Heroic Failures

Will and Guy's Heroic Failures

Failure is not the only punishment for laziness; there is also the success of others.
Jules Renard

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Heroic Failure or Accident Prone?

This gentleman must rival all comers for the loser of the year award. Found in the Guardian in Jon Henley's 'Diary' column.

Alistair Fellows from Burton-on-Trent was struck by lightning last week and lived to tell the tale.

Amazingly, Mr Fellows had previously narrowly escaped electrocution after cutting through a power cable.

Other mishaps include the following: he has fractured his skull twice, been hit by a runaway lorry, and had a toothbrush surgically removed from his ear.  See more Lightning Strikes

Heroic Failure - On the Move?

A man who had just returned home from holiday had his luggage thrown away by dustmen. Phil Newbon from Spalding, Lincolnshire, left his luggage on the pavement as he returned home and when he glanced back he realised it was being crushed by grinders inside the back of their dustcart. His clothes, mobile phone, sat-nav, digital camera and gifts for family and friends were destroyed. Even his duty free was being crunched up.Lost Suitcase - Refuse Truck

Phil, who says the total value was £1,600, said, 'I couldn't believe my eyes. I only left my bags there while I chatted to a pal after getting a lift back from the airport. Then they were gone and everything was being smashed to pieces. I thought I was being set up for a TV stunt. The council told me people often leave suitcases out for collection and I'm sure that's true. But I doubt they have 25kg of luggage inside, tags still attached and a bag of hand luggage and duty-free next to them.'

Phil is now trying to get compensation from South Holland council, Lincs, England, but says he has been told he will not get a penny in compensation.


Old Enough?

A man walked into a little corner shop with a shotgun and demanded all of the cash from the cash drawer. After the shopkeeper had put the cash in a bag, the robber saw a bottle of Scotch that he wanted behind the counter on the shelf. He told the shopkeeper to put it in the bag as well, but the cashier refused and said, 'It's because I don't believe you are over 18. The robber said that he was, but the shop's owner still refused to give it to him because he didn't believe him.

At this point, the robber took his driving licence out of his wallet and handed it to the shopkeeper who looked it over and agreed that the man was in fact over 18 and he put the Scotch in the bag. The robber then ran from the store with his swag. The shopkeeper immediately called the police and gave the name and address of the robber that he had seen on the licence.

Police arrested the robber two hours later.

Biter Bit?

A man desperately wanted some beer. He decided that he'd just throw a concrete block through an off-licence window, seize some booze, and run. So he lifted the block and heaved it over his head at the window. The concrete block bounced back and hit the would-be thief on the head, knocking him unconscious.

It seems the off-licence window was made of Perspex [acrylic glass]. The whole event was caught on videotape and the man was nominated for 'Loser of the Week'.

Another Heroic Failureheroic failure

Early this year, two employees at an airfield near Prestwick, Scotland, apparently decided to steal a life raft from one of the planes. They were successful in getting it out of the plane and home. Some days later they took it for a sail on the river.  Presently they noticed a RAF rescue helicopter coming towards them.

It turned out that the chopper was homing in on the emergency locator beacon that activated when the raft was inflated.  They are no longer employed at the airfield.


Cool v Dumb

The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a man walked into a Burger King in Ypsilanti, Michigan at 12:50am., flashed a gun and demanded cash.  The clerk turned him down because he said he couldn't open the cash register without a food order.  When the man ordered onion rings, the cashier said they weren't available for breakfast.  The man, frustrated, walked away.  More a loser of the week than a heroic failure.

Henri Darque - Magician

In Paris, France, magician Henri Darque managed to extricate himself from a pad-locked box... after three weeks!  The illusionist had himself strapped inside a straitjacket and locked in the container, as a large audience looked on.  Darque was supposed to escape within five minutes, but he never emerged. He left strict orders with his assistant never to help him out of the box.  So three weeks later, he climbed out of the box... the bored audience had left after the first night.  Henri's ordeal was truly a heroic failure.

