The Darwin Awards 

Darwin Awards
At-Risk Survivors
Slush Pile
2000 Personals
One Cool Dude
Excellent Adventure
Emergency Room Excitement
Man With Gas Can
Dead as a Doda
5 Soldiers 6 Police 0 Brains
My Friend John's Testis
Why I'm the Last of Nine Children
Eat the Young
Feces Pieces
A Clean Toilet
Why Kids Leave the Farm
Lawnmower Mechanics
It Gets Worse...
Cesium Initiative
Fill 'er Up!
Is it Loaded?
Final Flick of Bic
Compacted Ignorance
Extensible Aluminum Stave
Robot Reaper
Bug Repellent
Bicycle Blues
Brush with Stupidity
Prop Arc Safety
Surprise Flush
Pop Like a Grape
A Darwin Dog
Round Lake Short Cut
Man Versus Mower
Tourist Trap
Testing the Waters
The Egg Factory
Bye Bye Birdie
Brewery Mishap
Instant Sunrise
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


2000 Personal Accounts
The Darwin Awards salutes the spirit portrayed in the following personal accounts, submitted by loyal (and sometimes reluctant) readers. Next


Extensible Aluminum Stave  
2000 Personal Account

Anything you can do I can do better...

(July 2000) I worked as a surveyor's chainman, a job that includes the task of holding an extensible aluminum stave while a surveyor eyeballs it from a distance. During a job in the country, local chainmen spun me the following tale about a bloke who killed himself in a bizarre competition between chainmen.

The countryside is crossed by overhead power lines carrying thousands of volts of electricity. A group of chainmen, either bored or in possession of the moron gene, discovered they could get a buzz if they raised their extensible aluminum leveling staves to a spot just beneath the power lines. It became a matter of bravado to determine which chainman could stand the most zappo.

With much hilarity they proceeded to out-do one another while the surveyor was busy with his calculations. It was truly a test to see who among them was the least compatible with the rest of the gene pool. Finally one individual reached critical moron mass. He extended his stave to such a height that the electricity finally made the leap to earth, through his body, and thus the legend of the Charred Chainman was born. He had taken himself right out of the human gene pool with his extensible aluminum stave.

This story is classic Darwin material and probably true since it came from people warning me to be careful on the job. I hope it is of some use to those like me who are gaining wisdom from the stories on your website. © 1994 - 2020
Submitted by: Wayne

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

Rick says "I have problems with this story. First, every rod (the proper name for the stick) I have seen is made of wood to reduce thermal expansion. Aluminium expands like crazy with heat and could throw readings off.Second, there may be longer ones available, but I have never seen a rod longer than 12 feet. Power lines are much higher than 12 feet. This story sounds like one of those that was told over lunch on the job to see if you could impress the FNG."

Paul says " There is another problem with this story. Induction, getting current with no actual circuit, only occurs if the objects are oriented parallel to each other. A rod would have been held perpendicular and no current would have been passed."

Tim Larson says, "I worked with the survey crew of a highway department for several years. This clarification is for your readers' information. 'Range poles' or 'pickets' are used for determining or setting a straight line. They may have a metal core (I'm not sure), but I've never seen one more than 12' high (three 4' sections screwed together). 'Rods' are used for determining elevation, and are made of something that doesn't expand. New ones are telescoping fiberglass tubes up to 25' tall, older ones are wood and snap together with metal clasps." -June 2003

Previous Directions Next

Advanced Search

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