Derek Schaible, Idaho State University Pianist, Blows Off Fingers With Spud Cannon

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Bill Schaefer/Idaho State Journal
Derek Schaible isn't the first person to severely injure himself with a spud cannon, and most certainly won't be the last. But when worried moms warn their kids against building the homemade boomsticks in the future, his will probably be one of the first stories they tell.

It happened yesterday in Pocatello, Idaho. The Idaho State Journal reports that a neighbor, Paul Dial, was watching the Jets-Patriots game when he heard a boom that "shook the pictures on the wall."

Running next door, he found Schaible, a young music-performance major at Idaho State University--a pianist--covering up his mutilated right hand, which was now missing its pinky, ring, and middle fingers.

Describing it, Dial tells the Journal:

When Schaible turned to face Dial, he was covering his mutilated right hand with his left hand, saying, "What have I done, what have I done."

Seconds before, Schaible had been holding a spud cannon, or potato gun--which, for those who've never had the pleasure of firing one, amounts to a pipe bomb with an opening at one end that shoots potatoes at ludicrous velocities.

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Schaible was apparently using black powder in the gun instead of the marginally less dangerous hairspray that most folks use.

Obviously, that was a bad idea.

Schaible was even supposed to play a Martin Luther King Jr. celebration concert at a church later that day.

Instead, he's in a hospital bed, likely wondering if he'll play much of anything ever again.

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