COLUMNIST: Membership in the ‘dumb and dumber’ club

Reading recently about an elderly chap who was severely injured, got me to thinking, and perhaps disturbingly with a smile, about the dumb things people do.

COLUMNIST: Membership in the 'dumb and dumber' club

by Mark Rushton

Reading recently about an elderly chap who was severely injured, got me to thinking, and perhaps disturbingly with a smile, about the dumb things people do.

It appears the old guy somehow managed to fall over, and landed directly on a set of garden shears, impaling himself in the orbit of his eye socket. Granted, a horrible accident, but surely no one could be silly enough to leave garden shears, or anything else, pointy end up.

I would assume that when he recovers, and I hope he does, that he recalls the motherly advice to kids: don’t run with scissors (or at least don’t lean them up against anything).

Bad as this gent’s experience was, it was overshadowed by reports of a woman who was intending to back the pickup truck down the driveway, while hubby was having a smoke on the sidewalk.

Seems mom got in the truck, put it in reverse and discovered that the park brake was still engaged.

According to the news story, because of her size (large, I’m assuming) she could not reach the brake release while seated in the truck. Therefore, she exited the vehicle, pulled the release catch, the truck rolled down the driveway, the driver’s door knocked her down, and the rig rolled over pop, doing him grievous harm.

I am not trying to trivialize what happened to these people, but it is the things we do without thinking that inevitably get us into trouble.

And just so you don’t think I’m above engaging in dumb acts, let me describe a couple of incidents at my own house.

Having an afternoon to kill, I decided to refurbish an antique tool, never used because its parts were sticky and sluggish.

Taking it apart was a bit of a project and, unlike most glasses wearers I take them off for close work. Finally the tool was in bits and pieces, carefully arranged in order of disassembly to avoid screaming rants during reconstruction.

Cleaning the parts required liberal doses of an aerosol degreaser, and considerable scrubbing. Finally, the largest piece required a good flushing with the caustic cleanser so I took it outside, and since my without-glasses vision is rather short, held it fairly close as I blasted away. In less than the blink of an eye, which I didn’t, the full flow of the degreaser bounced back. Instant blindness, excruciating pain!

I managed to make my way through the garage, up the stairs and into the kitchen to flush my eyes, hoping for no long-term damage.

Not 20 feet from where I accomplished this act of stupidity is a cabinet that contains at least four pairs of safety glasses, a face shield and numerous protective devices.

On the weekend, the purveyor of culinary delights at my home decided we (me) should barbecue a beer-butt chicken. For the uniformed, that requires stuffing an open and full beer can in the chicken’s bottom, then placing it in a vertical position on the grill.

All was well for the first few minutes, but since chickens have considerable fat, the drippings began to ignite with sufficient volume to require constant hosing down with a spray bottle. In the process, the chicken was taking on a premature blackened appearance. I had the revelation that placing the bird on a tray would capture the grease and eliminate both flames and soot. With an audience, and hand coverings, I gripped the chicken, raised it so the tray could be placed on the grill, and the beer can shot out of the bird’s backside faster than greased lightning.

As it chugged out boiling beer I demanded that those watching grab the can and right it. They both looked at me and, with bare hands waving, pointed out the stupidity of my insistence.

In the end, the chicken was fine but my place in the ranks of dumb and dumber saw a considerable rise.

markrushton@abbynews.com