Ever listened to the boss drone on about something you care very little about and wished you were dead? Be careful what you wish for. Because the fact is, the grim reaper is always on the clock and never takes a day off. And he’s just waiting for you to make one silly mistake to let his sickle fly.
People die at work all the time. In fact, according to a study done back in 2013, 150 people die every day in the US, due to hazardous working conditions. Of course, some people just have dangerous jobs, like police officers. But then there are those deaths that occur at otherwise safe jobs for the stupidest reasons. That’s what this article is all about.
When a coworker dies, it is tragic and can be hard to deal with. However, if the coworker was doing something stupid it is hard not to smile and be thankful that it wasn’t us who kicked the bucket. Here are the 4 dumbest ways to die at work. Think of them the next time you’re lamenting that your workday is taking too darned long and be glad you’re allowed to finish your shift.
1. The Method Actor
Many actors throw themselves into their roles. Robert DeNiro gained weight for Raging Bull and then got skinny for Cape Fear. Christian Bale is also known for putting on massive amounts of weight and then losing it all – sometimes to the extreme – such as the time he dropped 63 pounds for his role in the Machinist. Renato Di Paolo was another method actor who took his roles a little too seriously, and it ended up costing him his life.
The year was 2000, and Di Paolo was portraying Judas in a play outside Rome the day before Easter. During the performance and with a packed house, Di Paolo gave his all and, in one particular scene, hoisted himself up and proceeded to hang himself.
The audience was riveted. Di Paolo did such an excellent job acting out the scene that many thought he’d hung himself for real. The thing is, he actually did. It was only during a scene change that the production staff noticed the tragedy.
You could say that Di Paolo’s performance was so good, it was to die for.
2. Window = 1, Lawyer = 0
Have you been so proud of something you couldn’t wait to show it off? That’s what Toronto lawyer Garry Hoy found himself doing back in 1993, only his ‘showing off’ didn’t quite go as planned.
38-year-old Hoy was a senior partner at Holden Day Law Firm. Hoy was extremely proud of his 24-floor office and even bragged about his unbreakable windows. Only he didn’t just point them out; he loved to freak people out by running into them and bouncing off them.
Hoy had done this trick many times before. He’d take a few steps back, run at full speed and pretend to dive through the window. He’d get a kick out of the screams that would result, and the subsequent – relieved - laughter that would soon follow.
One day, he planned to perform this trick in front of a group of interns. As he’d done previously, he pointed out his prized windows, ran and bound into one. This time, there was no relieved laughter.
Instead of breaking, the window popped completely out of the frame, and Hoy fell 300-feet to his death, undoubtedly cursing himself for his stupidity all the way down.
3. Suffocation By Cake
It’s common to find strippers at a bachelor party – often called stag parties overseas. And some strippers don’t want to resort to the same boring lap dances. Some like to perform tricks, like jumping out of a giant cake. Seems straight forward enough. Only this particular bachelor party trick didn’t quite turn out as planned.
The year was 1995 and exotic dancer Gina Lalapola, 23, found herself scheduled to strip at a stag party in Cosenza, Italy. Not to be outdone by the other dancers at the party, Lalapola wanted to do the aforementioned cake jumping trick. She climbed inside what was nothing more than a wooden box shaped like a giant cake and waited to be wheeled out before the guest of honor.
An hour later, the cake was wheeled out but nothing happened. Turns out, Lalapola or whoever designed the wooden cake forgot to put air holes so she could get some oxygen while inside. She ended up suffocating to death, putting an unfortunate end to the evening’s festivities.
4. A Court Reenactment to Top Them All
We’ve all seen movies where lawyers reenact events to drive points home for juries. Some of us may have even seen a lawyer do this first-hand. U.S. Congressman Clement Vallandigham planned to do just that back in 1871; only his point was driven home a little too well.
Vallandigham, aged 50, was defending murder suspect Thomas McGehan, who was accused of killing the victim, Tom Myers, during a barroom brawl at the Golden Lamb Inn. Vallandigham planned to prove that Myers had accidentally shot himself while drawing his pistol from his pocket as he rose from a kneeling position.
During a conference with fellow defense attorneys in his hotel room, Vallandigham showed them how he would demonstrate this scenario to the jury. He picked up the pistol – which he believed was unloaded – and put it in his pocket, planning to reenact the event just as he believed it to have happened.
It was only when he pulled the gun free that it snagged on his clothing. The bullet discharged into his belly, and he subsequently died.
This tragedy does have a happy ending, however. McGehan was acquitted and released from custody, proving that event reenactments do have merit. Unfortunately, Vallandigham never got to celebrate his victory.
The point to all of this is that you just never know when you’re going to go. The lesson is to at least work at a job you like. If you’re working at a job you absolutely hate, and you pass away – especially if the death is categorically dumb – that’s like pouring salt on a festering wound. So go out and get a job you like to do, be smart, and watch your back at every corner.
If you’re acting in a play, make sure you don’t hang yourself for real. If you are so successful that you have unbreakable windows, take the manufacturer’s word for it and don’t jump at them with all of your might. If you’re stripping and jumping out of a cake, for God’s sake put air holes in the contraption you plan to jump out of. And please, if you’re going to reenact a scene for a jury, make sure the weapon you’re using isn’t loaded.
With all of these lessons fresh in your mind, you should be able to make smarter decisions the next time you show up for work. Just watch your back, as you never know when the grim reaper may come looking for you. But as long as you take this advice and learn from these unfortunate cases, you should be able to make it through your next shift.
Do you know of any other stories we may have left out? Leave your thoughts and comments below...