(February 2000) This tale was unearthed during a safety seminar at a power plant in the southern United States. It was a coal-burning power plant, and an employee named Jack had the responsibility of supervising the coal runner. The runner resembled a small treadmill, and transported coal from the hopper to the burner. Jack was stationed near the hopper chute, and watched to made sure nothing blocked the flow of coal, and that nothing inappropriate was burned.
One day, Jack's co-workers returned from their break to find Jack missing. All that remained was his lunch pail and, curiously, his work boots. No one could explain his continuing absence. After several days, the company launched an investigation. The truth came to light, though it took a bit of persuasion to extract the story from his reluctant co-workers.
Jack's doctor had recently warned him that his cholesterol and blood pressure were both dangerously high. The doctor suggested regular mild exercise. Jack had little spare time on his hands, but thought that he could fit in some exercise during his lunch break. Jack would eat his lunch, and then change into sneakers and hop onto the coal runner to jog until his break was over. Because he was self-conscious about his weight, he always made sure nobody was around when he exercised.
Jack's body was never found. Fortunately he had confided his novel exercise regime to a few people at the power plant, or we would never have learned of his tragic demise. Jack must have passed out and been converted into power for hundreds of homes, paving the way for a new, ecologically sound replacement for fossil fuels: Darwin Award contenders.
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Submitted by: Joanna