It's not getting any smarter out there.
Once upon a time, an English naturalist named Charles Darwin came to
the stunning realization that, given time enough, completely new
species of animal and plant could arise based on the passing of traits
favorable to the environment in which they lived down to their
The logical corollary was the commonsense notion that creatures that
were lacking in certain respects--for instance, a pigeon that persists
in pecking fleas off a sleeping cat, or a man who goes ice-fishing with
dynamite--tend to leave fewer offspring than those with the good sense
to try to think things through.
In this spirit, the Darwin Awards were born. Described by its
founder, Wendy Northcutt, as the place Where evolution meets the
pavement, the Darwin Awards pays tribute to those who have bravely and
nobly sacrificed themselves through incredible stupidity, thus adding a
smidgen of chlorine to the human gene pool. As stupidity is a
limitless resource, the site is constantly updated, and houses stories
that go back years. Readers can contribute stories, vote on
existing tales of tongue-in-cheek imbecility, and argue with
like-minded fans in the forums.
In order to qualify for a Darwin, the lucky person must meet a very strict set of criteria:
-he must exercise an incredible degree of misjudgment (in other words, he gets extra credit for sheer creativity);
-he must be mature, and thus be at least theoretically able to use his faculties, i.
e., old enough to know better;
-the incident must be verifiably true;
-he must be the ACCIDENTAL cause of his own demise; or, if still alive:
-he must be rendered permanently incapable of reproduction (feel free to imagine how that works).
Of course, those who come close to offing themselves due to their own
stupidity without actually dying rate at least an honorable mention.
While the stories archived on the site are often somewhat cautionary in
tone, it is a truism that even death has its wryly humorous side. And
so, we are encouraged to laugh a bit at the self-created misfortunes of
others, all the while reflecting that the majority of us have done
things on occasion capable of earning ourselves a place among such
august company, alongside mental giants such as the Florida man who
swam out to swim with a school of sharks, the Zimbabwe native who
attempted to kill the elephants in his cornfield with an armload of
scavenged land mines, or the poor man from Brazil who tried to check
the vapor levels in an empty gasoline tank with a cigarette lighter...