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Live and learn or you won’t live long! Sweat never drowned no one. Thinking never hurt them either.

Live and learn or you won’t live long!

Sweat never drowned no one. Thinking never hurt them either.

Used together these characteristics could, perhaps, prevent the Idiot Sightings, or Darwin Awards, the fumbles and stumbles we, individuals and organizations, are all susceptible to. Apparently it’s a gold-plated guarantee, like mosquitoes in summer.

Natural laws have no pity. (Robert Heinlein)

Caution, natural selection at work!

We begin with a fumbling fiasco from Wendy Northcott’s newest Darwin book where she tells us about “a tree surgeon who decided to save time and throw the pruned branches directly into a fire he built near the base of the tree.

He was perched high in a fir, lopping branches and tossing them into the fire, when one of the branches became propped against the trunk. The tree caught fire, putting an end to any more time-saving innovations.” (15 June 2002, England. Confirmed. Reference BBC News.)

I.S.1 — Higher intelligence and skill is what we get when we pay big bucks, our government continually tells us. An interesting theory until you remember AT&T board of directors fired the president John Walter after nine months, saying he lacked intellectual leadership. His Dear John letter, from the board of directors, makes them candidates for a Darwin Award, or at least an Idiot Sighting. The letter included a severance package of $26 million.

I.S.2 — In the Second World War “the youngest US serviceman was 12-year-old Calvin Graham, US Navy. He was wounded in combat and given a dishonourable discharge for lying about his age hence lost his “benefits.” It took an act of Congress to restore his benefits. Up here, at the speed our Veterans Affairs move on such complex matters, he’d be a pensioner and still waiting.

I.S.3 — When Canada’s premium airline, Canadian Pacific, was alive and well, one of the local agents received a plumb posting to Honolulu.

On a visit home he told us of a California couple who wanted to cash in their return ticket — they were going to keep their rental car and drive home. “Freeway I-5 goes right past our house. We didn’t know it came to Hawaii.”

Fame is fleeting, but dumb is forever . . .

A possibly apocryphal Roman of about 210 B.C., Petronius Arbiter, gives us a why!

 “We trained very hard — but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams, we would be reorganized.

 “I was to learn in this life that we tend to meet any situation by reorganizing, and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralization.”

If Petronius is right, people have a built-in leaning toward bureaucracy and its inevitable result, killing enterprise and people. But when it comes to bureaucracy, I guess we shouldn’t expect improvement overnight, eh?

It’s only funny until someone gets hurt, then it’s hilarious. (Darwin Awards)

Meet Bluey . . .

Bluey was an Australian dog, the lifelong companion of a swagman. One day, walking along the road, a car knocked down the swagman. An ambulance took the injured swagman to the hospital. Bluey followed, but, of course, had to wait outside.

He didn’t know his friend had died, so he continued his vigil; a vigil which lasted for 12 years. Friends he made during his vigil fed and watered him while he waited for his master to return.

When Bluey died all those new friends contributed to a fund, and there’s a bed in a hospital in Australia with a plaque above it reading, “In memory of Bluey, a faithful friend.”

We learn from the mistakes of others, and the lessons of faithful friends!

Foolproof systems do not take into account the ingenuity of fools.

A tip of the hat to Don in Mayo, Steve in Seattle, Louise in Invermere, and everyone else who enjoys a good story, a snicker, a smile, and still finds wonderment in the planet, the place where we live, and aren’t we the lucky ones living where we do?

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