How far back do the roots of Chuck's "Armed and Clumsy" category extend? The Wikipedia entry on handguns says: "The first handheld firearms that might better be called "pistols" were made as early as the 15th century..." Could we find a report of some soldier of the era accidentally wounding himself? It's a challenge!
It's like the Fourth of July version of "Grandma got run over by a reindeer."
A 63-year-old grandmother has filed a claim against the city, seeking compensation for injuries she received when a descending skydiver landed on her at a city-sponsored July Fourth celebration...
Lilienthal said the sky diver kicked her in the head, tangled her in parachute lines and dragged her across a field as her family watched, horrified.
I came across a 1927 case of a cliche come to life — a thief fleeing on foot who was caught because he accidentally slipped on a banana peel, which sent him sprawling.
New Cambria Leader - Nov 11, 1927
I figured that Chuck must have documented cases of people who have slipped on banana peels, and sure enough he has.
• 2011 — Ida Valentine, who filed a lawsuit against a California 99 Cents Only store after slipping on a banana peel and suffering a herniated disk. (posted here on WU)
• 2007 — Joyce Walker, awarded $4,110 for injuring her knee in a hospital restroom after slipping on a banana peel. (newsoftheweird.com)
• 2001 — Dorothy M. Ellis Williams, who sued a Quiktrip gas station after she slipped on a banana peel on the pavement outside their store and injured her back and knee. (google groups)
MythBusters has investigated whether you can really slip on a banana peel, and they concluded that although it's not as easy to do as the cliche might suggest, it's definitely possible. Older skins are more slippery. They also note that the cliche originated in the early 20th century after bananas first became a popular fruit, which led to numerous old skins littering sidewalks, and therefore numerous accidents.
Also, back in March 2016 it briefly became a fad among teenagers to take videos of themselves slipping on banana peels and then post the videos online. It was called the "banana peel challenge" #bananapeelchallenge. (Daily Mail)
January 1994: A school bus driver in Port Washington, Wisconsin insisted he was only joking when he shouted out "Should I hit the dog?" seconds before he hit a dog on the road. The animal belonged to two of the children on the bus. It often came up to the road to meet them. The driver, who later resigned, blamed the accident on icy conditions.
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Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.
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