THE DARWIN AWARDS
The Charles Darwin Award is an annual honor presented
posthumously to the person or persons who do the world genetic
gene pool the greatest service by exterminating themselves in the
most extraordinarily stupid way -- before reproducing in kind.
These are the stories of people so stupid that you wish someone
would put chlorine in the gene pool.
Unfortunately in recent years, due to medical miracles and
plain dumb luck, many Darwin wannabes have somehow managed to
Portland, OR] Doctors at Portland’s University Hospital said
Wednesday an Oregon man shot through the skull by a hunting arrow is
lucky to be alive, and will be released soon from the hospital.
Roberts, 25, lost his right eye during an initiation into a men’s
rafting club, Mountain Men Anonymous, in Grants Pass, OR.
A friend tried to shoot a beer can off
his head, but the arrow entered Roberts’ right eye.
said had the arrow gone 1 millimeter to the left, a major blood
vessel would have cut and Roberts would have died instantly.
Neurosurgeon Dr. Johnny Delashaw at the University Hospital in
admitted afterwards he and his friends had been drinking that
afternoon. Said Roberts, “I feel so dumb about this.”
wonders if "dumb" is strong enough to adequately
describe the situation. Furthermore there appear to be serious
overtones of "group" stupidity as opposed to
"lone wolf" stupidity. This story plus the one below
should offer a powerful message regarding the virtues of
pictures of similar incident)
Bridge Jumper Injured
story was noticed in the May 7th Houston Chronicle. A man barely survived a leap off a high bridge over the Intercoastal
waterway near Surfside. He was knocked unconscious, but was fished
from the water by a passing boat. The man ended up with his back looking as if “a
cheese grater” had scraped it raw.
the Chronicle decided to spare this man the humiliation of adding
his name to the story. The
43-year-old man, who lives with friends in Freeport, landed on his
back after making the estimated 100-foot leap from a Texas 332
bridge about 4:15 pm Saturday, May 6, 2000, said Surfside police
Cpl Becky Huffman.
Huffman was quoted as saying, “I don’t
know how he lived. The bridge is about eight stories high!”
the man told her he had started on his second 12-pack of beer when he
decided to find out what it was like to jump. Officer Huffman added
that as the man was placed in the ambulance, he mumbled to her that in
retrospect this was a pretty dumb idea.
was in tremendous pain. He looked
like somebody took a cheese grater and rubbed his back,” Huffman
was listed in stable but guarded condition at the local hospital.
there was a candidate for Darwin Award Consideration, this guy is
Eliminate Stupidity – Reinstate
Darwinian Principles Immediately!!
Written by Leonard Pitts, Jr
Columnist for Knight-Ridder Newspapers,
This article appeared in the Houston Chronicle on 05-26-00
So here’s the question: How stupid are you?
Let’s say on a scale of one to 10, how stupid do you
Yes, I know I’m being awfully rude. It’s just that
lately I find myself deeply annoyed at the way your feeblemindedness –
and more importantly, mine – are considered a foregone conclusion by
the people who make and market the stuff we buy.
I refer you to the fine print of an automotive ad I
saw the other day on television. Doesn’t matter which one, because
they’re all the same. The computer-enhanced image shows the car
performing some can’t-be-done feat – driving up a wall, let’s say
– and the text at the bottom invariably admonishes: ”Professional
driver on closed course. Please do not attempt.”
Whew. Glad they told me. Otherwise, I might have tried
to drive my minivan to the observation deck of the Empire State
I wrote a column about cautions like this a couple of
years ago. “Idiot warnings”, I called them, as in, those warnings
that would insult Homer Simpson’s intelligence, much less the
intelligence of couple of smart cookies like you and me. It wasn’t a
car ad that set me off that time, but a flimsy toy hard hat whose makers
found it necessary to tell buyers that it provided no protection against
My rant resonated with readers, many of whom sent it
idiot warnings of their own. Like a bread-pudding container that says,
“Product will be hot after heating.” Or the iron that cautions,
“Do not iron clothes on body.” Or a chain saw that admonished, “Do
not attempt to stop chain with your hands.”
Wait, there’s more.
|How a windshield sunshade that
says, “Don’t operate vehicle with shade in place?” |
lights that say, “For indoor or outdoor use only.” |
|The sleep aid
that says, “Warning: may cause drowsiness.” |
|Or my personal
favorite, the Superman costume that wants you to know, “This
costume will not enable wearer to fly.”|
One imagines some guy perched
on the roof, wearing his costume with the
big “S” on his chest , fists thrust out
before him and getting ready to fly. Just
before he jumps, a move that would clearly improve the gene pool, he
reads the warning and frowns. Shocked to discover his suit will
not grant him flying abilities, he says “Darn”,
then walks away from the edge.
Don’t get me wrong. I understand why people who make
stuff find it necessary to insult the intelligence of those who buy it.
In these litigious days, it’s not inconceivable that a corporation
might wind up paying a multimillion-dollar judgment to, say, some doofus
who didn’t realize that a sleep aid might make you sleepy
or a Halloween costume purchaser who hurts himself trying to fly.
(Editor’s note –
Do any of you agree the problem of Idiot Warnings can be traced the
McDonalds incident several years back where a customer
discovered that hot coffee is actually hot? After buying some coffee
to go, the customer spilled the coffee, scalded her hand, and then had
the nerve to sue McDonalds. The real tragedy is some half-brained jury
actually sided with the plaintiff!!
This misguided group
sent the spine-chilling message to corporate America that henceforth
all their customers should be considered to have the IQ of a moron.
The stupidity of the McDonalds jury should be considered for the “Hall of
Shame” along the lines of the OJ Simpson crew. Is it possible that
Darwinian principles are involved in jury selection – the smart get
out of jury duty and only the stupid survive to be picked? Perhaps
some legal observers could offer their opinion on
So corporate America covers its hindquarters by making
the world safe for stupidity. But it occurs to me that in the process,
corporate America also does profound damage to the human species.
Follow me on this.
Remember what you learned in
biology about Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection?
in essence, that the strong survive. Not only that, but they pass their
strength down the genetic line.
The problem is that now, thanks to idiot warnings,
weak survive too. This in turn allows them to pass their weakness down as well. I mean, did
anyone stop to think that maybe the guy who put on the Superman suit and
went up to the roof was actually meant to leap off? Then he reads that
warning and, instead of liquefying himself against the pavement, he
survives. To procreate.
Stupidity, it seems obvious to me, is spreading
In the face of this national emergency, I offer two
proposals: First, that we do away, now and forever, with idiot
warnings. Second, that the federal government supply every man,
woman, and child in this country… a Superman suit.
I know it sounds harsh, but it’s the only way.