Darwin comes to the rescue


I’m not exactly the brightest guy in the world.

Coastal Point • File Photo

There have been insipid decisions in my personal life, random accidents around the house that result in spectators scratching their heads and comments that escape my mouth in a random rush that leaves me little chance of stopping them before they hit their target.

These little moments of cranial combustion often leave me feeling a little down on myself. I start to question everything I do and every decision I make. There ultimately comes a time when I sit back and wonder if everyone on the planet is as much a simp as I am.

That’s when I turn to my man, Darwin.

Well, it’s not exactly Charles Darwin I’m talking about today. No, these are the annual Darwin Awards, and every time I start to feel like I’m one of the most brain-dead people on the planet, I look up the annual Darwin awards and feel a little better about myself.

For those of you unaware of Charles Darwin’s work, perhaps the best way to sum it up is his belief that the strong survive in nature, and the weak eventually weed themselves out and disappear. As the header goes with the Darwin Awards, “Deaths That Lead to Improvement of the Gene Pool.”

Without further adieu, I present some of the knuckleheaded maneuvers of the past year that made the cut with the Darwin Awards:

• A 41-year-old man in Detroit met an unfortunate end when he accidentally dropped his car keys through an 18-inch sewer grate. He stuck his head through the grate to retrieve said keys, got wedged and eventually drowned in about 2 feet of water.

What’s the lesson to be learned from this? Well, it’s probably safe to start with the basic premise of not sticking your head anywhere near a sewer. Forget the fear of death for a second. That’s just plain icky.

• A stockbroker in San Francisco, “who totally zoned when he ran,” was so locked in to what he was doing that he accidentally jogged off a 100-foot cliff while running.

I don’t blame him at all for wanting to run downhill, but, um, wow.

• I love to have a little gamble in my life. Poker, blackjack, betting Shaun Lambert on how long a piece of snow will last on the ground before it melts completely, whatever. I like the excitement. However, a 26-year-old man was highlighted in the 2008 Darwin Awards for a rather moronic bet he made with some friends. Sylvester Briddell Jr. died when he bet that he would put a revolver loaded with four bullets into his mouth and pull the trigger.

Hooray for Briddell. He won the bet.

• A 24-year-old man made his mark on the world when he was breaking into a bicycle shop. As he was attempting to gain access through the ceiling, he crashed through and fell to the ground, pushing the flashlight he had in his mouth through his skull and killing himself instantly.

That one’s pretty self-explanatory, huh?

• A married couple was driving around late at night when they got a little bored and decided to light a quarter-stick of dynamite and toss it out the car window. They should have probably taken a quick peek to see if the window was open when they threw the dynamite. They didn’t. It wasn’t. They made the list.

I’ve heard of people trying to put the fireworks back into their marriage, but ... really? Maybe instead of dynamite, the two should have gotten together for a little fun with some raw plutonium or maybe they could have played a game with four bullets in a revolver and ...

But I digress.

• My favorite of the year was the ultimate “winner” — a German zookeeper who was trying to help an elephant who was feeling a little constipated. The zookeeper fed the elephant 22 doses of animal laxative and more than a bushel of berries, figs and prunes before the elephant found a little relief — as the poor zookeeper was standing behind him with an olive oil enema in hand.

They found the zookeeper dead under 200 pounds of sweet elephant relief.

And you thought you hated your job.