Bizarre accidents

All sorts of people have glamorous scars: Scarface, Action Man... Okay, so I canâ£â„¢t think of any more right now, but scars are not the point of this column - they just get us started, because I myself happen to have a rather enormous scar which, although it looks like a shark bite on my shin, was in fact caused by slipping when crossing a cattle grid (the one between Walmgate Stray and the army barracks, for your safety information).

Anyway, as you might expect I have suffered months of mocking from my dearest friends about this, but this week I am vindicated. In 2002, 328 people were injured by cattle grids - it would appear that I’m not alone in my stupidity.

This wonderful piece of information came from RoSPA, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, whose fantastic website lets you search through their injury statistics and find out such delights as these:

  • 738 British people were injured by beanbags in 2002
  • 123 suffered at the hands of pelmets (those bits of materials that go on the top of curtains)
  • 246 people fell foul of their airing cupboard

These seemingly innocent objects, though, are nowhere near as evil as those that occupy the next level. You might expect a skipping rope to be a little bit risky, but 2,399 people? That’s a lot of limping amateur boxers. Kids and inflatables do sound like a volatile combination but 9,738 people seems a little steep. You’d think a nice old fashioned toy like marbles would be hazard free but - oh no - 738 kids presumably got them stuck up their little noses.

My personal favourite, however, (apart from the aforementioned cattle grid) is that 2,276 people were injured by corned beef tins - as anyone who has ever had to fight with one to get to the contents will know all too well.

There is light at the end of the tunnel; perhaps we’re getting less stupid after all as tea cosy injuries peaked at 35 in 2000, but everyone in the country managed to keep their wits about them near the little fiends in 2002.

One step up from RoSPA though are the Darwin Awards who celebrate stupid people who kindly remove themselves from the gene pool: ‘The tree of life is self pruning’, apparently! A couple of classic examples:

  • The pair of friends who climbed into a helium balloon and died from suffocation owing to the lack of oxygen.
  • The committed rugby fan in Caerphilly who managed to remove himself from the gene pool without the need for actual death when he castrated himself. During an England-Wales game he’d said that if Wales won he’d cut off his own balls. They did, (for the first time in 12 years) and he went through with his promise.

After all this, I’m not even sure that this week’s column has a moral. People are stupid? Beware of the airing cupboard?