Macho Men?
1996 Darwin Awards Winner
Some men will got to extraordinary lengths to prove how macho they are.
Frenchman Pierre Pumpille recently shunted a stationary car two feet by
headbutting it. "Women thought I was a god," he explained from his hospital
Deity or not, however, Pumpille is a veritable girl's blouse compared to Polish
farmer Krystof Azninski, who staked a strong claim to being Europe's most
macho man by cutting off his own head in 1995. Azninski, 30, had been
drinking with friends when it was suggested they strip naked and play some
"men's games". Initially they hit each other over the head with frozen turnips,
but then one man upped the ante by seizing a chainsaw and cutting off the end
of his foot. Not to be outdone, Azninski grabbed the saw and, shouting "Watch
this then," he swung at his own head and chopped it off.

"It's funny," said one companion, "when he was young he put on his sister's
underwear. But he died like a man."

Midnight Special
1992 Darwin Awards Winner
Confirmed True by Darwin
(21 December 1992, North Carolina)
Ken Charles Barger, 47, accidentally shot himself to death in December in
Newton, when, awakening to the sound of a ringing telephone beside his bed,
he reached for the phone but grabbed instead a Smith & Wesson .38 Special,
which discharged when he drew it to his ear. © 1994 - 2006
Reference: Hickory Daily Record

Kite String
DARWIN AWARD (19 March 2006, Belize) Benjamin Franklin is said to have
flown a kite in a lightning storm, to discover whether lightning is the same as
electricity. However, there are certain precautions one must take to avoid
Kennon, 26, recently replicated the conditions of Franklin's experiment, sans
precautions, while flying a kite for his niece. The string was too short, so he
attached a length of thin copper wire...

The copper wire made contact with a high tension line, sending a bolt of
"artificial lightning" down the wire.

Kennon's father told the media his son should have known better, as he's an

Kennon is survived by his parents, six sisters and five brothers.

A Rolling Stone...

2005 Reader Submission
Pending Acceptance
A rolling stone isn't the only thing that collects no moss. Three Vietnam men
scavenging for scrap metal found an unexploded 500 pound bomb perched
atop a hill, and decided to rely on a little help from Sir Isaac Newton to retrieve
it. As they attempted to roll the bomb down the hillside, it detonated, leaving a
four meter wide crater and sending all three of the entrepreneurs to a face to
face meeting with their deceased hero

2005 Reader Submission
Pending Acceptance
DARWIN AWARD (17 April 2006, England) There's always someone who thinks
that good advice doesn't apply to them. For example, if advised by a doctor
that you are to be covered with a flammable material, and the one thing you
must not do is go near a naked flame, most people would be able to take this
advice onboard, and not strike a match until the flammable material smeared on
your body had been taken off.
However, Phillip, 60, decided he knew better. He was in hospital for the
treatment of a skin disease, which consisted of being covered with a
paraffin-based cream. He was warned that the cream was flammable and that
he definitely shouldn't smoke. But Phillip couldn't live without his cigarettes.

Smoking was not permitted in the ward, but Phillip took this setback in stride,
and sneaked out onto a fire escape. Once he was in his little hiding place, he lit
up... ahh. Everything went well as he got his nicotine fix; things went downhill
only after he finished his cigarette, and ground out the butt with his heel.

Unfortunately, the paraffin skin cream had been absorbed by his clothing. As
he stamped out the butt, it lit the fumes coming off his pyjamas. The resulting
inferno treated his skin ailment, and left him with first-degree burns over 70% of
his body. Despite excellent emergency treatment, he died in the intensive care

Using the Darwin checklist:

1.Reproduction -- if he has children, he's not having any more.
2.Excellence -- this is one that I'll remember.
3.Self-Selection -- he was warned that paraffin and flames don't mix.
4.Maturity -- At 60 I'd guess he was old enough to make his own decisions.
5.Veracity -- All the major news carriers in the UK had the story.

This ticks all the boxes, and though I feel sorry for the family, I think that it acts
as a warning that if a doctor tells you not to smoke, there's probably a very
good reason.

The Flyswatter  

2005 Reader Submission
Pending Acceptance
CONFIRMED HONORABLE MENTION (3 April 2004, California) An adult
education teacher named Robert gave 25 students an unexpected and
impromptu lesson in explosive ordinance safety during class one day.
Apparently Robert had found a 40mm shell on a hunting trip years ago. Using
opaque reasoning, Robert figured the round must be inert, and kept it. Not only
did he keep it, he used it as a nifty paperweight on his desk at school. Surely
such a unique decoration would start many interesting conversations. Perhaps
so, but more notably it made Robert a ticking time bomb for a Darwin Award.

