Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Darwin Was On The Right Track

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If you haven't yet this morning been moved to ask, "What the hell is wrong with people?!" here's your chance. These Darwin Awards are, I believe, from 2006, but they're always timeless, always hysterical, always thought provoking (because, yes, we are capable of thought), no matter what the year is. Darwin Awards are, of course, the annual "Honor" given to the persons who did the gene pool the biggest service by killing themselves in the most extraordinarily stupid way. I don't mean to be insensitive here, and one never wants to hear of someone's death, no matter how moronic, but they are funny in a warped, morgue-humor sort of way.

And the nominees were:

Semifinalist #6
A young Canadian man, searching for a way of getting drunk cheaply, because he had no money with which to buy alcohol, mixed gasoline with milk. Not surprisingly, this concoction made him ill, and he vomited into the fireplace in his house. The resulting explosion and fire burned his house down, killing both him and his sister.

Semifinalist #5
Three Brazilian men were flying in a light aircraft at low altitude when another plane approached. It appears that they decided to moon the occupants of the other plane, but lost control of their own aircraft and crashed. They were all found dead in the wreckage with their pants around their ankles.

Semifinalist #4
A 22-year-old Reston, Virginia, man was found dead after he tried to use octopus straps to bungee jump off a 70-foot railroad trestle. Fairfax County police said Eric 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."

Semifinalist #3
A man in Alabama died from rattlesnake bites. It seems that he and a friend were playing a game of catch, using the rattlesnake as a ball. The friend - no doubt a future Darwin Awards candidate - was hospitalized.

Semifinalist #2
Employees in a medium-sized warehouse in west Texas noticed the smell of a gas leak. 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 sight of one of the technicians reaching into his pocket and retrieving an object that resembled a cigarette lighter. Upon operation of the lighter-like object, the gas in the warehouse 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 suspected of causing the blast had never been thought of as "bright" by his peers.

And now, the #1 Darwin Award winner:

The Arizona Highway Patrol came upon a pile of smoldering metal embedded in the side of a cliff rising above the road at the apex of a curve. The wreckage resembled the site of an airplane crash, but it was a car. The type of car was unidentifiable at the scene. Police investigators finally pieced together the mystery. An amateur Rocket Scientist had somehow gotten hold of a JATO unit (Jet Assisted Take Off, actually a solid fuel rocket) that is used to give heavy military transport planes an extra "push" for taking off from short airfields. He had driven his Chevy Impala out into the desert and found a long, straight stretch of road. He attached the JATO unit to the car, jumped in, got up some speed, and fired off the JATO!

The facts as best as could be determined are that the operator of the 1967 Impala hit the JATO ignition at a distance of approximately 3.0 miles from the crash site. This was established by the scorched and melted asphalt at that location. The JATO, if operating properly, would have reached maximum thrust within 5 seconds, causing the Chevy to reach speeds well in excess of 350 mph and continuing at full power for an additional 20-25 seconds. The driver, and soon to be pilot, would have experienced G-forces usually reserved for dog-fighting F-14 jocks under full afterburners, causing him to become irrelevant for the remainder of the event. However, the automobile remained on the straight highway for about 2.5 miles (15-20 seconds) before the driver applied and completely melted the brakes, blowing the tires and leaving thick rubber marks on the road surface, then becoming airborne for an additional 1.4 miles and impacting the cliff face at a height of 125 feet, leaving a blackened crater 3 feet deep in the rock.

Most of the driver's remains were not recoverable. However, small fragments of bone, teeth, and hair were extracted from the crater, and fingernail and bone shards were removed from a piece of debris believed to be a portion of the steering wheel.

Epilogue: It has been calculated that this moron attained a ground speed of approximately 420-mph, though much of his voyage was not on the ground.

And now a small, completely gratis PSA: If you're so inclined, you could write me a poem today about your choice of a potential Darwin Award nominee.


VE said...

