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April 14: Titanic Meets Its Doom


On this day in 1912, 20 minutes to midnight, the passenger liner Titanic crashed into an iceberg. During the sinking of the ship, there wasn’t a cooler head aboard than Charles Joughin, the chief baker. He was also the drunkest. In between large belts of booze, he made sure the life boats were provisioned with food, he carried women and children to safety, sometimes against their will, and threw deck chairs over the side for use as flotation devices. Declining to take a seat aboard a life boat, got a grip on a rail, drank up, and, showing remarkable balance, rode the ship down like an elevator. He was the last survivor to leave the ship. He was so loaded by then that he claimed the water didn’t even feel cold. Then, amazingly, he tread freezing water for three hours before swimming to a life boat, and came away with no ill effects except for swollen feet. Medical experts were confounded. They finally came to the conclusion the massive level of alcohol in his system kept him from going into shock. So there you go. If the ship starts going down, it’s time to drink up.