5 Mundane Things That Caused Earth-Shattering Destruction

Hurricanes, tornadoes, avalanches, Johnny Cash -- all well-known sources of disaster. The damage they cause is tragic, but at least they come from an understandable place. You can see the storm clouds brewing, or that the whiskey bottle is 3/4 empty. You have advance notice that something bad is coming your way. But much like your significant other, sometimes there is just no predicting what will set off a monumental disaster.*

*We may have just accidentally called your significant other a monumental disaster, and for that we apologize.

(Cracked's Antiheroes series shows you just how bad superpowers would be in real life.)

#5. Screw Up Your Golf Swing, Start a Raging Wildfire

Shady Canyon Golf Club

On the great list of destructive sports, golf seems like it would rank pretty low. Hockey games will get you punched in the mouth. Soccer matches might cause riots. Baseball fields ... explode, maybe? But what's the worst thing to come out of a golf game? Plaid slacks and a bad business deal?

Kriss Russell/iStock/Getty Images
Hint: It wasn't Gary's "hot new IP" that would melt his golf cart.

One anonymous golfer was playing a round at the Shady Canyon Golf Course in Irvine, California. He had a particularly rough slice, and the ball landed near some rocks. Now, Anonymous Golfer (we'll call him Aggie, for short) was an upstanding gentleman: He wasn't taking a mulligan. He was going to play it as it lays.

Aggie took his swing, his club scraped against one of the rocks, and together they produced a tiny spark. That should have been the end of it. But alas, Aggie was using a titanium club. Titanium clubs are fantastic for playing both golf and Thor: They're made of a strong, lightweight metal ... with a tendency to cause 3,000-degree sparks that stay active for a full second.

ivansmuk/iStock/Getty Images
The designer was eager to fulfill demands to "make golf less boring."

The super-spark landed in the grass, which burst into flames. "It's OK," Aggie surely thought, "it's just some grass."

Then it spread to the bushes.

"Only a few bushes, surely somebody will get a fire extinguisher out here and everything will be fine," Aggie rationalized.

Cut to a few minutes later and ...

Shady Canyon Golf Club
"Play through?"

By noon, the fire had spread to over 12 acres. Luckily, nobody was hurt, but it took over 200 firefighters just to control the damage from one errant swing. Look, we're no golf experts over here, but we feel fairly confident in saying this: Aggie, whoever you are, you have played the worst hole of golf in all of human history, spanning back to the birth of mankind and forward to its demise.

You mark that shit at least a double bogey.

#4. Misplace Some Paperwork, Cause an Oil Rig Explosion

BBC

It was 1988, and the Piper Alpha platform off the coast of Scotland was chugging out over 100,000 barrels of oil a day. The platform was getting a little old and needed some work, but like a pornographic Energizer Bunny, it just kept right on pumping and pumping.

via IADC.org
Lubrication was not an issue.

Maintenance was being performed on Condensate Pump A. The pump needed repairs, and the safety valve had been taken off (the safety valve being the thing that ensures giant explosions do not occur; that's some subtle foreshadowing right there). The workers needed to turn in for the night, so an engineer filled out a form explaining that the valve was off, and under no circumstances should gas be pumped until it was fixed.

But the night custodian was busy (which, because we've known a few night custodians in our day, we presume was a euphemism for "furiously masturbating"). So the engineer simply left the form on a desk and headed home. The next shift arrived, rolled their eyes at the strangely flustered night custodian who tried to explain that he was "just doing a bunch of jumping jacks when his pants fell down," and then got to work pumping gas. With no safety valve.

via Exponent.com
Attempts to pretend nothing had gone wrong proved unsuccessful.

It's the setup for a few dozen episodes of The Office: Somebody hilariously misfiled some paperwork, and now corporate is coming down to audit! Only in this case, one misplaced form caused billions of dollars of damage and killed 167 workers on board.

So the moral here is: You get your god damn TPS reports in on time, buddy.

#3. Perfume Bottles Sparkle in the Sunlight, Set House on Fire

London Fire Brigade

Last August, a mother and six children were enjoying the eight seconds of sunshine that appear in the British Isles every year when light beaming in a main floor window refracted through a few perfume bottles sitting on the windowsill. The light hit the glass bottles in such a way that the rays focused into a heat beam strong enough to ignite a fire that set the entire first floor ablaze.

London Fire Brigade
We should note that the house contained a shrine to Bolag, the demon god.

Feel free to bookmark this article for the next time your wife, mother, or strangely familiar co-worker asks for perfume on their birthday. You will be entirely justified in slapping that bottle out of their hands and screaming, "My God! Are you trying to kill us all?"

It's not just perfume, however -- sinister sunlight will use any means possible to murder us in our homes. Dog bowls, crystal balls, and even our benignly nerdy friend the telescope have all started house fires.

Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images
So never combine a dog bowl, a crystal ball, and a telescope (unless, again, your demon shrine needs them).

Here's some security footage of a liquor store display seemingly spontaneously bursting into flames after vodka bottles focused sunlight on the cardboard stand. The location of that liquor store? Burnsville, Minnesota.

Nothing is an accident. The sun is in on it. This article posts at 5 a.m. -- warn your family before dayli-

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