June 8, 2013

The Right Fool for the Right Job

"No problem. I've done this thousands of times...."

Every time I think that mankind really is "the crown of creation," something like this comes along to confirm we're just God's experiment with "the smart monkey" to see if He can generate better monologue material for "The Late Late Eternity Show with Jehovah:"

A man has been severely injured after attempting to loosen a stiff wheel-nut on his car by blasting it with a shotgun. The 66-year-old American shot the wheel from arm's length with a 12-gauge shotgun and was peppered with ricocheting buckshot and debris. According to a sheriff's office report, he was taken to Tacoma General Hospital with severe but not life threatening injuries. His legs, feet and abdomen were worst affected, but some injuries went as high as his chin.

The man had been repairing a Lincoln Continental for about two weeks at his home near Southworth in Washington state, about ten miles from Seattle. He had successfully removed all but one wheel-nut on the right rear wheel and resorted to firepower out of sheer frustration on Saturday afternoon. -- Man hurt after blasting wheel with shotgun - Telegraph

How I would have loved to have been listening in on that thought process:

"One damn nut to go.... just one.....

Just fit this lug wrench over the nut, and t...w....i....s...t, and....."


"ARRRRGH! SHIT! KNUCKLE FUC.... BUT... BUT... no problem....

....just get this big Visegrip and lock it down.... there....

Now just whack the sucker with this small sledge hammer and....."



Deep measured breathing and slowly rising rage rumblings ensue as the afflicted limps and hobbles about the shop.

"That's it. THAT'S IT! You sombitch nut!

You're COMING OFF BABY! OFF! Time for the BIG GUNS!....

Guns? Yes, that's it. I'll just BLOW THIS MOTHER OFF!

"Get that shotgun out of the cabinet. That's it.

Load both chambers. Saves time.

Won't be effing around this time. Got to get in close.

Get that barrel right on the steel nut which is on the steel wheel which is on the steel axle which is on the steel car.... and....

stand at an angle so that there won't be any chance of ricochet and just s..q..e..e..z..e off a round and...."


And then a silence over which we hear a slowly rising siren and the a small voice-over saying, "I wonder if they've got Monster Garage on the hospital's cable system...."

Posted by Vanderleun at June 8, 2013 7:47 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

You know Gerard, this makes me miss Seattle even more than that dreary picture from yesterday.

Although I shouldn't get too smug about things where I am right now I suppose.

Posted by: Morgan K Freeberg at November 13, 2007 4:04 PM

I read about this earlier and I still cannot figure out what the hell that Gomer was thinking.

You use the shogun to fix a sticky truck lid, not a flat tire. What are they teaching kids in auto shop class these days?

Posted by: Mumblix Grumph at November 13, 2007 10:46 PM

Kudos to the nimrod for getting his entry into this year's Darwin Award nominees under the deadline. He'll probably prove an also in the contest owing to his continued survival, but he's definitely worthy of the nomination.

Posted by: physics geek at November 14, 2007 7:14 AM

And in America, you see nothing wrong with that sort of idiot owning a gun. 'Nuff said.

Posted by: Fletcher Christian at November 19, 2007 2:00 AM

Why does the song, "Bubba Shot the Jukebox" come to mind when reading this?

Insult to the injury will likely be a reckless discharge of a gun violation.

Posted by: Joan of Argghh! at November 17, 2009 3:48 AM

No, Fletcher. Not 'nuff' said. He hurt himself - not innocent bystanders or American citizens going about their business.

He wasn't targeting an innocent soldier at Fort Hood - who if allowed to carry a firearm could have prevented mayhem.

I want my countrymen and women armed to the teeth despite the fact that they may occasionally use their guns foolishly.

When evil raises its head - I want the well-armed citizenry around me to have the capacity to blow it off.

Posted by: Cathy at November 17, 2009 4:47 AM



Your take on this is hilarious!

Makes me wince when I think about the times I've used the wrong tools to jimmy things. Good thing I didn't have my guns back then.

Posted by: Cathy at November 17, 2009 5:02 AM

OK, I admit it. When changing a tire some time ago, I stomped the tire iron to loosen a tight lug nut, the nut popped loose, and the tire iron did that Zip! Spin! Hit you in the Shin! thing...I was SORELY TEMPTED to get the gun out of sheer surprise and pissedoffedness. But it passed. I'm saving the shotgun for the guy who decided my car should have a damn "donut" space-saver spare.

