Rub the Mint
2008 Reader Submission
Darwin says, "Accepted into the Archive."
FORMERLY TITLED: "PUMP THE GUTS"
This is a real story. I don't know of media coverage since it happened during communist times.
I was a high school student in December 1988 in communist Romania. At the time it was mandatory for kids of all grades and university students (as well as privates in the compulsory military service) to help the country's economy by compulsory active participation. So, at the beginning of school in September we were helping the country's agricultural process with the fruits, grapes and vegetable crops. As high school students we were forced also to take 3 weeks per year of "industrial training and practice", in fact "rub the mint" for 4-6 hours every day in a power plant or a factory, to get the feeling of the successful communist industry. I was in the 10-th grade (studying electricity and mechanics) and send along with my class colleagues to the renown aluminum factory (that's obtaining aluminum with the old electrolysis process, very power hungry) in my home town Slatina, Olt county. Days were passing and we were not of much help in the factory, obviously, but were left alone by the people in charge with our training and we got a better use of the time by reviewing the science classes taken weeks early. It seemed that not only the students were bored, but also some of the workers in the factory, that were actually paid for doing nothing. One day I was assigned to move some documents from one department to the other and on my way I saw two workers that were crafting a wooden coffin. Well, I was used to all kind of crazy sights allready, but a coffin in the yard of a factory was something intriguing. Was the factory providing funeral services? No, it turned out a person removed itself from the gene pool in an accident. The wood crafters told me the story like this:
Two guys in their twenties, recently hired, fiddled with the industrial pressurized air hose (6bar, used around the factory for pressurized air tools) and swept the dust off their clothes. It was so much fun that one of them proposed to check it further and dropped his pants to feel the air sweep his testicles. He went further and made a bet with his comrade that he has the guts to pressurize his guts literally, and maybe have fun with some farts later. He stuck the hose into his butt and released the air, 6 atmospheres of pressure. He has instantly inflated his colon and intestines to rupture and died within minutes from internal hemorrhage, before any help could have been provided to him. In fact he died before his comrade realized what happened and called for help. The hospital was less than 2km away down the street, but he would have died even if it had happened in the hospital yard. His comrade in science tests has been sent for 8 years to jail as accomplice in braking the internal regulations and work safety procedures, after admitting what they both have done. He admitted that he actually did not believe his comrade was so stupid to proceed and he thought was only kids play. The autopsy revealed the deceased had the colon and few meters of intestines ruptured.
As a side comment, in recent days, an auto service employee died while servicing a truck tire that exploded in his face with the whole 8barr pressure it was inflated at.
Submitted on 12/18/2008
personal account, 1988
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