One day, Robert spotted a bug crawling across his desk. Did he squash it with
a tissue and dispose of it? Sweep it out the door and continue with his lesson?
Ignore it and leave it to its happy existence? No, he did not. Instead, Robert
picked up the five-inch shell and slammed it down on the unhappy insect. The
impact set off the primer, and the resulting explosion caused severe burns and
lacerations to his hand, and minor shrapnel wounds to his forearms and torso.
No one else in the classroom was hurt.

To Robert's consolation, his actions did succeed in eliminating the bug. I
considered sending Robert a can of bug spray for future use, but bug spray is

Tales from the Finnish Forests  

2005 Reader Submission
Pending Acceptance
In my final year of Med School, I accepted a temporary job as GP in a small
village in the Finnish forests. In Scandinavia, Finland is the butt of many jokes
concerning excessive alcohol consumption, mosquitoes, and trees, so I can't
say I hadn't been warned. However, nothing could have prepared me for the
wounds, and the stories behind them! In defense of the Finnish patients, their
government HAD just halved the taxes on alcohol, but still...
Case 1: A young male I'll call Pekka came in on a Wednesday, as the damages
from a weekend of heavy partying began to bother him. Lacerations and
abrasions covered his entire backside, from his ankles to the top of his head.
Pekka's main concern was a dislocated thumb; it was sticking out 90 degrees
from his palm, and sporting a nice shade of purple.

I ordered X-rays. Luckily for Pekka, he had no fractures anywhere, and we reset
his thumb joint.

How had these damages occurred? Pekka was at the local waterhole, and
decided to drive home with a friend. As they sped along, somewhat faster than
the speed limit as one does when one is young and living in the middle of
nowhere, Pekka realized that the driver was as drunk as he was! He decided to
take action, and get away as fast as possible.

While the driver was preoccupied with a sharp bend in the road, Pekka opened
the passenger door and left the car...

Pekka became a regular customer over the summer, coming in when the
anaesthetic effects of the weekend's libations began to wear off. He came to
have his cast replaced, and the thumb reset, and reset, and reset again... I'm
sure he's still out there working on a Darwin Award!

Case 2: A middle-aged woman came in complaining of a horrible headache,
which had begun a few ours after a car accident two days earlier. She was
driving to work, when she suffered a blackout, and woke up with her car
flipped on its roof. She managed to extricate herself from the car and walk to
work, where she phoned AAA to tow the car.

But the headache had grown steadily worse. She was concerned it might be
whiplash. To demonstrate that the pain was worse when she moved her head,
she suddenly started shaking her head vigorously up and down! The nurse
and I both jumped to intervene, and hold her head until we could fit a collar,
and have the madwoman transported by gurney to Radiology. She had
suffered a fractured cervical vertebra, which luckily hadn't been displaced,
even though she'd done her very best in my office! She, too, lived to tell the
tale, but I am sure she'll soon be a more permanent Darwin winner :)

2005 Reader Submission
Pending Acceptance
PERSONAL ACCOUNT: An example of temper overriding thoughts of safety.
My mate Graeme was watching a Soccer Cup Final on TV with his father and
younger brother, as his mum set about an endless round of household chores.
All the while, she berated Father about his lack of interest in car washing, lawn
mowing, etc. (Guys, you know the drill.)

After ten minutes of ironing and griping, she uttered the classic female
complaint, "You never pay any attention to me!" This met with the usual
response, "Yeah, in a minute," from the sofa. This was the final straw. She
decided to do something about the situation.

Dramatically, she went into the kitchen and returned with a large pair of
scissors, stomped loudly 'round to the back of the TV, grabbed the cable, and
cut though it with one deft movement of the shears. She then made an
involuntary deft movement, flying across the room and crashing against the
door into a smoky, dazed heap.

At that point father and sons started paying attention to her. She survived, and
laughs about it, but Father always appears sheepish when the story is told

Wrong Time, Wrong Place
1990 Darwin Award Nominee
Confirmed True by Darwin
3 February 1990, Washington

Ski Theft Backfires  
1998 Darwin Award Nominee
Confirmed by Darwin
(February 1998) Matthew and his friends were sliding down a Mammoth
Mountain ski run on a foam pad at 3am, when he crashed into a lift tower and
died. His makeshift sledge of yellow foam had been stolen from the legs of a lift
tower on Stump Alley. The cushion is meant to protect skiers who hit the tower,
and the tower Matthew ran into was the one from which he had created his
sledge. There's a moral in there somewhere.

The following mind-boggling attempt at a crime spree appeared to be the
robber's first, due to his lack of a previous record of violence, and his
terminally stupid choices:

1. His target was H&J Leather & Firearms. A gun shop.

2. The shop was full of customers - firearms customers.

3. To enter the shop, the robber had to step around a marked police patrol car
parked at the front door.

4. A uniformed officer was standing at the counter, having coffee before work.

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, covered by
several customers who also drew their guns, thereby removing the confused
criminal from the gene pool.

No one else was hurt