Posted by: Mike Anderson at November 17, 2009 5:48 AM

There are 2 classes of problems:

1. Things that have come apart, that need to be put back together.

2. Things that have gotten stuck together, that need to be taken apart.

Duct tape is the correct universal solution for class 1 problems.

For class 2 problems, the correct universal solution is WD-40.

Posted by: Fat Man at November 17, 2009 6:40 AM

"Most of my scars are not fire-related and I no longer say "I know what I am doing" at critical moments."

"Men hate to admit error even as they stand there, black and smoldering, with the stub of a cigarette in one hand, in the middle of a wide crater containing them and the remains of a sign that once read: "DANGER: VOLATILE EXPLOSIVES""


Posted by: Fat Man at November 17, 2009 6:42 AM

Yeah Fletcher, your comment pretty much sums up the difference between Americans and other Westerners. We have British friends locally who are completely supportive of the notion of state-licensed television sets and the government sending out sniffer trucks to residences to make sure there aren't any illegally operated TVs. They're appreciative of this Orwellian arrangement because state-TV eliminates the need for commercials (my solution is not to watch - but, whatever).

Compared to this, America really is the Wild West. If Bubba wants to shoot up the wheel of his pickup, we're not opposed. We even enjoy this sort of thing as we all learn something (mental note.../licks pencil before writing, "Do..not..use..shotgun..on..stuck..nut.") while being entertained and amused. There's something to suffering the consequences of freedom. My FIL let my husband have a block of wood and a drill at the tender age of 4. When my MIL worried that he would drill into his hand, my FIL's response was, "He'll only do it once." Same for Bubba.

Posted by: Western Chauvinist at November 17, 2009 7:42 AM

Fletcher - And with the same freedom, we allow YOU to have a keyboard and an internet connection. But whatever planet you are from, I am sure they are soon to correct THAT mistake.

Posted by: Robohobo at November 17, 2009 8:44 AM

The funny thing, Gerard, is that we're capable of both extremes, being the crown of creation as well as being the ulgy* bald monkey (not necessarily the smart one).

*LOLspell intentional.

Posted by: Rich Fader at November 17, 2009 8:50 AM

Reminds me of the time I stuck a lollipop, stick first, down the barrel of my rifle and squeezed the trigger just to see what it would do. My theory at the time was that it would propel said lollipop downrange at high speed.

Instead I learned that sugar does indeed become a [super-sticky] vapor...And yes, rum and laughing friends with overly long memories were involved.

I'm lucky I didn't burst my barrel. Since then I've learned a whole lot on the nature of hot gas expansion within confined spaces. Alas, there are whole generations of hoplophobic youths that will never learn that lesson.

Posted by: monkeyfan at November 17, 2009 9:03 AM

P.S. Don't drink and shoot. Use the rum to clean off the sugar.

Posted by: monkeyfan at November 17, 2009 9:11 AM

"For class 2 problems, the correct universal solution is WD-40".

Exactly. A shotgun is the wrong tool completely for removing a lug nut. Unless you plan to use the butt of the stock to beat on the tire iron after you've sprayed the lug nut with the WD-40. Just keep that sucker pointed up and downrange.

Hey, Fletch, we may all get a laugh out of Bubba's little self-inflicted stupidity, but I bet his house never has a burglary problem. Even if he had anything worth stealing, most burglars have no interest in looking into the muzzle of a loaded 12-gauge. Especially if the guy on the other end is known to have a lax attitude towards firearms safety.

Posted by: waltj at November 17, 2009 9:13 AM

I need closure. Did the lugnut get loosened?

Posted by: Milwaukee Mike at November 17, 2009 10:35 AM
I need closure. Did the lugnut get loosened?

Posted by Milwaukee Mike at November 17, 2009 10:35 AM

The lugnut got hospitalized.

Sunk New Dawn
Galveston, TX

Posted by: Jim at November 17, 2009 11:48 AM

Good job he didn't have, say, a .500 nitro express handy...

