This Article Will Explode In 5 Points
There is a bomb in this column, and it will explode in five entries. Do not panic. I am confident I can figure out which wire to cut to defuse it. I'm no bomb expert. But I am armed with the greatest bomb defusal tool there is: the internet, the ultimate compendium of humanity's vast array of knowledge. With just a few clicks we can learn all there is to know about the rise of cubism in the 1880s or find out if the laws of physics would allow Godzilla to ice skate. The internet is the communal brain we all dump knowledge into. Someone on it had to have explained which wire to cut at some point.
You might be thinking, "Why don't you just not finish the column, thereby ensuring that the bomb will never go off?" Well, there's a bunch of legitimate reasons for not doing that. Here's a picture of reasons number one through infinity:
Gotta pay the bills, and booby-trapped columns are a widely known occupational hazard of internet writing.
No one can tell us which wire to cut. As one MetaFilter user put it, "Why disassemble it, when you can blow it up?" Thanks for the help, asshole. I'm going to explode. I don't need your sass. But, turns out, that's the consensus everywhere I go -- Wikipedia, Gizmodo, and directly from the mouth of a U.S. military bomb disposal expert right here on Cracked. Turns out bomb makers aren't basing their bomb designs on old Wile E. Coyote cartoons and my piss-poor understanding of the world. Cartoony bombs are the only bombs I figured I'd know how to disarm. The "TNT bundle attached to an alarm clock" type? Snip the blue wire. A "cannonball with a fuse" type? Batman taught me that technique in the late '60s.
Real bombs are usually blown up with a shotgun (or shotgun-like devices) attached to a robot. That's more than just a really good idea for a cop show. It's a real thing.
I don't have a shotgun, and there's no way I could walk into a store and just buy a sho- OH MY GOD. I can order a shotgun online. I can have a 12 gauge mailed to me. This is too easy. I shouldn't be able to drunkenly impulse buy a shotgun in my underwear at 3 a.m.
Don't forget the gift-wrap option at checkout!
Shame Amazon doesn't sell shotguns. They'd be my one-stop-shop for replenishing my monthly stock of Mossbergs and fuckable severed heads.
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Even crazier than that: There are 20 states where an 8-year-old can legally purchase and possess a shotgun. This bomb doesn't seem so bad anymore. There are children in Kool-Aid-stained Minecraft shirts threatening girls who don't like them with menacing shotguns selfies, or whatever shenanigans kids are up to these days. No sir. I'll take my chances with this here old bomb.
Now, there's no time to dwell on the past, or on America's questionable gun laws. I need a solution, because exploding sounds like it hurts.
But would it? I guess it depends on the kind of bomb. Having all my limbs ripped away in an instant seems less painful than being burned to death. Oh, look -- here's a blog post by a forensic pathologist wherein he breaks down the ways a person can be hurt by an explosion. This line is particularly relevant:
If he is quite near the explosion, he can be blown to pieces.
Slow down, doc! Your fancy medical jargon is twisting my brain into knots! You textbook talk is sailing over my head the way my feet would if this bomb were to go off. I need something more tangible than that to quell my fears.
Here you go: In 2011, a photojournalist named Giles Duley was on patrol with a U.S. Army unit when he stepped on a landmine and ...
There was no noise, no pain. Just deafening silence.
Oh, that isn't so ba-
My left hand had flopped over my face. So when I looked up, it was through a hand ripped to shreds. The small white bones were completely exposed and all the flesh on one side of my arm was missing. Like something from a horror film, it was smoldering. I couldn't feel my legs, so I tried to sit up. My feet were no longer there. A nearby tree was covered in bits of my flesh.
HOLY SHIT. So this is what fear is, huh? It's icky and dreadful. I got so used to suppressing my emotions to project an image of "confident adult male" that I forgot what it means to genuinely fear. This is going super well right now, guys. It's around here that I'd usually retreat to play video games for six hours until reality and responsibility melt away. But I can't do that now. So I'm just going to swallow my emotions and soldier on. Yeah, all these pent-up emotions will explode one day. But it's better than exploding today.
Let's get back on track and try to find a way to defuse this bomb.
Like I said, I don't have a shotgun. But I do have a Nerf gun. Four of them. Seven. I have 12 Nerf guns, all right? Yeah, I'm 30, so what? I get laid in spite of them. Now, here's a cool thing: Nerf guns can be modded to shoot more powerfully than the Nerf lords intended, with no technical know-how required.
Nerf guns have air restrictors that limit the air pressure pushing the dart out of the barrel so little kids don't develop a taste for death before they're old enough to wield it responsibly when they get their learners permit. Loosen some screws, take out the restrictor, and voila -- a Nerf death machine. If I can mod one of my 22 Nerf guns, maybe I can use it to safely detonate the bomb? But I'd still need a machine to do it remotely.
Back in 2011, a supervillain in training rigged six shotguns in the woods of Georgia to be fired remotely via webcam. He said it was to kill feral pigs, which is what he calls women over 105 pounds.
You can't see this big, obtrusive, automated kill rig, because the guns are camouflaged.
