This is the World's Best At-Risk Survivor. Let an amused daughter tell you about her sire.
This weekend was the final straw. Being an extremely cost-conscious
person, Dad decided that putting half a can of varnish in the toaster oven
to liquefy it was the cheapest approach. You guessed it--the stuff caught
fire! I found him in front of the flaming oven contemplating picking up the
can with his bare hands. Two-foot flames were shooting out of it, causing
me to utter a line spoken far too many times in our house: <I>"What in God's name were you thinking?"</I>
Father's attempts at Darwin Fame have included:
1) Tipping a small boat on Cayuga Lake while fishing, almost drowning my
brother and himself. At the time, I thought Mom was being too hard on him
when she said it was his own fault that he was in the hospital. I have
since revised my judgment.
2) Removing a branch from a locust tree by climbing a ladder with a running
chainsaw. The branch was not tied off properly, so it fell onto a shed roof
that he was trying to avoid.
3) Rolling a lawn tractor on top of himself by mowing a roadside ditch at a
steep angle, resulting in a broken rib--and poison ivy for me, because I
spent ten minutes thrashing around in the vegetation while we tried to roll
the tractor off Dad. Again.
4) Fourth but not last, lighting a fire in a basement trash burner that was
not connected to an exhaust pipe. The fire department loves us.
5) Wandering off to watch the evening news after starting some water to
boil in an aluminum dutch oven. Note that the Merck Index lists the
melting point of aluminum as 660 degrees C. When Mom discovered the
situation, the pot walls were glowing bright red, the bottom was melted
out, and the kitchen wall was smoking.
6) Testing the efficacy of old Nitroglycerin tablets by swallowing three at
once to see if they still worked. I did say he was cheap, er, cost
conscious. The EMS came to the rescue because his blood pressure had
dropped to an undesirable level and he was passed out at the kitchen
table. Mere minutes before, he was planning a drive to the donut
shop. Thank God he didn't make it to the car before his blood pressure
He may not yet have used up nine lives, but my father, the PhD, appears to
have a running start on Darwin infamy.
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Submitted by: Stephanie Schaaf