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December 31, 2003 - 5:37 p.m.

Tales of the Dangerously Stupid

Not All Who Err Is Larry!

I enjoy telling stories of the stupid things I’ve done in the past, but I’ve also met some pretty stupid people in my time as well. Here then are a couple of very brief anecdotes I like to call Tales of the Dangerously Stupid.

Pest Control, Out of Control

P. was a Pest Control Technician I worked with eons ago, during my year living in Florida. How he got to be the field supervisor was simple: he was the first technician the boss ever hired. He had no concept of “leading by example” or any clue how to manage either people or resources.

One morning I caught him stealing my full water bottles out of my truck and replacing them with his empty ones, he was too lazy to fill his own! Boy did he get an earful for that. He was prone to drinking on the job and driving while intoxicated while using the company truck. Any wonder he makes my dangerously stupid list?

The anecdote I had in mind is pretty short, both in length as well as brains. The main “material” we used to treat customers’ homes was silicon-encapsulated diazinon, which means that since the toxic poison is silicon coated, it’s toxicity rating for humans was very, very low. The silicon breaks down in the presence of wax, roaches, ants and other nasties have a waxy exterior, so when they come in contact with the material, bye-bye buggie!

Now, our boss was pretty proud of the fact that he used the safest effective chemicals available, but P. decided to drive the lesson home one morning. He was mixing up a batch of material when he went into the speech about how safe it was (something I’d already been taught), saying it was “as harmless as a glass of iced tea.

Here, I’ll prove it to you” he offered, and with that actually took a sip of insecticide!

Now, I’m sorry, but safe or not, it is dangerously stupid to intentionally drink insecticide!!!

What a Gasser, Man!

My second job ever was pumping gas at the local service station. Since I am in no way mechanically “ept” (can’t get enough of bad jokes like that), this was not a job I really lasted long at. Wow, it’s been long enough that I have no hope of remembering the name of the chief mechanic (I’ll call him Ludwig, for no good reason other than I know that wasn’t it), but here we have another foolhardy “safety anecdote”.

One day Ludwig was doing some work on a car’s gas tank, I guess, and had a huge barrel that he was siphoning gasoline into. Now, I didn’t ask him if it was safe to do that or not, my assumption in such cases when I was that young was that pretty much most people knew what the hell they were doing (hee hee, yeah right). However, he decided he wanted to impress me, and explained to me that it was safe to keep the gasoline in the barrel like that, because gas is not flammable in its liquid state, it’s the fumes that burn.

Hmmm, ok...

So to prove it, he threw a lighted match into the barrel of gas!!!

Yes, it went out, Like with P. above, there was no catastrophe tied to Ludwig’s stupid actions, except, damn, there are fumes emanating from the barrel you moron, one mistake and there would have been one hell of a fire, no?

So again, I’m sorry, but safe or not, it is dangerously stupid to intentially throw a lit march into a barrel of gasoline!!!

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