If you think you're having a bad day, think of these SODS:
- A fierce gust of wind blew 45-year-old Vittorio Luise's car into a river near Naples, Italy in 1983. He managed to break out a window, climb out, and swim to shore -- where a tree blew over and killed him.
- Mike Stewart, 31, of Dallas was filming a public service movie in 1983 on "The Dangers of Low-Level Bridges" when the truck he was standing on passed under a low-level bridge -- killing him.
- Walter Hallas, a 26-year-old store clerk in Leeds, England was so afraid of dentists that in 1979 he asked a fellow worker to try to cure his toothache by punching him in the jaw. The punch caused Hallas to fall down, hitting his head, and he died of a fractured skull.
- George Schwartz, owner of a factory in Providence, R.I. narrowly escaped death when a 1983 blast flattened his factory except for one wall. After treatment for minor injuries, he returned to the scene to search for his files. The remaining wall then collapsed on him, killing him instantly.
- Depressed since he couldn't find a job, 42-year-old Romolo Ribolla sat in his kitchen near Pisa, Italy with a gun in his hand, threatening to kill himself in 1981. His wife pleaded for him not to do it, and after about an hour, he burst into tears and threw the gun to the floor. It went off and killed his wife.
- In 1983, a Mrs. Carson of Lake Kushaqua, N.Y. was laid out in her coffin, presumed dead of heart disease. As mourners watched, she suddenly sat up. Her daughter dropped dead of fright.
- A man hit by a car in New Yory City in 1977 got up uninjured, but laid back down in front of the car when a bystander told him to pretend he was hurt so he could collect insurance money. The car then rolled forward and crushed him to death.
- Surprised while burgling a house in Antwerp, Belgium, a thief fled out the back door, clambered over a nine-foot wall, dropped down, and found himself in the city prison.
- In 1976, a 22-year-old Irishman, Bob Finnegan, was crossing the busy Falls Road in Belfast, when he was struck by a taxi and flung over its roof. The taxi drove away and, as Finnegan lay stunned in the road, another car ran into him, rolling him into the gutter. It too drove on. As a knot of gawkers gathered to examine the magnetic Irishman, a delivery van plowed through the crowd, leaving in its wake 3 injured bystanders, and an even more battered Bob Finnegan. When a fourth vehicle came along, the crowd wisely scattered and only one person was hit -- Bob Finnegan. In the space of two minutes, Finnegan suffered a fractured skull, broken pelvis, broken leg, and other assorted injuries. Hospital officials said he would recover.
- While motorcycling through the Hungarian countryside, Cristo Falatti came up to a railway border crossing, just as the crossing gates were coming down. While he sat idling, he was joined by a farmer with a goat, which the farmer tethered to the crossing gate. A few moments later a horse and cart drew up behind Falatti, followed in short order by a man in a sports car. When the train roared through the crossing, the horse startled and bit Falatti on the arm. Not a man to be trifled with, Falatti responded by punching the horse in the head. In consequence, the horse's owner jumped down from his cart and began scuffling with the motorcyclist. The horse, which was not up to this sort of excitement, backed away briskly, smashing the cart into the sports car. At this, the sports-car driver leaped out of his car and joined the fray. The farmer came forward to try to pacify the three flailing men. As he did so, the crossing gate rose and his goat was strangled. At last report, the insurance companies were still trying to sort out the claims.
- Two German motorists had an all-too-literal head-on collision in heavy fog near the small town of Guetersloh. Each was guiding his car at a snail's pace from opposite directions but both near the middle of the road. At the moment of impact, their heads were both out of the windows where they smacked together. Both men were hospitalized with severe head injuries. Their cars weren't scratched.
- In a case of "one thing leading to another", seven men, aged 18-27 years, received jail sentences of 3-4 years each in Kingston-On-Thames, England in 1979, after a fight that started when one of the men threw a French fry at another while they stood waiting for a train.
- Hitting on the novel idea that he could end his wife's incessant nagging by giving her a good scare, Hungarian Jake Fen built an elaborate harness to make it look as if he had hanged himself. When his wife came home and saw him, she fainted. Hearing a disturbance, a neighbor came over and, finding what she thought were two corpses, seized the opportunity to loot the place. As she was leaving the room, her arms laden, the outraged and suspended Mr. Fen kicked her stoutly in the backside. This so surprised the lady that she dropped dead of a heart attack. Happily, Mr. Fen was acquitted of manslaughter, and he and his wife were reconciled.
- A few years ago in California there was a raging brush fire. Once the fire was extinguished, the firefighters began the process of clean-up. In the middle of where the fire had been burning, they found a dead man wearing a scuba tank and wet suit. At first the firefighters were baffled as to why a man would be out in the middle of the countryside wearing full scuba gear. Upon further examination, it was determined that the man died from the impact with the ground and not the fire. As best anyone can determine, this man was scuba diving off the coast of California and was accidentally picked up by one of the fire fighting aircraft when it was refilling its water tanks offshore.