The Darwin Awards 

Darwin Awards
At-Risk Survivors
Slush Pile
1999 Personals
Bridge Bowling
Packing the Wardrobe
Disco Dork
Gangster Blues
Tide-ally Impaired
Bridge Bonzai
Jump Rope Blues
Industrious Brain Dead Private
Train Dodge!
Betrayal of Trussed
Quarry Story
Unkindest Cut of All
Flak Vest Test
Coke, the Real Thing
What a Gas!
Cleaning the Head
Diving Lessons
Polar Bear Lesson
North Pacific Deckpecker
The Iceman Exiteth
Withdrawing Money
Car Surfing
Fun with Forklifts
Cement Punching Bag
Jet Ski Jock
Wives With Chloroform
Leap of Faith
Helium and Oxygen Don't Mix
Elemental Mistake
Newton's Laws of Motion
Accident Waiting to Happen
Breaking the Law
Other Personal Years 
2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 Vintage
~ Random Story ~
Email Alert!
NEW! Gift Shop
Rules  Search
Contact Darwin
Submit a Story
Philosophy Forum


1999 Personal Accounts
The Darwin Awards salutes the spirit portrayed in the following personal accounts, submitted by loyal (and sometimes deceased) readers. Next


North Pacific Deckpecker 
1999 Personal Account

Most sailors tales are legends, wearing truths disguise; just deep sea blue embroidery, and some are downright lies. But I'll tell you a true sea story, just the way it happened to me, on a windswept gun deck not far from the open sea.

In November of Ninety, I found myself posted to H.M.C.S. Huron, just in time for work-ups prior to going to the Arabian Gulf. Following an interesting two weeks of the usual fires, floods, and famines, we returned to our homeport of Esquimalt where a not-so-young subbie with an attitude joined us. Mister Scarecrow (obviously not the name his mother had given him, but apt) was a typical "I know it all" product of Ventures' Naval Officer Training Program. Predictably, within twenty-four hours of joining the ship, he had succeeded in offending ninety percent of the lower deck and the wardroom was not far behind.

One day, he paid a memorable visit to the foc'sle as Smitty and I were carrying out routine maintenance on Tulio, our five inch main armament. Wandering about, he complained about the state of the non-skid deck topping, scarred with rings exposing the metal below. Listening to his tirade must have caused us both to momentarily throw discretion to the winds. His next comment set us off. "Whatever could cause these unsightly rings?"

Smitty and I explained to him that it was the work of the North Pacific Deckpecker. The Deckpecker is a very large, dark grey bird with nocturnal habits. It flies about the sea, searching for ships to land on at night. This particular bird feeds on the parasites which burrow into the ship's paint; the parasites in turn live on the cordite residues which accumulate about the gun decks. The rings on a warships decks are caused by the birds pecking about their feet before moving to another position. Because of the bird's unique habits and dark colour, it is very rarely seen.

As we described the Deckpecker, he became more fascinated at each revelation. Eventually, Smitty even demonstrated the bird's call, a raucous sound which drew more crew members about to listen as we contributed further details and corrected each other over minor points.

When our impromptu lecture had come to a close, he looked about at our rapt audience and said, "You know, I read about that somewhere."

Within the hour, everyone from the lowest, greenest Ordinary Seaman to the Captain knew the story. Of course, you know that the real cause of the deck rings is the expended casings from the gun striking the deck. But the North Pacific Deckpecker lives on in sailor's mythology. © 1994 - 2020

Submitted by: William P. Sparling, Sr.

Awful? 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Great?
Hate it! Love it!
Previous Directions Next

Advanced Search

HomeRulesFAQsAwardsSlushSite Map
DarwinAward | HonorableMention | PersonalAccount | UrbanLegend © 1994 - 2022