The Darwin Awards

2010 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!

The Mettle of the Kettle
2010 At-Risk Survivor
Unconfirmed by Darwin

Excerpt from a letter; first time on public view. Enjoy!

Sunday morning I went to the kitchen to make a cup of tea, put the kettle on, prepared the cups, and whilst waiting for the kettle to boil I thought I'd fill my lighter. Got the lighter fuel out, but it was a bit low and quite cold, and it didn't pour well. When this happens, I usually run hot tap water over the can to warm it, but as I already had hot water in the kettle, I decided to steam it for a minute or two.

You can see where this is going, can't you? Wish I had! But I had not yet had my tea, so...

I balanced the can on top of the kettle, leaving the kettle lid open. Then I got distracted and the next thing I heard was the sound of the kettle boiling furiously. I turned around just in time to see the fuel container disappear into the mouth of the kettle.


I thought, "Oh dear me!" (or words to that effect) and rushed over to switch off the kettle and s I pressed the switch the can let go with a mighty BANG!! The kettle was instantly transformed into bright yellow, sharp-edged, lethal plastic shrapnel.

A few moments after the explosion, I regained my senses sufficiently to realise I was suffering from a deep gash in my thumb, a couple of possibly broken ribs, and one little finger swollen up like a Newmarket sausage. The microwave had a bloody great dent in the side and the kitchen looked like Beirut.

All this time, Lynda had been sitting in the dining room watching the telly. "What the ?#@!ing hell was that?" says she.

"The kettle exploding." says I.

"How the ?#@! did that happen?"

"The gas can fell into it."

She: "How did the friggin' gas can get into the friggin' kettle?"

Me: "Erm, it was like this..."

Anyway, out she trots to survey the damage, and she says, "If it was the friggin' gas can that did it, where is the friggin' gas can? " At this point I hadn't realised that the gas can had left the scene of the crime, I looked left - not there. I looked right - not there either. I looked up.

"I think it went thataway!"

There was a neat 50mm hole punched straight through the suspended ceiling. I moved the ceiling panel and found a ragged 75mm hole in the artexed plasterboard above. With the aid of a torch, I could just see the scorched remains of the can jammed up in the joists, minus top and bottom but otherwise intact.

All the while, I had been bleeding copiously over the remains of the kitchen. I put a plaster on my thumb and had a look at my ribs, which were not broken but sported a kettle-lid-shaped bruise. When I realised that I wasn't seriously damaged & that the house was not in flames, I looked around and saw the funny side and p*ssed myself...! Lynda however was not amused. No sense of humour, some people.

I did think to grab the camera, so I have the proof!

[[Darwin says, ask Gareth if it's his story; the link was not accessible without a login/password.]]


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Reference: Personal account by Gareth Lewis

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