Posted by: Cheezburgrrr at November 17, 2009 2:59 PM

I was at Ft. Lewis for 3 years. This suprises me none. Tacoma used to make me laugh and laugh for the things I saw there.

Posted by: Eric Blair at November 17, 2009 3:07 PM

Wonderful description of a idiot's descent into sheer lunacy. And an absence of guns is no guarantee of rationality. I live in nearly gun-free Canada, and I remember a few years ago seeing the following headline in our newspaper: "Man sets self ablaze using chainsaw to open gas tank". Where there's a will, there's a way.

Posted by: Dr. Mabuse at November 17, 2009 7:26 PM

This qualifies as a "near miss" @:


Posted by: JD at November 17, 2009 9:47 PM

An example:

"Two bankrobbers die during attempted bank robbery.

This morning, two bankrobbers died when they attempted to rob a cash dispenser at a bank in Dinant. The two had attempted to crack the dispenser using dynamite. Apparently they overestimated the quantity of dynamite needed: when it was set off, the charge demolished the building the bank was housed in.

The police was warned about the incident around 3.20h; when they arrived at the scene, they found one of the bankrobbers, severely injured. He was rushed to hospital but died shortly after arrival due to massive head injury.

Initially investigators assumed his accomplice had managed to get away; it was only some 12 hours after the explosion occured they finally found the second bankrobber's body underneath the debris.

A BMW was found close to the bank.

Only 15 days ago an attempted break-in occured at the same agency.

Nobody else was in the building, in which only the bank was housed, at the time of the attack. Due to the severe damage caused by the blast, it will have to be demolished.

Sources: De Standaard Online: Twee overvallers komen om bij opblazen bankautomaat - http://www.standaard.be/Artikel/Detail.aspx?artikelId=DMF20090926_014 Le Soir.be: Hold-up à la dynamite à Dinant, les 2 malfrats décédés - http://www.lesoir.be/sports/directlive/article_729523.shtml"

Posted by: JD at November 17, 2009 9:50 PM

Watch the video at the standaard.be link. All I understood was "boom, boom", but that say's a lot.

Hey Fletch, why don't you 'peons make sure you don't let idiots near any dangerous explosives? 'Nuff written. Oh, and you can have our half white socialist "dear leader" also.

Posted by: JD at November 17, 2009 10:18 PM

The idiots near dangerous explosives were, before 9/11, supplied with said explosives by American idiots, and after 9/11 they weren't idiots - just evil, and a different set of people altogether.

As to the Dear Leader; well, in that election you had the choice between two tickets; one comprising a geriatric zealot and an anti-choice theocrat, and the other comprising an empty suit and a crooked lawyer. That's the fault of your political system, not mine.

In any case, we can do without your socialist dear leader. We have a half-blind incompetent Stalinist, who was never elected by anyone and who replaced someone elected for his smile, of our own. (The half-blind bit not his fault, or course.) Soon to be replaced by a Hooray Henry upper-class twit, probably. And that's the fault of our political system of course - specifically the total failure of our educational system to do its job (or at least the job it should be doing).

Neither of our countries have had a decent leader since the days of Reagan and Thatcher. And that is the fault of our respective electorates. A democratic country gets the government it deserves.

Posted by: Fletcher Christian at November 18, 2009 2:26 AM

"Man sets self ablaze using chainsaw to open gas tank".

There's no such thing as foolproof, because fools are too ingenious. Firearms, explosives, flammable liquids, knives, motor vehicles, power tools, sports equipment, you name it. People have killed and maimed themselves with it. And others. So before you take that chainsaw to the gas tank, or aim the shotgun at the lug nut, take a moment to reflect, "why do I think this is a good idea?" I've saved myself from doing many stupid things by just taking a minute or so to consider exactly what it was I was about to do.

Posted by: waltj at November 18, 2009 4:45 AM



Posted by: pdwalker at November 18, 2009 6:07 AM

Oh yes you can make things foolproof. All you need is enough oversight, direction, supervision, and control from your government. Just ask the Brits.

There are no gun deaths in Britain, because there are no guns at all in existence. Right, Fletch?

