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My Kind of Guy!

Apr 24, 1997 03:45 PM
by Thoalight

>> You all know about the Darwin Awards - It's an annual honor given to
>> the person who did the gene pool the biggest service by killing
>> themselves in the most extraordinarily stupid way
>> The 1995 winner was the fellow who was killed by a Coke machine which
>> toppled over on top of him as he was attempting to tip a free soda
>> out of it.
>> In 1996 the winner was an airforce sergeant who attached a JATO unit
>> to his car and crashed into a cliff several hundred feet above the
>> roadbed.
>> And now, the 1997 winner:  Larry Waters of Los Angeles-- one of the
>> few Darwin winners to survive his award winning accomplishment.
>> Larry's boyhood dream was to fly.  When he graduated from high school,
>> he joined the Air Force in hopes of becoming a pilot. Unfortunately,
>> poor eyesight disqualified him.  When he was finally discharged, he
>> had to satisfy himself with watching jets fly over his backyard.
>> One day, Larry, had a bright idea.  He decided to fly.  He went to the
>> local Army-Navy surplus store and purchased 45 weather balloons and
>> several tanks of helium.  The weather balloons, when fully inflated,
>> would measure more than four feet across.
>> Back home, Larry securely strapped the balloons to his sturdy lawn
>> chair.  He anchored the chair to the bumper of his jeep and inflated
>> the balloons with the helium. He climbed on for a test while it was
>> still only a few feet above the ground.
>> Satisfied it would work, Larry packed several sandwiches and a six-
>> pack of Miller Lite, loaded his pellet gun-- figuring he could pop a
>> few balloons when it was time to descend-- and went back to the
>> floating lawn chair.  He tied himself in along with his
>> pellet gun and provisions. Larry's plan was to lazily float up to a
>> height of about 30 feet above his back yard after severing the anchor
>> and in a few hours come back down.
>> Things didn't quite work out that way.
>> When he cut the cord anchoring the lawn chair to his jeep, he didn't
>> float lazily up to 30 or so feet. Instead  he streaked into the LA sky
>> as if shot from a cannon.
>> He didn't level of at 30 feet, nor did he level off at 100
>> feet.  After climbing and climbing, he levelled off at 11,000 feet. At
>> that height he couldn't risk shooting any of the balloons, lest he
>> unbalance the load and really find himself in trouble.  So he
>> stayed there, drifting, cold and frightened, for more than 14 hours.
>> Then he really got in trouble.
>> He found himself drifting into the the primary approach corridor of
>> Los Angeles International Airport.
>> A United pilot first spotted Larry.  He radioed the tower and
>> described passing a guy in a lawn chair with a gun.  Radar confirmed
>> the existence of an object floating 11,000 feet above the airport.
>> LAX emergency procedures swung into full alert  and a helicopter was
>> dispatched to investigate.
>> LAX is right on the ocean.  Night was falling and the offshore
>> breeze began to flow.  It carried Larry out to sea with the
>> helicopter in hot pursuit.
>> Several miles out, the helicopter caught up with Larry. Once the crew
>> determined that Larry was not dangerous, they attempted to close in for
>> a rescue but the draft from the blades would push Larry away whenever
>> they neared.
>> Finally, the helicopter ascended to a position several hundred feet
>> above Larry and lowered a rescue line. Larry snagged the line and was
>> hauled back to shore.  The difficult maneuver was flawlessly executed
>> by the helicopter crew.
>> As soon as Larry was hauled to earth, he was arrested by waiting
>> members of the LAPD for violating LAX airspace.
>> As he was led away in handcuffs, a reporter dispatched to cover the
>> daring rescue asked why he had done it.    Larrry stopped,
>> turned and replied nonchalantly, "A man can't  just sit around."
>> Lets hear it for Larry Walters, the 1997 Darwin Award Winner.

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