The Phoenix

Monday, July 10, 2006

Apple iPod, A Shocking Experience

Last week in Denver, 17 year old Jason Bunch was mowing the lawn and listening to Metallica. A storm was coming in from the north, and very suddenly, he was struck by lightning.


He has no idea how, but Jason made his way into the house where he took off his burning clothes and was vomitting in his bed. A next door neighbor went outside to take a look after hearing the tremendous lightning explosion, and she spotted Jason's burning green and white tennis shoes several feet away from the lawn mower. She immediately called 911.

At the Sky Ridge Medical Center, Jason spent a day in Intensive Care before going home last Tuesday. His hair was singed, he has burn marks on his face where the ear bud chords were, and the insides of his ears were burned as well. He also had large welts all over his body. Long term, he might suffer from permanent hearing loss in his right ear. Currently, he can't stand up as the equillibrium in his inner ear is still affected.

Interestingly, the burn marks follow where the iPod and it's chord ran, going from his hip up his side, and then along his face. The iPod itself was fried, with a hole blown through the back and the ear buds were pretty much toast as well.

Jason and his mother believe the iPod served as a lightning rod, drawing the lightning to him since there were trees all around him that weren't struck. Looking at his picture at right there, maybe the lightning was attracted to his pork chop sideburns. But Jason believes the iPod attracted the lightning.

Scientists disagree, however: "There is no scientific evidence to show that lightning is 'attracted' to items like an iPod. However, if someone wearing earbuds is struck, current may travel along the wires into the ears," said Gregory Stewart of the Denver-based Lightning Reference Center.

After doing some research, I found some interesting facts. First of all, Colorado ranks in the top 10 states of human lightning strikes. I had no idea.

Secondly, I believe his wearing the iPod probably saved his life. Had he not, the lightning would've gone through his body - probably through his heart. And that could've ruines his whole day right there.

Thirdly, if it was raining, that might have contributed to saving his life as well. Water is an excellent electrical conductor, and the lightning would've passed over Jason's body instead of through it.

Also, I think pushing a metal lawnmower in a yard during a storm is probably not a great idea in the first place.

Fifthly, perhaps the lightning wasn't an "act of God." What if the Metallica song Jason was listening to was downloaded illegally? Perhaps Lars Ulrich of Metallica got together with iPod, and that whenever a pirated song was played on an mp3 player, lightning would be drawn to the special negative ionizer chip and strike the lawbreaker.

I wonder if Jason was listening to Metallica's "Ride the Lightning."


Blogger Curare_Z said...

Come on Phoenix. Nothing is attracted to pork chop side burns. NOTHING.

7/10/2006 11:59 AM  
Blogger KC said...

Scary. Even though The Boy doesn't listen to Metallica, I'll be sure he is iPod-less when next he mows the lawn.

7/10/2006 12:11 PM  
Blogger Mimi said...

That is scary. You know some religious nuts will say it was a punsihment for listening to Metallica.

7/10/2006 12:48 PM  
Blogger DaBich said...

Hey, I like Metallica. I like Godsmack even better.
But...this is weird, indeed. I say it was the iPod, not the chops ;)

7/10/2006 12:55 PM  
Blogger Perplexio said...

Who knows what evil lies in the heart of Steve Jobs and Lars Ulrich!

7/10/2006 1:03 PM  
Blogger Perplexio said...

mimi: The religious nuts aren't the only ones who would say it was punishment for listening to Metallica. If he happened to have been listening to anything after the black album, any people with musical taste would also say getting struck by lightning was punishment for listening to Metallica.

7/10/2006 1:05 PM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

curare, Yowza! Witty...very witty.

KC, actually, have him wear it. The iPod saved this kid's life. When lightning hit him, it could've gone through his body otherwise.

mimi, Of course that will follow.

dabich, I wouldn't discount the anti-pirating chip though.

perplexio, Man - that was HARSH!

7/10/2006 1:27 PM  
Blogger kim said...

Awesome post! I didn't even make the Metallica connection when I first read this story over the weekend!

And I agree, iPod isn't a lightning rod. And it might have conducted away from his heart.

(And excellent point curare_z!)

7/10/2006 1:45 PM  
Blogger jay lassiter said...

this is shocking (no oun intended) but morbidly fascinating.

i wonder if the same thing would have happened if he were listening to, say Bach. Or menudo?

7/10/2006 1:50 PM  
Blogger Dr. Cissa Fireheart said...

wow....guess iPods and mowing just don't mix...wonder if Apple will send him a new one? would the warrantee still take it? I mean, it was an act of nature....totally NOT his fault....someone should find out for the poor guy! And think of all the music he lost! waht a pain to have to re-downlaod it.....

oh yeah the lightning strike was kind of a bummer too for him

7/10/2006 2:10 PM  
Blogger Jenna Howard said...

