Darwin Awards 1999
The true high point of the e-mail year has arrived. Yes, it is the 1999
Darwin Awards. For those sheltered few of you who are not fully aware
of the Darwin Awards; these awards are given annually (and posthumously)
to those individuals who did the most for the human gene pool by removing
themselves from it.
A 22-year-old Reston man was found dead yesterday after he tried to use
'occy' straps (the stretchy little ropes with hooks on each end) to bungee
jump off a 70-foot railroad trestle, police said. Fairfax County police
said Eric A. Barcia, a fast-food worker, taped a bunch of these straps
together, wrapped an end around one foot, anchored the other end to the
trestle at Lake Accotink Park, jumped... and hit the pavement. Warren
Carmichael, a police spokesman, said investigators think Barcia was alone
because his car was found nearby. "The length of the cord that he had
assembled was greater than the distance between the trestle and the ground,"
Carmichael said. Police say the apparent cause of death was "major trauma."
An autopsy is scheduled for later in the week.
LAUNCHED ON THE FOURTH OF JULY
Three young men in Oklahoma were enjoying the upcoming Fourth of July
holiday and wanted to apparently test fire some fireworks. Their only
real problem was that their launch pad and seating arrangements were atop
a several hundred thousand gallon fuel distillation storage tank. Oddly
enough, some fumes were ignited, producing a fireball seen for miles.
They were launched several hundred feet into the air and were found dead
250 yards from their respective seats.
DON'T ASK GOD TO PROVE HIMSELF, HE JUST MIGHT
A lawyer and two buddies were fishing on Caddo Lake in Texas when a lightning
storm hit the lake. Most of the other boats immediately headed for the
shore, but not our friend the lawyer. Alone on the rear of his aluminum
bass boat with his buddies, this individual stood up, spread his arms
wide (crucifixion style) and shouted: "HERE I AM LORD, LET ME HAVE IT!"
Needless to say, God delivered. The other two passengers on the boat survived
the lightning strike with minor burns.
A man in Alabama died from rattlesnake bites. Big deal you may say, but
there's a twist here that makes him a candidate. It seems he and a friend
were playing catch with a rattlesnake. You can guess what happened from
here. The friend (a future Darwin Awards candidate) was hospitalized.
THEY SAY THOSE THINGS WILL KILL YOU
Not much was given to me on this unlucky fellow, but he qualifies nonetheless.
You see, there was a gentleman from Korea who was killed by his cell phone...
more or less. He was doing the usual "walking and talking" when he walked
into a tree and managed to somehow break his neck. Keep that in mind the
next time you decide to drive and dial at the same time.
GIMME A LIGHT!
In a west Texas town, employees in a medium-sized warehouse noticed the
smell of gas. Sensibly, management evacuated the building, extinguishing
all potential sources of ignition-lights, power, etc. After the building
had been evacuated, two technicians from the gas company were dispatched.
Upon entering the building, they found they had difficulty navigating
in the dark. To their frustration, none of the lights worked. Witnesses
later described the vision of one of the technicians reaching into his
pocket and retrieving an object that resembled a lighter. Upon operation
of the lighter-like object, the gas in the are house exploded, sending
pieces of it up to three miles away. Nothing was found of the technicians,
but the lighter was virtually untouched by the explosion. The technician
that was suspected of causing the explosion had never been thought of
as "bright" by his peers.
A Vermont native, Ronald Demuth, found himself in a difficult position
yesterday. While touring the Eagle's Rock African Safari (Zoo) with a
group of thespians from St. Petersburg, Russia, Mr. Demuth went overboard
to show them one of America's many marvels. He demonstrated the effectiveness
of "Crazy Glue"... the hard way. Apparently, Mr. Demuth wanted to demonstrate
just how good the adhesive was, so he put about 3 ounces of the adhesive
in the palms of his hands, and jokingly placed them on the buttocks of
a passing rhino. The rhino, a resident of the zoo for the past thirteen
years, was not initially startled as it has been part of the petting exhibit
since its arrival as a baby. However, once it became aware of its being
involuntarily stuck to Mr. Demuth, it began to panic and ran around the
petting area wildly making Mr. Demuth an unintended passenger. "Sally
[the rhino] hasn't been feeling well lately. She had been very constipated.
We had just given her a laxative and some depressants to relax her bowels,
when Mr.Demuth played his juvenile prank," said James Douglass, caretaker.
During Sally's tirade two fences were destroyed, a shed wall was gored,
and a number of small animals escaped. Also, during the stampede, three
pygmy goats and one duck were stomped to death. As for Demuth, it took
a team of medics and zoo caretakers' to remove his hands from her buttocks.
First, the animal had to be captured and calmed down. However, during
this process the laxatives began to take hold and Mr. Demuth was repeatedly
showered with over 30 gallons of rhino diarrhea. "It was tricky. We had
to calm her down, while at the same time shield our faces from being pelted
with rhino dung. I guess you could say that Mr. Demuth was into it up
to his neck. Once she was under control, we had three people with shovels
working to keep an air passage open for Mr. Demuth. We were able to tranquilize
her and apply a solvent to remove his hands from her rear," said Douglass.
