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February 2015 #2: Ever Wonder Why “Stunt” and “Stupid” Start with the Same Three Letters?


1. Welcome to the latest edition of the Summary of Mishaps. After years of creating this message, I’ve developed a finely tuned sense about what constitutes Funnies fodder. I’m like one of those bloodhounds that prison guards send through the swamp to catch the escaped member of the chain gang. All I need is the slightest hint (for example, the word “coconut”) and I’m off on the hunt, rooting around for salient details. If I see the verb “assumed” in a mishap report, I’m confident. If a Sailor or a Marine wanders out onto a balcony, I’m golden. Ditto when a novice motorcycle owner decides to teach himself how to ride.

Sometimes the source material is just plain obvious from the git-go. Anybody could identify the Funnies-worthy item. Such as in the following case (quoting from the mishap report) of a PFC who “received a helmet-mounted video camera as a birthday gift and decided to have a friend (civilian) videotape him doing stunts on the freeway.” This sort of thing makes my job all too easy.

A. The Marine and his buddy motored over to an interstate near Los Angeles. The Marine started doing wheelies, and the friend started videotaping. Then an SUV driver got in the act (also videotaping the Marine, not doing wheelies). The Marine wanted to call it a day, the report said, but “the civilian encouraged him to stay on the freeway and continue stunting for the SUV's camera,” proving for the umpteenth time that two heads are worse than one.

B. What did the helmet-mounted camera have to do with this scenario? Was the Marine wearing it and filming the stunts from another angle? Was the civilian wearing a helmet with the camera on it and pointing his melon at the marine rider, in which case he would have looked like almost as much of an idiot as the Marine? How were they communicating? Were they close enough to yell at each other?

C. All these questions became moot when the Marine got “overconfident,” lost control and got ejected. Appropriately, the motorcycle crashed into the SUV, which promptly left the scene, thereby missing some great footage of the Marine sliding down the freeway and the motorcycle flipping over and over en route to total destruction.

D. The Marine got up and hobbled off the highway to take stock. I’m willing to bet he didn’t raise his arms in triumph and yell to his buddy, “Did you get that?”

He hadn’t been wearing the mandated PPE, although he did have a helmet. He hadn’t taken the required motorcycle courses. He hadn’t told his chain of command that he’d bought a motorcycle. His driver license had been suspended. None of that surprises us, does it?

2. Do helmet-mounted cameras come with a manufacturer’s warning that these devices are not invitations to do something stupid? Inquiring minds want to know.

If you missed last week ("Whoops!"), here it is. Got a Funnies-worthy yarn or need to get something off your chest? We welcome your feedback: nrfk_safe_funnies@navy.mil. Read the author's blog, "Beyond the Friday Funnies." If you have a question about some of our odd terminology, become an insider by studying up on our Glossary. And if you have even more time on your hands, here's the exhibit list from the Summary of Mishaps Museum.  


Commander, Naval Safety Center, 375 A Street, Norfolk, VA 23511 | (757) 444-3520 (DSN 564) 
Media Contact Info: 757-444-3520 Ext: 7870 Media Feedback | Webmaster | PAO | Last Revision: February 13, 2015