Well, hate to be the spoiler, but the Darwin winner there was a classic urban legend that goes back as early as 1960 though it had big circulation back in 1995. I guess it would be physically impossible to make the car airborne and that putting one of those units on a car without having it immediately just spin is quite difficult. But not all Darwin awards are myth; there are indeed plenty of stupid people out there.

leelee said...

scary...just plain scary.


Serena Joy said...

I didn't verify it -- obviously -- but I can't say I'm surprised. There are certainly plenty of sufficiently stupid people out there to win these awards every day -- and a hell of a lot of myths masquerading as truth (and vice versa).

Serena Joy said...

EVERYthing's scary these days, Leelee. I'm stocking my bunker.:)
HUGS back atcha.

Anonymous said...

i love
the darwins
follow them for
about 10 years now

tho i think that ve is right about that 'perpetual #1' story being a myth ( but still entertaining after all these years :)

thanks, serena -- and i hope you're having a great tuesday!

¤ ¤ ¤


Serena Joy said...

Thank you, /t. I'm having a marvelous Tuesday. Hope you are, too.:)

Simon Sterwin said...

My favourite Darwin award was for the guy who wanted to drink beer in his garden while hovering in his chair.

So he took his chair into the garden, attached 100 helium balloons to it, opened his beer, floated one mile into the air and froze to death.

That is clearly very silly.

BTW I am now blogging again, Serena. My new place is accessible from my profile. :)

Little Wing said...

Can we all bow our heads in a moment of silent prayer for the ffigging idiots among us!!!!!!!!!
Great post Serena!

Serena Joy said...

I'm still getting used to calling you Simon, but I'm really glad to hear you're back to blogging. I'm coming over to visit you ASAP. I hadn't heard the hovering helium beer garden story before. LMAO!:-)

Thanks, LW. Yep, if there's one thing we can make book on, it's that we'll never run out of idiots.:)

Charles said...

[a hell of a lot of myths masquerading as truth (and vice versa).] Uh, can you say "GW's view on global warming and anything else scientific"?
♪♫We're following the leader♪ the leader, ♫the leader, ♫where ever he may go.♫♪
Me thinks, it'll be straight to hell.

Darn it! That's a song, not a poem about a potential Darwin Award nominee.

I think that I will never see
Something karmic as could be,
Marine One shortening G Dubya B.

Serena Joy said...

Only 8 more months, Charles. Barring lame-duck debacles, we just might live through it. Cute poem. You could set it to music and we could all sing along.:)

Little Lamb said...

I laughed at Semifinalist #5. Now that was funny, in a tragic sort of way.

Serena Joy said...

I know what you mean, Lamby -- funny, but nonetheless pretty tragic. Which, I guess, is why they won a Darwin.:)

ThatGreenyFlower said...

Oh my God, could those possibly be TRUE? I laughed until I cried. Oy. *wipes eyes*

There once was a fellow so dim
That a good idea--seemed so to him--
Was to drink milk with gas
Then get sicker than ass
In his fireplace. Take cover, Jim!!

Hale McKay said...

I could only come up a song parodyfor #1:

He flew through the air with the greatest of ease,
That stupid young man was not on a trapeze.
His movements were graceful as he was flying that day
And his very life he has purloined away.

I've seen these before, albeit tragic, they are nonetheless funny in a morbid way.

Serena Joy said...

I don't know if they're true, Greeny. If they aren't, they should be. LOL. Love that limerick.:)

Sometimes there's great humor in morbid, Mike. Go figure. Great melody to your song parody.:-)

Skunkfeathers said...

It has been suggested that each storm chase season hyarbouts, I try out for my own Darwin Award. My auditions will be in June ;)

A poem? I suck at poetry, but what the horsefeathers:

Violets are red, roses are blue,
like driving a rocket,
I f***ed that up, too.
Nominee ;)

Serena Joy said...

Look out come June, Skunkfeathers. I just might beat you out for that award. God knows I'm qualified.:D