Mark Ashby - SchoolboyHeroic failure - mohican haircut banned from school

Mark Ashby was given a blue Mohican hairstyle by his parents as a reward for hard work at school in Omaha, Nebraska.  The school then suspended him for breaking the dress code.

Can Women be Heroic Failures?

An unidentified English woman, according to the Sunday Express was climbing into the bathtub one afternoon when she remembered she had left some crumpets in the oven.

Naked, she dashed downstairs and was removing the crumpets when she heard a noise at the door. Thinking it was the baker, and knowing he would come in and leave a loaf of bread on the kitchen table if she didn't answer his knock, the woman darted into the broom cupboard.Meter Man - Funny Story

A few moments later she heard the back door open and, to her eternal mortification, the sound of footsteps coming toward the cupboard. It was the man from the gas company, come to read the meter.

'Oh,' stammered the woman, 'I was expecting the baker.' The gas man blinked, excused himself and departed. 

Joan Slote - Cyclist

Joan Slote, aged 74, was fined £4,800 by the US Treasury for going on a cycle tour of Cuba, defying the US embargo of the island. She was also fined £80 for buying souvenirs.


Best of the Best Heroic Failures

A book entitled 'Heroic Failures' written by Stephen Pile. Pub. 1979. contains the best examples of the genre. Will has laughed regularly at the antics described in the book.   It is a book worth dipping into.

a) The worst homing-pigeon: This historic bird was released in Pembrokeshire in June 1953 and was expected to reach its base that evening. It was returned by post, dead, in a cardboard box eleven years later from Brazil.

b) The least successful exhibition: The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents held an exhibition at Harrogate, Yorkshire in 1968. The entire display fell down.

c) The least successful distribution of anti-virus software: A distinguished software development group of a Computer Studies Department of an Austrian University, known and recognized for their contributions to anti virus software, proudly announced its most recent product and distributed it to selected testers. Unfortunately the distribution disk was infected by a new type of an virus which could not be detected nor could it be removed by the previous release of that anti virus software. An awkward call back action was necessary.

d) Worst rugby match: In 1966 a rugby match between a team from Colwyn Bay, Wales and Portmadoc rugby club was unexpectedly abandoned when at the kick off it was discovered that neither team owned a ball.

Footnote: Guy knows this area of Wales well, its inhabitants are notorious for their tight-fistedness.  For example, 'Tal' Evans from Llandudno (nearish to Colwyn Bay), won the world's 'Tight Wad' championships 3 years running.

The Irish Fire Department

One dark night in Dublin, a fire started inside the local chemical plant and in a blink of an eye it exploded into massive flames. The alarm went out to all the fire departments for miles around. When the fire fighters appeared on the scene, the chemical company president rushed to the fireman in charge and said, "All our secret formulas are in the vault in the centre of the plant. They must be saved. I will give 50,000 pounds to the fire department that brings them out intact."

But the roaring flames held the fire-fighters off. Soon more fire departments had to be called in as the situation became desperate. As the firemen arrived, the president shouted out that the offer was now 100,000 pounds to the fire station who could bring out the company's secret files. But still the fire fighters could not get through. Fire Engine Tale

From the distance, a lone siren was heard as another fire truck came into sight. It was the nearby rural township volunteer fire brigade, composed mainly of over 65's. To everyone's amazement, that little run-down fire engine roared right past all the newer sleek engines that were parked outside the plant. Without even slowing down it drove straight into the middle of the inferno.

Outside, the other firemen watched as the old timers jumped off right in the middle of the fire and fought it back on all sides. It was a performance and effort never seen before. Within a short time, the old timers had extinguished the fire and had saved the secret formulas. The grateful chemical company president announced that for such a superhuman feat he was upping the reward to 200,000 pounds and walked over to personally thank each of the brave fire fighters.

The local TV station caught the thank you on film and asked their chief,"What are you going to do with all that money?" Well," said Paddy, the 70-year-old fire chief, "the first thing we're gonna do is fix the brakes on that bloody fire truck."


This story was kindly sent in by Ken Green, please write to Will and Guy if you have a candidate for a heroic failure

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