And I've read that certain sharp knives have been banned. And that one simply mustn't use a knive to defend one's home against an intruder, or one might just well be charged with a hate crime against the intruder. Better for the general peace and welfare of all, if you just stand there and watch the burglar take your things. If he does happen to assault you whilst (I'm using a Brit word there) relieving you of your valuables...well then, we'll be sure to prosecute the chap for it, so no worries. Right Fletch?

I've read that John Bull is now even considering banning the use of glass for beer glasses (and bottles?) Plastic is less dangerous, don't you know, should there be a spot of, well, let's say, unpleasantness, in a Pub.

I'll wager a quid or two, (or is that a Euro - can't recall now if you completely surrended yet or not) that chain saws of the type described in this thread are unavailable to the average Brit - without first obtaining a special license from the local town Council licensing board.

Ah the utopian joys of soft totalitarianism. Soon to be coming our way too, mates.

Posted by: southernjames at November 18, 2009 6:14 AM

"Oh yes you can make things foolproof. All you need is enough oversight, direction, supervision, and control from your government. Just ask the Brits..."

Nah, the fools just have to work a little harder, that's all. No matter how many rules, regulations, permits, licenses, etc. that you institute, if somebody really wants to hurt himself, or someone else, he will.

Posted by: waltj at November 18, 2009 5:18 PM

And yes, southernjames, I do recognize the sarcasm for what it is:-).

Posted by: waltj at November 18, 2009 5:21 PM

southernjames - I wonder what the comparative statistics are of gun deaths in the USA and the UK? Or rather I don't.

All the stuff about restrictions on knives and the use of plastic glasses in pubs - well, not allowing proper self-defense and banning the sale of knives to under-18s and the use of glass in pubs are actually two different subjects, though connected.

The ban on glass in pubs, if enacted, will be a necessary response to the escalating levels of violence in the UK; which is a combination of social breakdown (huge numbers of kids in single-parent households, for example) and completely inadequate penalties for violent crime. Both of which I believe are problems in the USA as well.

That problem, in the UK, won't be solved until (at the very least) everyone knows that if you shove a broken glass into someone's face in a pub you will spend several years eating terrible food, wearing conspicuous and uncomfortable clothes and breaking rocks - or if the glassing is lethal you will have a much shorter sentence, followed by a long drop and a sudden stop.

Ain't gonna happen.

Posted by: Fletcher Christian at November 19, 2009 7:24 AM

Fletcher Christian:
You are 100% correct in your assessment.
A big helping of raisin pie to you, sir.

Posted by: Cheezburgrrr at November 19, 2009 4:00 PM

"I wonder what the comparative statistics are of gun deaths in the USA and the UK? Or rather I don't."

You may not wonder, but I'll go ahead and enlighten you anyway. Total gun deaths are approximately 11.66 per 100,000 people in the U.S. as of 2004 (all statistics cited here are per 100,000 people). Of these, 3.72 are homicides, 7.35 are suicides, and .59 are accidental. In England/Wales, the same stats are .38 total, .15 homicide, .2 suicide, and .03 accidental as of 2002. Scotland's are .58, .19, .33, and .02, respectively, as of 1994 (I have no idea why Scotland doesn't have more recent stats). Much lower overall, as Fletch suggested they would be.

But here's where it gets interesting. A closer look at the statistics shows that large urban areas have homicide rates (from all causes) so high that they can't help but skew the overall numbers. For example, Atlanta has a murder and nonnegligent manslaughter (I'm using the FBI's categories here) rate of 26, Oakland has 30, Washington DC has 31, Newark has 37, St. Louis has 40, and Baltimore and Detroit (my old home town) have whopping rates of 45 and 46, respectively. Those are on-par with world 5th and 6th-ranked El Salvador and Guatemala, with rates of 48 and 47. Although the killing instrument isn't identified in the FBI's table, it's a safe bet that many, probably a majority, were shooting deaths. And it's also safe to assume that many of these are also gang-bangers, drug traffickers, and other assorted career criminals killing each other. So not every victim is an "innocent" one.

Before concluding that American cities are cesspools of murder and violence, it's important to note that other large cities do not add significantly to the total. Arlington, Texas has a rate of 3, below the national average, while Austin's rate is just over at 4. These cities are too small, you might say? Well, Honolulu, with over 900,000 people, has a rate of 2, while the biggest of all, the Big Apple, with over 8 million people and famous for being the setting for many cop shows, has a rate of only 6.

