Organic Matter: Death by duck a tough way to leave this world

Traffic accidents and heart attacks are two ways life can end suddenly.

But in reading an Associated Press story last week I was reminded the same is true when we engage in routine activities at which we have a degree of proficiency if an unexpected factor comes into play.

Leon Resnick, an employee of Riva Yamaha, was testing a water jet-propelled craft about 20 miles north of Fort Lauderdale on Nov.

15.

He had gotten the craft up to about 55 mph when a co-worked turned away to pick up a radar gun to check the speed.

When the co-worker turned back, the craft was coming to a stop with Resnick, 31, no longer aboard it.

A blow to the head caused Resnick's death, according to the Broward County Medical Examiner's Office.

Feathers found on the craft's handlebars and the carcass of a 10-15 pound duck close by led dealership co-owner David Bambas to a conclusion that was not immediately disputed by authorities.

"Our theory is that the bird was airborne and clocked him in the head," Bambas told the Associated Press.

At the speed Resnick was traveling over the water, the duck "might as well have been a cinder block," Bambas said.

It sounds like the scene from "The Birds" where Tippi Hedren was crossing a lake in an outboard motor boat and approaching a dock where Rod Taylor was waiting for her.

A gull swoops down, striking Hedren in the head and drawing blood.

The Florida incident was a freak accident for sure.

The odds of being struck by lightning probably are greater, but of no consolation to Resnick's family.

* * *

I hope the day after Thanksgiving started out better for you than it did for me.

I arose about 6 a.m., as Friday was a workday.

I headed off to the kitchen, trying to decide what to have for breakfast.

I had purchased a new frying pan three days earlier and decided to try it out.

Getting the new pan out of the cupboard, I placed it atop the stove, coated the inside with some cooking spray and then turned on the burner.

I got several eggs out of the refrigerator and, after the pan had heated for perhaps 45 seconds, cracked each open and deposited the raw egg in the pan.

As I dropped the last of the empty eggshells in the trash, I noted it was full.

I pulled the bag out of the basket and placed a tie around its neck, a task that took perhaps 15 seconds.

When I turned back to the stove, smoke was coming off the burner.

I immediately turned on the hood fan to vent the kitchen and picked the fry pan off the burner.

It was then I realized what I had done, or should I say failed to do.

Cooking utensils normally have glued on stickers on the inside or bottom that should be removed prior to use.

Care to guess my silly mistake?

The scrambled eggs turned out fine and the inside of the pan was almost spotless when I finished.

I needed to use a scraper, scouring pad and some elbow grease to remove the remaining traces of the label from the bottom of the pan.

But I succeeded.

At least, I will know the next time I go to use that fry pan if my mistake ruined it after one use.

* * *

A woman trying on jeans at a store in Rosedale, Minn.

last Wednesday found a clip with a large amount of money in it.

Kathleen Healy did not count the money.

She simply turned it over to a sales clerk while paying for the jeans.

The clerk told her a customer had been looking frantically for the money clip.

Healy refused a cash reward for her good deed.

But the clerk insisted she take a box of Frango mints, the signature candy of the Marshall Fields store where Healy was shopping at the time.

When she opened the mints, Healy found a ticket saying she had won at least $10,000 in a contest.

If she is selected from among five contest winners during a drawing in February, Healy will receive a $100,000 prize.

As Healy does religious missionary work, a higher power must have ordained that she receive some compensation for her honesty.

She said she also plans to use part of the money to pay for her daughter's college tuition.

Terry Organ is the Miner's education, health and weather reporter.