Clearly there was an attempt to put him in the Darwin Awards what with operating a lawnmower in a lightning storm. The pork chop side burns are a clear idicator he has some "wise decision" issues.

Hey...does the ipod still work? What a selling point if it does!

7/10/2006 2:52 PM  
Blogger Jenna Howard said...

Saw the ipod didn't make it. Bummer.

7/10/2006 2:57 PM  
Blogger :P fuzzbox said...

It might have been targeted by Lars for Jason Newstead and just got the wrong Jason.

7/10/2006 3:39 PM  
Blogger Pixie said...

I think it was Lars...

But how dumb do you have to be to be mowing the lawn in a storm????

7/10/2006 3:58 PM  
Blogger Pixie said...

I think it was Lars...

But how dumb do you have to be to be mowing the lawn in a storm????

7/10/2006 4:09 PM  
Blogger Perplexio said...

Phoenix: Have you ever seriously tried to listen to any post-Black album Metallica?

I love ...And Justice For All and Master of Puppets and thoroughly appreciate Ride the Lighting, Kill Em All, and the black album-- but the stuff they've tried to pass off on us since then has been pretty bad.

7/10/2006 5:02 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

wonder who finished cutting the lawn?

7/10/2006 5:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Myth Busters did a thing on piercings attracting lightening and determined they didn't.

I'll keep my eyes open for an iPod episode.

Do you suppose a Apple will attract a lawsuit from this?

7/10/2006 5:13 PM  
Blogger O Ceallaigh said...

The iPod was collateral damage. Not grounded. Young Jason connected to a metal lawnmower was something else.

Not sure I'd go so far as to say that the iPod saved his life. The path of lightning is too unpredictable. Given the undoubted damage from the charge carried on the earbud wires, I would say that Jason received more cursings than blessings from his personal electronics.

Story reminds me of one told by golfer Lee Trevino - who survived at least one direct lightning strike while playing. When asked about being out on a golf course during a lightning storm, Trevino joked (I paraphrase), "When the thunder rumbles, I always hold up a one-iron. 'Cause everybody knows, even God can't hit a one-iron."

7/10/2006 7:09 PM  
Blogger angel, jr. said...

Anything for a lawsuit.
I had a blast in Vegas. I was too scared to gamble, but I took in many sites.

7/10/2006 7:59 PM  
Blogger Keshi said...

ir kidding me! OMG now I'd be so scared to use my MP-3 player when it's lightning :(


7/10/2006 8:39 PM  
Blogger vani said...

i love that song! but not enough to get struck by lightening- ouch! poor

7/10/2006 9:29 PM  
Blogger Catch said...

it could have all been avoided if he had just stayed in his room laying on his bed listening to his ipod! Let the grass grow! ;))

7/10/2006 9:58 PM  
Blogger Phats said...

This is why I pay a kid to mow my lawn!

Crazy story, scary story glad porkchop sideburns lived to tell it

7/10/2006 10:47 PM  
Blogger eric said...

wow, looks like his face is "blackened." thank god it wasn't the end, though.

nice site you have here.


7/10/2006 11:28 PM  
Blogger OnMyWatch said...

funny stuff. let's hope if he decides to rid himself of the blackened pork chops, that he doesn't use an electric razor.

7/11/2006 12:56 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Wow, fascinating stuff.

7/11/2006 1:20 AM  
Blogger Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

It was DEFINITELY the sideburns that attracted the lightning. I think God was trying to tell him "Ew! Shave 'em off or I'll scorch the suckers off!!!"

7/11/2006 6:46 AM  
Blogger Jay said...

Nice on the chop comment.
No pity for anyone, eh?

7/11/2006 7:30 AM  
Blogger Cari said...


I was thinking the same damn thing!!

Ride the Lightning!!! NO DOUBT!!!

Poor Guy

Im sure that felt like crap...

7/11/2006 7:34 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

So the moral is let the grass overrun the yard and stay inside and listen to vinyl.

7/11/2006 9:01 AM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...


At the hospital, Jason also called a girl he was supposed to meet for a date. He told her that he didn't stand her up, but was struck by lightning.

7/11/2006 9:19 AM  
Blogger ozymandiaz said...

Most likely it was God's way of saying "so, ya wanna be deaf? Well, here ya go"
In a society of degrading social and intrapersonal skills perhaps this need to happen more often.

