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I took a week off from work and spent it visiting relatives and friends, but now am happy to be back on the job again.
And because happy people enjoy giving to others, I’m giving you the following gifts of stupid people in the news:
• A young man from South China decided to surprise his girlfriend by mailing himself to her, according to The Sun, a United Kingdom newspaper. Except, the express parcel got lost and he was locked in a thick cardboard box that had been sealed with packing tape for more than three hours. She opened the box to find an unconscious guy and had to call paramedics to revive him because the boyfriend hadn’t poked any holes in the box. Now, air holes are basic for fireflies in a jar or a mouse in a cigar box, so he must be some kind of dumb not to do it for a human being.
Honey, let this be a tip-off: He’s not a “keeper.”
• Speaking of asking for it, a 49-year-old from San Diego decided he really needed those photos of a grizzly bear in Denali National Forest in Alaska last week, so he got within 50 yards of one and stood there for quite a few minutes before the bear killed and ate him, according to the Daily Mail. The park has a rule that hikers must stay at least a quarter of a mile from a bear, but some people have to be shown not told. The bear was later killed by rangers, who have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to eating tourists, even if they asked for it.
Rachel D’Oro wrote a very thorough piece about it for the Associated Press, but my favorite detail was the description of the photos from the guy’s camera. Most of the shots are of a large male bear munching on grass, then the final frame shows the bear looking directly into the camera. A kind of “aha” moment for both of them, I’ll bet.
• There have been hurricanes in the Atlantic and a typhoon off the coast of China, and the news showed tons of photos of people doing stupid stuff like surfing, swimming and parking next to the beaches as these massive storms were approaching. I have to admit I laughed at the shots of the cars being picked up like toys and tossed around in the big surf.
This reminds me of the time a crew of rookie reporters (almost all of whom were Ivy-League educated) at my former newspaper got sent to Galveston to cover a big hurricane blowing in off the Gulf. In order to get a good view, they booked themselves in one of those big glass hotels right on the water, then called their editor to report their great luck in getting a front-row seat.
I was back in Austin talking to our editor when they called, so I got to hear only one side of the conversation. The editor, a down-to-earth guy named Jim Phillips, who remains a legend in this business, told them to leave that hotel and find a short, cinderblock motel with no windows facing the ocean.
He then hung up, looked at me with complete calm, and said: “They’re all gonna die.”
They didn’t, of course, but it wouldn’t have surprised anyone.
Janet Jacobs is City Editor of the Daily Sun. Her column appears on Saturdays. She may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Want to “Soundoff” to this column? E-mail: email@example.com