(Summer 1990, Canada) Although this story does not qualify for a Darwin, I'd like to share the most spectacular case of extreme stupidity I've ever seen. I was a soldier of the Lord Strathcona's Horse, an armored regiment stationed in Calgary. We were hosting elements of the British Army at Canada's main training center in Wainwright, Alberta.
We took some of our new British friends to town, to party at the Wainwright Hotel bar. Around 1:00 AM, we decided to save cab money and walk back to the base. This was a trek of about three miles, because one must detour around a large, fenced pasture to reach the front gate.
That pasture holds some of the last Plains bison in Canada, a herd of about 40 animals. Bison are not the friendliest ruminants on the planet. Safety signs are posted every ten feet along the fence, and warnings read, "Unless you can cross this pasture in nine seconds, do not attempt it. The bison can do it in ten."
We reached the pasture and started to walk around it, but one of our drunken Brit companions decided that the warnings were fake. "Real, live buffalo don't exist!" Despite our protests, he opted for a shortcut. He hopped over the five-foot fence and disappeared into the dark field.
We watched and waited.
Seconds later, a high-pitched and very un-British profanity was heard from the pasture, and our friend came tearing back towards the fence at a speed that would have done credit to Donovan Bailey, the fastest man in the world. A fully mature and quite unhappy Plains bison thundered behind him.
The only reason the young gunner survived was sheer, fear-induced acceleration. He vaulted the five-foot fence without breaking stride. His rear foot caught on the top rail, sending him spinning into the grass on the safe side, half a second before two thousand pounds of extremely unfriendly hamburger smashed into the fence at full steam.
The fence is constructed of extremely solid steel pipes, yet the two-foot dent made by the bison remains to this day. The animal staggered, snorted, shook his head, and rumbled off with a splitting headache. Our friend escaped with a broken ankle, moderate concussion, dislocated shoulder, and a great deal of bleeding from his uncontrolled landing.
Had he not cleared the fence, he would have been pile-driven to smithereens by the huge bull. Fear had drained the alcohol from our systems, but we were still laughing too hard to be too sympathetic as we gave him first aid and summoned help.
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Submitted by: David R. Organ
Reference: Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) Society