given that they're the strongest bones in the human body) but no damage to the procreative parts. Still, she came as close to an At-Risk Survivor as I believe a woman can.

Reader Comments:
"Anything he can do she can do better."
"Now she can't wear the pants."

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