Things can always get worse

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The Jerusalem Post (1988), Reuters and UPI (United Press International): TEL AVIV (Reuters) — An Israeli housewife’s fight with the cockroach that wouldn’t die landed her husband in hospital with burns on “sensitive parts,” a broken pelvis and broken ribs. The Jerusalem Post reported Thursday that the wife was frightened by the insect when she found it in their living room. She stepped on it, threw it in the toilet and the sprayed a full can of insecticide on it when it refused to die. Her husband came home from work, sat on the toilet and lit a cigarette. He threw the cigarette butt into the bowl, igniting the insecticide fumes. This “seriously burned his sensitive parts,” the Post wrote delicately. There was worse to come. When paramedics arrived, they quickly placed the afflicted man on a stretcher. But when told the cause of the accident, they laughed uncontrollably and as a result dropped the stretcher down the stairs. This led to the broken ribs and pelvis. The man is recovering.


It turns out that was a joke that the UPI/Reuters failed to fact check.

There are many variants of that story, the most common is:

So you think you're having a bad day. The following is taken from a Florida newspaper: A man was working on his motorcycle on his patio and his wife was in the house in the kitchen. The man was reving the engine on the motorcycle and somehow, the motorcycle slipped into gear. The man, still holding the handlebars, was dragged through a glass patio door and the motorcycle dumped onto the floor inside the house.

The wife, hearing the crash, ran into the dining room, and found her husband laying on the floor, cut and bleeding, the motorcycle laying next to him and the patio door shattered. The wife ran to the phone and summoned an ambulance.

Because they lived on a fairly large hill, the wife went down the several flights of long steps to the street to direct the paramedics to her husband. After the ambulance arrived and transported the husband to the hospital, the wife uprighted the motorcycle and pushed it outside. Seeing that gas had spilled on the floor, the wife obtained some papers towels, blotted up the gasoline, and threw the towels in the toilet.

The husband was treated at the hospital and was released to come home.

After arriving home, he looked at the shattered patio door and the damage done to his motorcycle. He became despondent, went into the bathroom, sat on the toilet and smoked a cigarette. After finishing the cigarette, he flipped it between his legs into the toilet bowl while still seated.

The wife, who was in the kitchen, heard a loud explosion and her husband screaming. She ran into the bathroom and found her husband laying on the floor. His trousers had been blown away and he was suffering burns on the buttocks, the back of his legs and his groin. The wife again ran to the phone and called for an ambulance.

The same ambulance crew was dispatched and the wife met them at the street. The paramedics loaded the husband on the stretcher and began carrying him to the street. While they were going down the stairs to the street accompanied by the wife, one of the paramedics asked the wife how the husband had burned himself. She told them and the paramedics started laughing so hard, one of them tipped the stretcher and dumped the husband out. He fell down the remaining steps and broke his arm.

These are urban legends, that go back to WWII, and likely before.

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