Thursday, July 09, 2009

Chocolate Peril

The following is the kind of headline and story that trips the b.s. detector of anyone who has been in journalism for a day. Stories like this abound, cooked up by mischievous desk sergeants and sometimes even grizzled news people.

Unfortunately for Mr. Smith, named below, it appears to be true, despite appearing in the headline "news" section of American Online.


Man Falls Into Vat of Chocolate, Dies
AP CAMDEN, N.J. (July 8) – Authorities say a man died after falling into a vat of melted chocolate in a New Jersey processing plant.

The Camden County prosecutor's office identified the victim as 29-year-old Vincent Smith II of Camden. He was a temporary worker at the Cocoa Services Inc. plant.

The accident happened Wednesday morning as Smith was loading chocolate into a vat where it's melted and mixed before being shipped elsewhere to be made into candy.

Prosecutor's spokesman Jason Laughlin says a co-worker tried to shut off the machine and two others tried to pull Smith out of the 8-foot-deep vat. He was hit and fatally injured by the agitator that mixes the chocolate.

Why do I think this is funny? Because it reminds me of an old Smothers Brothers routine about what to do if you should actually fall into a vat of chocolate and require assistance. Tommy Smothers pointed out one should yell, "Fire," because no one would respond if you yelled "Chocolate." Impeccable logic.

Which also reminds me ...

Once we were at cineplex when the fire alarm went off and the building had to be evacuated. As the firefighters were tending to an overheated popcorn machine, I got to live out a civil libertarian's dream and yelled "Theater" in a crowded fire.

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