Do gun control laws make a difference? Well, NYC has tight gun control laws, but the already-cited Washington DC has laws at least as strict as NYC's anti-gun laws, and a homicide rate of 31. El Paso, a city of similar size to Washington (somewhat bigger, in fact), where it's easy to get a concealed carry permit, has a rate of 3. Boston, with very tight gun laws, has a rate of 11, while San Diego, with much looser gun laws, has a rate of 5. Go figure.

Back to the U.K. for a minute. The U.K.'s overall murder rate (2002 stats) is 2.02, about one-third of the U.S. rate of 5.8. But the U.K.'s gun homicide rate is only .15. This means Brits, 1.87 per 100,000 to be exact, are getting murdered by beer bottles, knives, cricket bats, and what-have-you. Where there's a will, there's a sharpened or blunt instrument to make it possible. In a country of 60 million, that comes out to 1122 non-gun homicide victims.

There are the stats. All things considered, I'd rather have the option to be legally armed than not, and live in a place where the level of violent death is low. The statistical record shows that these often go together, at least in the U.S.

Posted by: waltj at November 20, 2009 6:19 AM


How funny that thought process is from this side of time.

I do recognize it, of course. Just about exactly the progression that sent the entire porcelain throne sailing out the bathroom door, past my startled family, and into the wall, following it's rude refuseal to seat on the wax ring... had I a 12 Guage... I'm quite sure that would have been just the thing....


From a distance.

Posted by: Van at November 22, 2009 2:53 PM

Fletcher Christian said "I wonder what the comparative statistics are of gun deaths in the USA and the UK? Or rather I don't."

I've seen lions raised in the zoo, fed, fat and soaking up the sun. No doubt they too feel all is well. They probably wouldn't have understood the horror and fury of a wild lion, faced with being added to their climate controlled and maintained paradise.

Nice to hear you don't feel any pain. Nonetheless, such pontifications from your place in the sun, we view from a perspective you can no longer imagine; from across the moat and the semi-free side of the railing… and your contented safety is repulsive to U.S.

No offense.

Posted by: Van at November 22, 2009 3:22 PM

Fletcher Christian said " The ban on glass in pubs, if enacted, will be a necessary response to the escalating levels of violence in the UK; which is a combination of social breakdown (huge numbers of kids in single-parent households, for example) and completely inadequate penalties for violent crime. Both of which I believe are problems in the USA as well."

Hmmm… yeah… probably no connection whatsoever between your growing nanny state and your peoples need of nannies.

Wonder what disintegrations will follow from the ban on glass in pubs… perhaps a requirement to wear diapers under your clothes to combat an escalating number of people rebelling against the authoritarian need to use designated restrooms.

I wonder what Captain Bligh would have said.

Posted by: Van at November 22, 2009 3:29 PM

Why use buckshot if you can get a hand grenade?

Posted by: Grumpy Old Man at August 26, 2010 6:06 PM

There is a variant of Moore's Law operating in the arena of fools. Just when you think your shit is foolproof, they double the capacity of the fool.


Posted by: Mark Alger at August 26, 2010 8:44 PM

"Every time I think that mankind really is "the crown of creation,..." don't give up on humanity. Walking never came before crawling in the history of mankind.

I just read about mankind yesterday in a NM newspaper of 2 veterans (65 yr old Vietnam vet & Gulf War I) who are walking across America in support of our U.S. Constitution.

True grit that an old man would actually start in S.Diego & go all the way to D.C. in protest of our govt & the destruction of our freedoms.


Cool! I support them, but they do need assistance so all of us need to help the 2 veterans as they once again defend our freedoms.

@Jim, true fools have to work harder, but at least they are working to improve themselves (at least most of them.

Posted by: OhioRiver at June 9, 2013 6:28 AM

I remember when you first published this, and reading it again STILL brings tears to my eyes! A few years ago there was a guy up here in Ottawa who tried to open a metal can of gasoline with a chainsaw, with similar results.

Posted by: Dr. Mabuse at June 9, 2013 6:40 AM

This is lots cheaper than a shotgun or a visit to the doctor. I got an electric impact wrench years ago just for lug nuts.

Posted by: Ray at June 10, 2013 2:09 PM