Lets go mowing in the rain
Get some lightening in the brain

7/11/2006 9:38 AM  
Blogger Eve said...

OMG... I didn't hear about that.

Satanic verses... maybe there IS a god?! ;)

7/11/2006 9:56 AM  
Blogger Nan said...

I belive it was Lars Ulrichs fault all of it. Never trust a dane Phoenix - you should know by now.

7/11/2006 11:50 AM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

I played a lot of competitive tennis, all the way through college.

Lars was actually a very gifted tennis player. He even attained a national ranking. But when he had to choose between tennis and drums - we all know what the Crazy Dane chose!

7/11/2006 12:15 PM  
Blogger Sherri said...

I'm shocked! LOL

7/11/2006 12:26 PM  
Blogger Jamie Dawn said...

That poor kid! I bet he won't be frolicking about outside during a thunderstorm ever again.
I think that fifth reason is the most feasible of the ones you listed.
Metallica is VERY serious about NOT wanting people to acquire their songs using illegal means. I heard they've targeted the most aggregious offenders for assassination. I think that lightning strike thing is for mid-range offenders.
Give me Kansas or Styx or Toto any day.
Metallica has no reason to target me. I can't name a single song of theirs, well, except for the one you named in your post, of course.

7/11/2006 1:36 PM  
Blogger Denny Shane said...

I'm going with "fifthly"

7/11/2006 2:39 PM  
Blogger Jon Cox said...

OMG what a sad, scary & amazing story!!! WOW!!!
Thank you so much, I'm so glad you like my latest work! :o)

7/11/2006 2:56 PM  
Blogger Fated said...

Oh my goodness. That is scary. I hadn't really thought of how having headphones on might affect things. We've had hot weather up here with lots of lightning storms. Something to keep in mind.

Perhaps the kid had a plate in his head? The only reason I can come up with for someone that young to listen to Metallica is brain damage.

7/11/2006 4:21 PM  
Blogger David E. Patton said...

I use to live in Denver, there is not much rain there. I can see the lighting following the wires.

7/11/2006 5:13 PM  
Blogger Grafs said...

I with you...I think it saved his life. That ipod saves my life everyday with the sweet sweet tunes:)

7/11/2006 5:59 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

lightning is a scary thing not to be messed with ever!

7/11/2006 6:56 PM  
Blogger David Amulet said...

I had a similarly shocking experience on my iPod.

Of course, I really WAS asking for it by listening to Peter Gabriel's "Shock the Monkey" while eating a banana ...

-- david

7/11/2006 8:27 PM  
Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

Too bad Billy-Bob didn't have the Ipod in his pants pockets now there is a chance he may still breed.

7/11/2006 9:52 PM  
Blogger Ben Heller said...

Poor guy...

Imagine what would have happened to him though, had he been listening to The jacksons "State Of Shock"

7/12/2006 3:39 AM  
Blogger starbender said...

HeY~~It's storming~~~
Why don't we go OUTSIDE and MOW the LAWN??!?!?!

...I know those R my first thoughts!!!

7/12/2006 10:10 AM  
Blogger cube said...

I think the lawn mower is the more likely culprit. It just doesn't pay to mow during a storm.

7/12/2006 11:45 AM  
Blogger Godwhacker said...

It would be nice of Apple if they coughed up a new ipod for the poor guy.

7/12/2006 2:52 PM  
Blogger OnMyWatch said...

50 comments! Goddamn!!! I'm lucky if I get 2 - and one of which would be me! :) holy shit. how do you deal with your stardom?

7/12/2006 3:58 PM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

How do I deal with my stardom?

First of all, I really don't think I've reached any kind of stardom.

Secondly, I really try to write funny yet education stuff as much as possible. I guess having all of these great bloggers reading my site just makes me want to work harder and get better.

Thirdly, I really do have the bestest audience. I enjoy reading their comments more than writing my posts, to be honest with you.

7/12/2006 4:23 PM  
Blogger OnMyWatch said...

good answer. and with an attitude like that you should reach stardom sooner than you think. :)

7/12/2006 9:37 PM  
Blogger Fatman said...

Phoenix- According to my (slightly outdated) Guiness World Records 2000 the person to survive the most amount of lightning strikes was a fella named Roy Sullivan, a park ranger from Virginia, who survived a staggering seven lightning strikes in his miserable life. The poor bastard must have offended Thor somehow to get that track record. The book negelects to mention if Mr.Sullivan had pork chop sideburns.

7/20/2006 11:48 PM  
Blogger Acid Phoenix said...

This is my first time "blogging" and I'm fascinated by your way of thinking... Ha ha ha...

7/21/2006 3:52 PM  

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