The Darwin Awards

2009 At-Risk Survivor

Next Prev Random At-Risk Survivors 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!

Cap-ping Cap-pow
2009 At-Risk Survivor
Unconfirmed by Darwin

Personal Account

(1967, Pennsylvania) I was 9 years old. Fireworks were illegal in our state, but you could buy rolls of caps. A "friend" showed me how to make a decent firecracker out of them. Take a straight pin and load the caps onto it by pushing the point through the center of each powder-loaded circle, folding the paper accordion-style. Fill the pin about half-full, then pull the caps off while keeping them as tight together as you can. Wrap the wad in a tissue, twist one end to make a wick, and light the wick for a nice little bang from your homemade firecracker.

Kids all know that bigger is better. I figured I would use a large pin to make a large firecracker. There was a hat pin in Mom's sewing box and I started loading that colossal pin with a roll of caps. There is no telling how long I worked on that firecracker. I probably had two inches of caps stacked up by the time I was ready to pull them off and wrap the wad in tissue.

I gave the wad a tug, but it wasn't sliding off the pin. I tried harder, still no luck. The head of the pin didn't give me much to hold on to, so I put the pin between my teeth and gave a big tug...

That stack of caps exploded with the sound of a shotgun shell. I was standing there with black powder all over my face when my folks and brothers ran into the room. Although my ears were ringing and my lips were tingling, I was required to explain what I had done. Once they stopped laughing, my folks checked to be sure all my parts were still intact.

Fortunately, they were.

Darwin says, "If you like this, see Caps'n'Hammer Kid."

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