I don't think he'll be playing with Crazy Glue for a while." Meanwhile,
the Russians, while obviously amused, also were impressed with the power
of the adhesive. "I'm going to buy some for my children, but of course
they can't take it to the zoo," commented Vladimir Zolnikov, leader of
CLEANER POLISHES OFF PATIENTS
"For several months, our nurses have been baffled to find a patient dead
in the same bed every Friday morning," a spokeswoman for the Pelonomi
Hospital (Free State, South Africa) told reporters. "There was no apparent
cause for any of the deaths, and extensive checks on the air conditioning
system, and a search for possible bacterial infection, failed to reveal
any clues. However, further inquiries have now revealed the cause of these
deaths... It seems that every Friday morning a cleaning lady would enter
the ward, remove the plug that powered the patient's life support system,
plug her floor polisher into the vacant socket, then go about her business.
When she had finished her chores, she would plug the life support machine
back in and leave, unaware that the patient was now dead. She could not,
after all, hear the screams and eventual death rattle over the whirring
of her polisher. We are sorry, and have sent a strong letter to the cleaner
in question. Further, the Free State Health and Welfare Department is
arranging for an electrician to fit an extra socket, so there should be
no repetition of this incident. The inquiry is now closed." (Cape Times).
DARWIN AWARD RUNNERS-UP:
#1 - LOS ANGELES, CA. Ani Saduki, 33, and his brother decided to
remove a bees' nest from a shed on their property with the aid of a 'pineapple'.
A 'pineapple' is an illegal firecracker which is the explosive equivalent
of one-half stick of dynamite. They ignited the fuse and retreated to
watch from inside their home, behind a window some 10 feet away from the
hive/shed. The concussion of the explosion shattered the window inwards,
seriously lacerating Ani. Deciding Mr. Saduki needed stitches, the brothers
headed out to go to a nearby hospital. While walking towards their car,
Ani was stung three times by the surviving bees. Unbeknownst to either
brother, Ani was allergic to bee venom, and died of suffocation en-route
to the hospital.
#2 - MINNEAPOLIS, MN. Derrick L. Richards, 28, was charged in
April in with third-degree murder in the death of his beloved cousin,
Kenneth E. Richards. According to police, Derrick suggested a game of
Russian roulette and put a semiautomatic pistol (instead of the more traditional
revolver) to Ken's head and fired.
#3 - PHILLIPSBURG, NJ. An unidentified 29 year old male choked
to death on a sequined pastie he had orally removed from an exotic dancer
at a local establishment. "I didn't think he was going to eat it," the
dancer identified only as "Ginger" said, adding "He was really drunk."
#4 - MOSCOW, Russia. A drunk security man asked a colleague at
the Moscow bank they were guarding to stab his bulletproof vest to see
if it would protect him against a knife attack. It didn't, and the 25-year-old
guard died of a heart wound. (It's good to see the Russians getting into
the spirit of the Darwin Awards.)
#5 - In FRANCE, Jacques LeFevrier left nothing to chance when
he decided to commit suicide. He stood at the top of a tall cliff and
tied a noose around his neck. He tied the other end of the rope to a large
rock. He drank some poison and set fire to his clothes. He even tried
to shoot himself at the last moment. He jumped and fired the pistol. The
bullet missed him completely and cut through the rope above him. Free
of the threat of hanging, he plunged into the sea. The sudden dunking
extinguished the flames and made him vomit the poison. He was dragged
out of the water by a kind fisherman and was taken to a hospital, where
he died of hypothermia.
#6 - RENTON, WASHINGTON, USA. A Renton, Washington man tried to
commit a robbery. This was probably his first attempt, as suggested by
the fact that he had no previous record of violent crime, and by his terminally
stupid choices as listed below: 1. The target was H&J Leather & Firearms...a
gun shop. 2. The shop was full of customers, in a state where a substantial
portion of the adult population is licensed to carry concealed handguns
in public places. 3. To enter the shop, he had to step around a marked
Police patrol car parked at the front door. 4. An officer in uniform was
standing next to the counter, having coffee before reporting to duty.
Upon seeing the officer, the would-be robber announced a holdup and fired
a few wild shots. The officer and a clerk promptly returned fire, removing
him from the gene pool. Several other customers also drew their guns,
but didn't fire. No one else was hurt.
AND THE 1999 DARWIN AWARD WINNER IS.....
THOMPSON, MANITOBA, CANADA. Telephone relay company night watchman
Edward Baker, 31, was killed early Christmas morning by excessive microwave
radiation exposure. He was apparently attempting to keep warm next to
a telecommunications feed-horn. Baker had been suspended on a safety violation
once last year, according to Northern Manitoba Signal Relay spokesperson
Tanya Cooke. She noted that Baker's earlier infraction was for defeating
a safety shut-off switch and entering a restricted maintenance catwalk
in order to stand in front of the microwave dish. He had told coworkers
that it was the only way he could stay warm during his twelve-hour shift
at the station, where winter temperatures often dip to forty below zero.
Microwaves can heat water molecules within human tissue in the same way
that they heat food in microwave ovens. For his Christmas shift, Baker
reportedly brought a twelve pack of beer and a plastic lawn chair, which
he positioned directly in line with the strongest microwave beam. Baker
had not been told about a tenfold boost in microwave power planned that
night to handle the anticipated increase in holiday long-distance calling
traffic. Baker's body was discovered by the daytime watchman, John Burns,
who was greeted by an odor he mistook for a Christmas roast he thought
Baker must have prepared as a surprise. Burns also reported to NMSR company
officials that Baker's unfinished beers had exploded.