>The 2008 Darwin Awards

>Amazingly I haven’t had the fake ones emailed to me yet this year. Either people are starting to figure this stuff out or I’m less popular than I used to be. My money’s on option 2.

Don’t forget to visitDarwinAwards.comfor a lot more of this stuff.


THE DARWIN AWARDS:  A Chronicle of Enterprising Demises.
Honoring those individuals who improve the human race… by accidentally removing themselves from it!

Celebrate Charles Darwin’s 200th Birthday on February 12, 2009.

2008 Darwin Award Winner: BALLOON PRIEST (Padre Baloneiro)

April 2008, Atlantic Ocean | A Catholic priest ascended to heaven on a host of helium party balloons, paying homage to Lawn Chair Larry’s aerial adventure. Larry, the beloved survivor of a Darwin-worthy fiasco, attached 45 helium weather balloons to his lawnchair, packed a picnic lunch, and cut the tether–but instead of drifting above the Los Angeles landscape as planned, he was rocketed into LAX air traffic lanes by the lift of the weather balloons. Astoundingly, Larry survived the flight.

Adelir Antonio, 51, was not so lucky.

His audacious attempt to set a world record for clustered balloon flight was intended to publicize his plan to build a spiritual rest stop for truckers. But, as truckers know, sitting for 19 hours in a lawn chair is not a trivial matter even in the comfort of your own backyard. The priest took numerous safety precautions, including wearing a survival suit, selecting a buoyant chair, and packing a satellite phone and a GPS. However, the late Adelir Antonio made a fatal mistake.

He did not know how to use the GPS.

The winds changed, as winds do, and he was blown inexorably toward open sea. He could have parachuted to safety while over land, but chose not to. When the voyager was perilously lost at sea, he prudently phoned for help–but rescuers were unable to determine his location, since he could not use his GPS. He struggled with the unit as the charge on the satellite phone dwindled.

Instead of a GPS, the priest let God be his guide, and God guided him straight to heaven. Bits of balloons began appearing on mountains and beaches. Ultimately the priest’s body surfaced, confirming that he, like Elvis, had left the building.

The kicker? It’s a Double Darwin. Catholic priests take vows of celibacy. Since they voluntarily remove themselves from the gene pool, the entire group earns a mass Darwin Award. Adelir Antonio wins twice over!

Reader comment: “There but for the grace of Tecumseh…”
See a photo:

“We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.” –Benjamin Franklin

2008 Darwin Award Runner Up: A ONE TRACK MIND

July 2008, Italy | Gerhard, 68, was queued at a traffic light in his Porsche Cayenne sportscar.  Before one reaches the light, there is a railroad crossing, and Gerhard had not let the queue progress forward far enough before he drove onto the tracks.  As you might imagine, given Murphy’s Law, a train was coming.

The safety bars came down, leaving the Porsche trapped on the rails.  According to witnesses, it took the driver awhile to realize he was stuck.  Finally he jumped from the car and started to run–straight toward the oncoming train, waving his arms in an attempt to save his sportscar!

The attempt was partly successful.  The car received less damage than its owner, who landed 30 meters away.  Attempts to revive him were unsuccessful.

The moral of the story? Momentum always wins.

Pithy Comments:

“Life is tough, but it’s tougher when you’re stupid.” –John Wayne

2008 Darwin Award Runner Up: THOU SHALT NOT STEEL

March 2008, Czech Republic | Steel is valuable, especially the especially the high-grade alloy used in steel cable. Scrap metal dealers do not ask questions. They pay in cash. And a good supply of steel cable can be found in elevator shafts.

This particular gold mine was a towering shaft inside an empty granary near Zatec, forty miles northwest of Prague. The cable was tightly fastened, and the far end of it disappeared into the shadowy distance above.

After substantial wear and tear on a hacksaw, our man finally cut through the strong steel cable. At that instant the counterbalance, no longer held in check, started to move silently downward, accelerating until it reached the bottom of the shaft.

Result: one proud winner of a “terminal velocity” Darwin Award.


“Do not steel or you will get the shaft.”
More Puns:

“Think of it as evolution in action.”

2008 Darwin Award Runner Up: ON THE PISTE

February 2008, Italy | David, 46, was sliding down an Italian ski slope one night, riding on padding that he had removed from the safety barriers at the bottom of the run. It did not occur to him that it might be dangerous to sled down the same slope from which he had stolen protective padding.

Sauze d’Oulx is one of five villages that make up the “Milky Way” ski area in northern Italy. Popular with British skiers, the resort is known for its party atmosphere. A ski resort spokesperson said, “The men had all been drinking when they tore off the padding, and ironically…”

…they careened straight into the bare barriers at the bottom of the piste (groomed slope). David died from head and chest injuries inflicted by the unpadded metal. Two of his friends survived with medical attention. Another Darwin Award candidate is still missing after he wandered away “bloodied and distressed.”


“No drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society.  If we’re looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn’t test people for drugs.  We should test them for stupidity.”–P.J.O’Rou

2008 Darwin Award Runner Up: CLOTHESLINED!

January 2008, Florida | Wearing only swim trunks and sneakers, a 37-year-old man raced his motorcycle toward the Manasota Key drawbridge. As the bridge began to open, it was clear that he intended to “shoot the gap.” Bridge designers had anticipated such lunacy and invented the crossing guard. The closing gates swept him off his Suzuki, over the side of the bridge, into the water, and out of the gene pool. By a twist of fate the motorcycle continued up the ramp and made it across to the other side.



2008 Darwin Award Runner-Up: PIERCED!

January 2008, Pennsylvania | A 23-year-old man with various body piercings decided to have some fun at work.  He wondered, “What it would feel like to connect the electronic control tester to my chest piercings?”  Several coworkers tried to convince him that it was a bad idea to wire himself up to the electronic device, but he ignored their pleas.

He proceeded to connect two alligator clips to his metal nipple piercings, one on each side, and hit the test button… His coworkers were still trying to revive him with CPR and rescue breathing when police and rescue personnel arrived. They were not successful.


“If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions?” -Scott Adams

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