Posted by: Jeremiah Graves | February 29, 2012

Great Moments in Darwinism

There are a lot of things in life that I do not understand.

I’m completely baffled by mathematics. I can’t really do anything handy to save my life. I still tie my shoes like a four-year-old. I find health insurance to be the most complicated, convoluted thing in the history of things.

One thing that I do, however, understand is that gasoline and fire do not mix, like, not even a little bit.

I’m also aware that it is in my best interest to never ingest either of those two things.

Those are things that I do understand.

Sadly, 42-year-old Gary Banning did not understand these things.

Here’s the quick recap from CBS Charlotte:

“A North Carolina man is dead after police say he accidentally drank from a jar of gasoline and then smoked a cigarette.”

“City spokeswoman Diane Miller said investigators believe Banning was at a friend’s apartment when he apparently mistook a jar of gasoline sitting by the kitchen sink for a beverage. After taking a gulp, he spit the gas out and got some on his clothes.”

“Sometime later, investigators say Banning went outside to smoke a cigarette and burst into flames.”

Holy hell, right?!

Nothing about this makes a damned bit of sense to me.

Maybe it’s because I majored in journalism, but I’ve got a few lingering questions.

  • How does someone mistake a jar of gasoline for anything?
  • How does one not notice the very distinct “gasoline” scent?
  • Who keeps a jar of gasoline in a place where it could be mistaken for a beverage?
  • Who keeps a jar of gasoline, period?
  • How did he forget that he’d recently doused himself in gasoline?
  • What the shit?

Yeah, I think that about sums up my lingering questions on this one.

I feel like this sets itself up for a lot of alternative “smoking can kill you” jokes or something, but that seems oddly distasteful.

Instead, I’ll leave you with a slightly less awful, yet oddly-similar situation from the cinematic masterpiece Zoolander:



  1. I’m going on the assumption that the guy was drunk as a skunk, but that’s one hell of an assumption to make.


    • Or maybe he was, like, nose deaf…where he couldn’t smell?! Is that a thing?! Can you be nose deaf?! Or would it be nose blind? Nasally-impaired?


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