Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The difference between your life and a cartoon?

Who hasn't seen these "fatal" accidents befall one of their favorite cartoon characters?
  1. He falls out out of plane, but lands in a giant haystack and walks away with only minor injuries.
  2. A giant oncoming truck forces him to drive his car off a cliff, but he somehow falls out of the car, catches safely on a convenient tree branch, and watches the car explode in flames 300 feet below.
  3. His train derails at high speed and plunges into an icy river, and he's found with his arm in a funny position, but only scrapes and bruises otherwise.
  4. A flame thrower blasts him in the face at short range, but he only loses some hair and ends up covered in soot. Alternatively, his car is engulfed in flames, and he walks away unharmed.
  5. He's hit by a bus, but suffers only minor injuries.
  6. Of course, after suffering through a bunch of these, the happy ending has the character being given exactly one million dollars.
What do these six cartoon events have in common?

Even in a movie (like "Unbreakable") it's too unbelievable to see stuff like this happening to a real person, right? Hold on ...

The answer is they actually happened in real life, and although 37 people died in the various accidents, at least one person did survive each time.

But, most amazing of all ...

They didn't just happen, they all happened to the SAME man: Frane Selak, a Croatian music teacher (what would a cartoon be without music?). And they happened exactly as described above.

Frane (pictured above at left) was born in 1929, and in January, 1962, his "luck" changed for the first time. He was riding a train (#3 below).

Real life events more amazing than any movie

Here's his amazing story, exactly following the cartoon events listed above:
  1. FELL OUT OF A PLANE: How? A DOOR blew out on a plane flying from Zagreb to Rijeka in 1963. While it was flying. At high speed. High above the earth. Etc., etc., etc. Twenty people were sucked out to a certain death, because, c'mon, how's he gonna survive that?
    Oh wait. That's exactly what happened. Only 19 people died, because, I kid you not, #20 was Frane, and he landed in a giant haystack and walked away.

  2. DROVE OFF A CLIFF: What can I say? The truck, the cliff, caught in the tree, the car exploding 300 feet below, all true. That's exactly what happened to him in 1996.

  3. TRAIN PLUNGED INTO RIVER: Yup, in 1962 nineteen people faced likely death when their moving train derailed and plunged into an icy river, but only eighteen died, because when they found #19, it was Frane. His arm was broken, but he had just a few scrapes and bruises otherwise.

  4. FLAMETHROWER IN FACE: As amazing as the others are, I know you've been asking, c'mon, a flamethrower? Okay, this was a car fire forced through air vents, but if that happened in YOUR face, I think you'd agree that "flamethrower" is a pretty good description. Happened to Frane in 1973. He lost most of his hair but had no other injuries.

    ENGULFED IN FLAMES: Of course, by this point in his life, flames in a car weren't that big a deal for Frane. Three years earlier his car was engulfed in flames from a faulty fuel pump. He escaped, and walked away unharmed.

  5. HIT BY A BUS: Yup, in 1995 he was hit by a city bus and suffered only minor injuries

  6. AN EVEN MILLION: In 2003, Frane won EXACTLY $1,000,000 dollars in the Croatian lottery. Almost like a heavenly award at that point!
World's luckiest man? Or unluckiest?

Considering what he's been through, surviving mortal terror without a heart attack is probably is among his greatest achievements.

"I know God was watching me over all these years," Frane said, and has reputedly refused to fly to Australia to air on a Doritos commercial, saying he "didn't want to test his luck."

Finally, for the big question: Good luck, or bad? We'll give Frane the final word. "I prefer to be called the world's luckiest man," he said, admitting that some people call him "The World's Unluckiest Man."

So, how's YOUR luck?

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