The murder rig was never fired and was still in its developmental stage when it was discovered by a man who that day learned it was possible to soil himself while running backward at Lamborghini speed. If I can make something similar with some string, twist ties, and three hockey sticks taped together to form a crude tripod -- items I am figuratively and literally naked without -- I won't be exploded today.
I've got my work cut out for me, and I'm running out of entries. This had better work.
It's all set up. The Nerf gun now shoots at a blistering one to two times harder than it did before. It rests nestled between the butt-ends of the hockey sticks. A twist tie attached to the trigger is attached to a string that's attached to my hand that is attached to my body, which is far as fuck away from the bomb. I could have tied the string directly to the trigger, but all the garbage bags I buy have built-in draw-strings, and I don't know what else to do with this kitchen drawer full of twist ties. I don't know how they got here. Must have come with the apartment. I certainly didn't earn them, like my drawer full of Taco Bell hot sauce packets.
Each one represents a reason I should let this bomb kill me now.
I don't know how big the blast will be. It could be a sparkler; it could be a mushroom cloud. Getting through this alive and unharmed is all I care about. If the blast still kills me ... then at least I went out swinging. I didn't sit back and accept it. I used what little I had to save myself. That's all a person can do sometimes -- just try, never give up. Way I see it, live or die, I've succeeded today.
OK. Let's do this.
Pulling the string on one.
MY CRAFTSMANSHIP IS SHIT I FAILED AND WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE. I don't know why I thought shooting a Nerf dart at a bomb would yield the same results as shooting a shotgun. I was desperate, all right? I don't have the proper tools; what do you expect of me? I looked around and all I had were my 52 Nerf guns! I'M NOT BUILT FOR THIS KIND OF PRESSURE, OK?
I'm going to die, aren't I? Jesus. I ... I don't know what else to type. Oh, god. Oh god. Oh god. Oh ... God? Hm ...
We're not human beings that have occasional spiritual experiences -- it's the other way around: We're spiritual beings that have occasional human experiences.
Deepak Chopra said that. It's comforting. In my final moments of life, it's nice to know I was a ghost the whole time. Here's a good one from Socrates:
Be of good cheer about death, and know this of a truth, that no evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death.
I've been a good guy all my life. Good to know that all bets are off once I get to heaven.
And this one ... this one reads like it was written specifically for me:
DEATH IS BUT A DOOR. TIME IS BUT A WINDOW. I'LL BE BACK!
That one might actually have been the villainous tyrant Vigo The Carpathian from Ghostbusters II. Not the best source of guidance. The actor who played him might have been even worse..
He allegedly raped his stepmother. Won't hear that factoid on the DVD commentary.
Oh, what's the use? Might as well figure out what to do with whatever's left of me. I suppose the blast will reduce me to ashes. Maybe they can put me into a Bios Urn, an urn that uses my cremains as the sub-soil from which will grow a mighty tree, strong and proud, a modest, environmentally conscious monument to my life.
If at all possible, I'd like my tree to be planted on the island between parking spaces at a strip mall so that my branches can make a fine home for the birds and squirrels who will shit all over the cars parked beneath me on hot summer days.
If my head somehow remains intact (perhaps because it was blown safely onto an enormous pile of pillowy Nerf darts), I'd like it donated. Not to science, exactly. More like show business. Some surgeons with head-related specialties do live lectures about new surgical techniques. These surgeons' poor, poor assistants have to obtain and babysit several severed human heads of the real and decidedly unfuckable variety.
The heads are, apparently, a pain in the ass for the assistants to prep. They're difficult, uncooperative, and they leak mucus all over the place when they thaw. It's all detailed in this fantastic comment left on a Jezebel post, written by someone who claims to have been that assistant.
I know it's just a comment from a random person on the internet, but I really hope it's all true. When I'm dead I want my head to be the captivating star of a show, and I want to be a pain in the ass to work with, like all the actors who churn out great performances but throw a fit when their massive trailer's pinata isn't filled with eclairs like it's supposed to be every Tuesday. When I'm dead, I want to make an assistant cry. Not because I'm an asshole -- because my severed frozen head is an asshole.
You know what? Now I'm kind of looking forward to death. Fuck it. Death ain't shit. Bring it on! SHOW ME WHAT YOU GOT, BOMB! COME AT ME, YOU PATHETIC EXCUSE FOR AN EXOTHERMIC REACTION! GO AHEAD! BLOW UP! I'LL BE THE GODDAMN MARLON BRANDO OF THE 12TH ANNUAL SPRING RHINOPLASTY CONFERENCE IN THE HONOLULU MARRIOTT. I DARE YOU: MAKE ME A STAR, BOMB!
EDIT MADE POST-PUBLICATION: Yeah, so, about that whole "me challenging death to take me" thing: Well, just before the bomb went off, I found this link to a WikiHow page titled "How To Survive An Explosion." It's so stupid. The first entry basically just says, "Did something explode? Man, you should get away from it probably." But it worked. I'm alive because of it! This is amazing! Not because I lived, but because this is the first time a WikiHow guide has ever been useful.
Luis is Googling "How to chop down fools with karate moves" in case he ever finds the person who planted a bomb on his column. In the meantime, you can find him on Twitter, Tumblr, and on Facebook.
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