TOH Awards
Illustration: Christoph Niemann
We've all had our little homeowner snafus, our fix-it gaffes—you know, the time you splattered paint on the floor, or maybe short-circuited the house when all you wanted to do was change a lightbulb. But even we didn't believe the dubious achievements of the 13 "handy" folk gathered here. Take the guy who confused dog food with cement, or the fellow who nailed some very special equipment to the roof. To these and our other winners, we give the 2007 Black-and-Blue Thumb Awards. To you, we offer the comfort of knowing that however bad your blunders, someone else has screwed up worse.

1. Award for 'Best Stupid Human Trick'
Renter Steve Manes was sick of the big hole left in his floor by a plumber who'd replaced a leaky radiator pipe. The landlord wasn't responding to his complaints, so Manes decided to plug the crater himself. His choice for fill: two 60-pound bags of dry dog food, left over when his beloved pooch died two months prior. "I poured it in the hole, then topped it off with concrete," Manes said. "Problem solved." Problem caused: A year later the ceiling in the apartment below caved in, splattering the place with 120 pounds of "rusty-looking brown stuff." No doubt that got the landlord's attention.

2. 'Shallowest Thinker With the Deepest Conviction' Award
Henry Mora, convinced by a metal detector that there was a cache of gold buried in his yard, started digging. And digging. And digging. By the time alarmed neighbors called authorities, Mora was 60 feet in and had a pair of helpers hoisting buckets of dirt out of the unreinforced hole. "We told him, 'You're done,'" Montclair, California, fire Capt. Rich Baldwin told the Associated Press. "It's amazing no one got killed." Somewhat less amazing that no one hit pay dirt.

3. Award for 'Worst Use of a Power Tool'
Some mishaps make hammering your thumb seem like a good idea. Take 59-year-old August Voegl, who, while working atop a house, slipped and shot a 4-inch spike from an air-¬≠compressed nail gun through his pants and into the roof—via his left testicle. Fortunately, the ¬≠paramedics were able to pry him loose and airlift him to a hospital, where he recovered. For you, Mr. Voegl, in addition to the Black-and-Blue Thumb recognition, we have two words of advice: athletic cup.

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