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mtrush2Okay, the Congress is a bunch of poops, and there is really nothing much more that needs be said about all that, so lets talk about something that’s REALLLLY important, like how likely you are to get to heaven.

Okay, so. (By the way, do you realize how many supposedly smart people who are being interviewed start every answer with, “okay, so”? Listen up next time. You might be surprised.

One hundred and eighty degree turn!

So this heaven thing. You see, I have it on good authority that there is a test. And if you fail, well, it’s sulfur, brimstone, and well, all the accompanying bells and whistles for you.

In our household, we study a lot, to avoid that. Make that, the Contrarian studies a lot. He passes on the answers to me, and I, well, I love ya all, so I’m going to pass them on to you.

First, in no particular order. Whose faces and in what order are they at Mt. Rushmore? You must get both right to get credit. No, I’m not going to tell you, because it’s only a key stroke away, and really you need to learn to do this stuff yourself!

Second, what where the middle names of Washington, Jefferson, Adams (the first one)? Okay, I’ll give you the answer on that one. NONE! Protestants didn’t start using middle names until the end of the 18th century. Hurrah, you’re up another step on the staircase to heaven!

Now comes the big essay question: How many have died in elevator free-fall crashes?

Wait for it!

Remember all the movies and television shows that showed elevators careening down the shaft at increasing speed, with dead bodies huddled together at the bottom? Remember all the nefarious villains who cut the cables to murder someone? Or the massive fires in high rises where the “do not use elevators in case of fire” were ignored and a stuffed elevator plunged to the floor amid the screams of those about to die?


Okay, I’ll explain.

Otis was a smart guy. B-25_Mitchell

Otis is the famous elevator guy. Everybody knows that. And Otis build a better mousetrap. See, if the cables break, well the braking takes over. Let me explain a bit better.

Knurled rollers are held against the outside of the elevator solely by the tension of the cables. When the cables are cut, break, or loosen, the rollers pop forth and engage in the sides of the shaft. I’m thinking like teeth in a cog. So the elevator cannot free fall under anything less than an extraordinary event.

Okay, so why the B25 pictured to the right?

The B25 was a mini B52, and has its own claim to fame. The Japanese figured the US could never bomb Tokyo since the distance from an American-friendly land was too far. Enter the B25. A bunch of these babies were winched onto Aircraft carriers and floated to off-shore Japan. They could JUST take off from the carrier without crashing. (most anyway). Their mission was to bomb Tokyo and then fly into China past the coastline (which was Japanese controlled) and land in Chinese-controlled areas.

To make a long story short, they weren’t able to get as close to Tokyo as they wanted, which means they were all on lower fuel than hoped. Some didn’t make the takeoff and crashed into the sea, but most made it to Tokyo, dropped their bombs and headed for China. Most I think, landed on the coast and were captured. A few crashed inland, and a few landed successfully and made their way to being rescued.

It’s now 1945, and a guy is flying one of these babies, and because of fog, flies it dead into the Empire State building, hitting between the 78th and 80th floors. The crew of course died, as well as a few others, but the sensational news was as follows:

Betty Lou Oliver, a Otis Elevator operator, was blown out of her elevator by the crash. She was badly burned. When rescuers got to her, they put her in an elevator, unaware that the cables were badly damaged as well as the cab itself, crippling the rollers. As they started down, the cables broke and the cab plunged 75 floors to the bottom.

Still, no one died.

empirestateAnd there are no verifiable deaths from falling in an elevator anyone in the world. EVER.

Simply put, the elevators don’t fall. People die in elevators to be sure, ala Isadore Duncan, (having a scarf caught and being strangled), or from falling down an open shaft, or from smoke inhalation during a fire, but not from falling, since they just don’t do that. Most deaths are repairmen who fall during repairs.

So how did Ms Oliver survive her World Guinness fall?

Nobody is really sure. Some think that the coils of cable at the bottom served as a “spring” of sorts and that the cable, “gave” and then recoiled, making the elevator bounce to a stop. Others think it had to do with the compression of air during the speedy decline that also buffered the fall.

In any case, she lived, though badly injured.

(The only proviso I attach to all this, is that it’s unclear how many at the World Trade Center may have died from free-falling elevators. The wreckage was probably too severely mangled to know. )

Otis claims that it carries the equivalent of the entire world’s population every five days in elevators around the world. There are on average 26 deaths per year in elevator-related accidents (not free falls).

For lots more about elevators and the riding of same, go here.

So there ya go. Stop anguishing over that next elevator ride and relax. You’re going to be fine. And you’re on your way to heaven!

Happy Saturday!