Charles Darwin with a purple swarm around his head, contemplating the twist of fate that natural selection sidestepped these still-living honorable mentions.

2009 Honorable Mention

Next Prev Random Honorable Mentions have misadventures that stop short of the ultimate sacrifice. Nevertheless we salute the spirit of their colossal blunders with an Honorable Mention. Better luck next time!

The Great Fruitcake Incident
2009 Honorable Mention
Unconfirmed by Darwin

A holiday-themed personal account, offering one more reason to be leery of a fruitcake.

(2005) Reading My Father, the PhD reminded me of my own father, and in particular, one little incident that came to be known in the family as "The Great Fruitcake Incident."

I love cooking. Every year I bake a few fruitcakes for family and neighbors. I mix in various alcohols, so people actually EAT my fruitcakes. Now, I've been known to experiment with various types of alcohol. In 2005 I was suffering from a shortage of Jack Daniels whiskey, so I searched the kitchen and settled on a bottle of tequila. After mixing a measure of the Mexican liquor into the batter, I poured it and slid the pan home.

Alcohol burns, so when you bake a fruitcake you use a low temperature. Set the oven no higher than 250 degrees so your cakes don't catch on fire--never a good thing, and besides, it's hard to explain why the top of the cake is charred.

As I slid the pan in, my father came into the room. He also loved cooking, and he was darn good at it. Poking around, he started making suggestions. I remember seeing him look at my oven, look back at me, and laugh, "You'll never get it done like THAT." He reached over and turned the heat up to 350...

Remembering my previous flambe, I sighed and reached toward the stove. I started to say, "Dad, you have to cook it that low, alcohol..." But all I had uttered was, "Dad..." when my hand touched the knob. There was this loud WHOMP! The oven door blew open and a sheet of blue flame shot straight up out of it, burning ALL the hair off my arm--which never grew back!

I stood there dazed, the smell of fruitcake and burnt hair filling the air, my dad with a look of utter shock on his face... Before heading to the ER, which he was nice enough to take me to to, I managed to finish my sentence. "Alcohol burns."

And YOU try explaining to the ER that your fruitcake exploded...


- - -

Nancy Parker frets, "This doesn't really fill the bill, since the independent actions of two people who didn't communicate fast enough were not, taken separately, stupid acts on the part of either."

Wendy nods, "You are right. People love to submit their stories. I've especially enjoyed the current 'my father' meme, and it was even a holiday story so I went ahead and included it. But you are right, NO self-selection is operating in The Great Fruitcake Incident, and therefore it is not appropriate for Charles Darwin scribbles on a great green chalkboard. . In the future, after the submitter and his family have had some time to enjoy their notoriety, I will remove it." © 1994 - 2020
Reference: Chad Peters, Personal Account

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