The 5 Most Spectacularly Failed Attempts at Heroism

Deep down, we all want to be heroes. Not a single one of us hasn't imagined a scenario wherein some grave injustice is being committed and we burst through the door in a whirlwind of face-punching, baby-rescuing fury to set things right. However, some people want to be heroes a little too much and end up forcing their assistance into situations where it is neither wanted nor appreciated.

#5. A Man Mistakes a Porno for Sexual Assault, Comes to the Rescue

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James Van Iveren was minding his own business in the apartment he shares with his mother when he heard the telltale sounds of a woman being attacked coming from the floor above him. Luckily, every action movie from the early '90s had taught him precisely what to do in this situation -- Van Iveren grabbed his cavalry sword (evidently he used to be a soldier in the 19th century) and went blazing upstairs to kick in the door of his neighbor's apartment and rescue the distressed woman. After all, justice won't wait, fortune favors the bold, and he couldn't call the police because he didn't own a functioning telephone.

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Rescuing damsels in distress is more of a Mountie thing anyway.

So, he exploded through the locked door of Bret Stieghorst's apartment, brandishing an antique but still very stab-worthy sword, to discover that there was nobody there but Stieghorst. The man had simply been watching some thunderously loud pornography, and Van Iveren had mistaken the cries of a furious prerecorded orgasm for the desperate pleas of a woman in danger. The only thing being assaulted in Stieghorst's apartment was his penis.

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How much volume do you really need for porn?

However, Van Iveren was brimming with too much avenging gallantry to immediately accept his mistake. He stood his ground and refused to leave until Stieghorst showed him every room in the apartment to prove that it was indeed empty and then played the clip from the porno DVD that had triggered Van Iveren's spider sense in the first place to prove that it was in fact a porno he had heard.

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"Now step out of the room for, like, 10 minutes or I'm calling the police."

In many ways, we appreciate Van Iveren's brash decision (because what if someone really had been in trouble?), but imagine sitting in your apartment trying to blast one out to Sex Yodelers 14 when some crazy-eyed moon beast suddenly dropkicks the lock off of your door and comes barreling in waving a Civil War relic like the time-traveling morality police. You would never masturbate again. And quite frankly, that is not a world any of us are prepared to live in.

#4. A Superhero Maces a Bunch of Dancers

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In case you haven't already heard of him, meet Phoenix Jones, Guardian of Seattle, who invested heavily in the Batman Forever style of presculpted flex armor on his quest to rid northwestern America of villainy.

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Phoenix Jones is about as close to an actual superhero as we're ever going to get. He wears a costume, he fights crime, and he formed his own dime store Justice League called the Rain City Superhero Movement (also known as RCSM, which is only a few vowels away from "RACISM," which is Phoenix Jones' archnemesis). Basically, he runs around the streets of Seattle, doing his best to terrify the rape and mugging out of every outlaw he sees.

Phoenix was out on patrol one evening when he stumbled upon a group of people locked in a violent brawl. Summoning every ounce of his superhero training, Phoenix sprang into action, sprinting full-tilt toward the angry mob to unleash a stinging cloud of pepper spray like a cat dousing a new futon with a mist of spiteful urine. The unruly crowd was quickly pacified, nobody was seriously injured, and Phoenix had succeeded in protecting the citizens of Seattle from their worst enemy -- themselves.

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He could probably take his mask off and just sing Kid 'n Play songs to defuse any confrontation.

... is what we would have said had that group of people actually been locked in a brutal gangland fistfight. What they were really doing was dancing. As in engaging in the rhythmic expression of emotion via bodily movement accompanied by music. And Phoenix Jones Maced the shit out of them.

See, it was a group of friends walking to their car on their way home from a nightclub, being loud and dancing around and causing a bit of a scene -- you know, things people do when they're enjoying each other's company. Phoenix saw the playful commotion and mistook it for a street gang powder keg on the verge of brass-knuckled, jawbone-powdering detonation, so he came speeding over on the falcon wings of justice to blind every single one of them before any serious harm was done.

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Stand back -- this could turn violent at any second.

Phoenix was arrested and unmasked on live television, which as we all know is a crippling blow for a superhero. In addition, he was fired from his day job as a life skills instructor for autistic children and received an official letter from the Department of Social Services banning him from ever working with children again. Yeah, that's ... a little different from how it plays out in the movies.

#3. A Man Saves Some Kids from a Shark, Loses His Job

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According to this news report narrated by British Jessica Rabbit, a man named Paul Marshallsea was vacationing on a beach in Queensland, Australia, when a 6-foot shark came swimming drunkenly into the shallows like it had forgotten where its car was parked. Marshallsea decided that the beast was getting too close to a group of children playing in the water, and rather than do the sensible thing and get the kids out onto the beach, he strolled into the waves to drag the shark the fuck back out to sea.

Via Youtube

So, a 62-year-old man strode purposefully into the ocean to put himself between a bunch of kids and a man-sized murderfish, grundle-punched the shark back out into the East Australian Current, and got put all over the international news as a result. And his name is Paul freaking Marshallsea. It's like he was born to police the ocean. All in all, it seems like it was a thoroughly badass vacation.

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"Next year I'm thinking we go to Africa and assault every character from The Lion King."

Except Paul Marshallsea wasn't on vacation. He was on sick leave. And when the video of his daring shark battle went viral, footage of his globe-trotting exploits made it back to his employers, who could see that he was most certainly not sick, unless he had come down with a fierce case of sharkpunchitis. So they did what any self-respecting organization would do when catching one of their employees in a lie and fired the shit out of him. From Marshallsea's official termination letter:

"Whilst unfit to work you were well enough to travel to Australia and, according to recent news footage of yourself in Queensland, you allegedly grabbed a shark by the tail and narrowly missed being bitten by quickly jumping out of the way."

They claimed that his international shark wrangling was a serious breach in trust and dismissed him, offering him no congratulatory remarks for his heroics or any COBRA contact information to make sure the medical coverage on his giant iron balls didn't lapse. We're amazed they didn't end the paragraph with "Nice try, dickhead. Next time, let those kids get eaten."

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"Don't forget to put on your 'sunscreen' before you get in the water, kids!"

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