Sunday, June 13, 2004

From Matt & Karen Wills, The Darwin awards

Hard to believe, but another year has passed. Once again, it's time for
the Darwin Award Nominees. The Darwins are awarded every year to
the persons who died in the most stupid manner, thereby removing
themselves from the gene pool.

This year's nine nominees are:
Nominee No. 1:

[San Jose Mercury News]: An unidentified man, using a shotgun like
a club to break a former girlfriend's windshield, accidentally shot
himself to death when the gun discharged, blowing a hole in his gut.

Nominee No. 2:

[Kalamazoo Gazette]: James Burns, 34, (a mechanic) of Alamo, MI,
was killed in March as he was trying to repair what police describe as
a "farm-type truck." Burns got a friend to drive the truck on a highway
while Burns hung underneath so that he could ascertain the source of
a troubling noise. Burns' clothes caught on something, however, and
the other man found Burns "wrapped in the drive shaft! ."

Nominee No. 3:

[Hickory Daily Record]: Ken Charles Barger, 47, accidentally shot
himself to death in December in Newton, NC. 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. (For whatever reason, residents of Southern
states always seem to figure prominently among the Darwin
nominees.)

Nominee No. 4:

[UPI, Toronto]: Police said a lawyer demonstrating the safety of
windows in a downtown Toronto skyscraper crashed through a pane
with his shoulder and plunged 24 floors to his death. A police
spokesman said Garry Hoy, 39, fell into the courtyard of the Toronto
Dominion Bank Tower early Friday evening as he was explaining the
strength of the building's windows to visiting law students. Hoy
previously has conducted demonstrations of window strength
according to police reports. Peter Lawson, managing partner of the
firm Holden Day! Wilson, told the Toronto Sun newspaper that Hoy
was "one of the best and brightest" members of the 200-man
association. (Nice to see another Canadian province getting into the
awards.... The Maritimes always have been heavily involved.)

Nominee No. 5:

[Bloomberg News Service]: A terrible diet and a room with no
ventilation are being blamed for the death of a man who was killed
by his own gas emissions. There was no mark on his body, and an
autopsy showed large amounts of methane gas in his system. His
diet had consisted primarily of beans and cabbage (and a couple of
other things). It was just the right combination of foods. It appears
that the man died in his sleep from breathing the poisonous cloud that
was hanging over his bed. Had he been outside or had his windows
been opened, it wouldn't have been fatal. But the man was shut up in
his nearly-airtight bedroom. According to the article, "He was a big
man with a huge capacity for creating "this deadly gas." Three of the
rescuers got sick, and one was hospitalized.

Nominee No. 6:

[The News of the Weird]: Michael Anderson Godwin made News of
the Weird posthumously. He had spent several years awaiting South
Carolina's electric chair on a murder conviction before having his
sentence reduced to life in prison. While sitting on a metal toilet in his
cell attempting to fix his small TV set, he bit into a wire and was
electrocuted. (South Carolina entrants are always perennial favorites.)

Nominee No. 7:

[The Indianapolis Star]: A cigarette lighter may have triggered a fatal
explosion in Dunkirk, IN. A Jay County man, using a cigarette lighter
to check the barrel of a muzzle loader, was killed Monday night when
the weapon discharged in his face, sheriff's investigators said.
Gregory David Pryor, 19, died in his parents' rural Dunkirk home at
about 11:30 PM. Investigators said Pryor was cleaning a 54-caliber
muzzle-loader that had not been firing properly. He was using the
lighter to look into the barrel ! when the gunpowder ignited.

Nominee No. 8:

[Reuters, Mississauga, Ontario]: A man cleaning a bird feeder on the
balcony of his condominium apartment in this Toronto suburb slipped
and fell 23 stories to his death. Stefan Macko, 55, was standing on
a wheeled chair when the accident occurred, said Inspector D'Arcy
Honer of the Peel Regional Police. "It appears that the chair moved,
and he went over the balcony," Honer said. (Another Ontario entry....
I wonder if people are moving there from the Maritime Provinces.)

Finally, THE WINNER!!!:

[Arkansas Democrat Gazette]: Two local men were injured when their
pickup truck left the road and struck a tree near Cotton Patch on State
Highway 38 early Monday. Woodruff County deputy Dovey Snyder
reported the accident shortly after midnight Monday. Thurston Poole,
33, of Des Arc, and Billy Ray Wallis, 38, of Little Rock, were returning
to Des Arc after a frog gigging trip. On an overcast Sunday night,
Poole's pickup truck headlights malfunctioned. The two men
concluded that the headlight fuse on the older-model truck had burned
out. As a replacement fuse was not available, Wallis noticed that
the .22 caliber bullet from his pistol fit perfectly into the fuse box next
to the steering-wheel column. Upon inserting the bullet the headlights
again began to operate properly, and the two men proceeded on
eastbound toward the White River Bridge. After traveling approximately
20 miles, and just before crossing the river, the bullet apparently
overheated, discharged, and struck Poole in the testicles. The
vehicle swerved sharply right, exiting the pavement, and striking a tree.

Poole suffered only minor cuts and abrasions from the accident, but
will require extensive surgery to repair the damage to his testicles,
which will never operate as intended. Wallis sustained a broken
clavicle and was treated and released. "Thank God we weren't on that
bridge when Thurston shot his balls off, or we might both be dead,"
stated Wallis. "I've been a trooper for 10 years in this part of the world,
but this is a first for me. I can't believe that those two would admit how
this accident happened," said Snyder. Upon being notified of the
wreck, Lavinia (Poole's wife) asked how many frogs the boys had
caught and did anyone get them from the truck???

(Though Poole and Wallis did not die as a result of their misadventure
as normally required by Darwin Award Official Rules, it can be argued
that Poole DID, in fact, effectively remove himself from the gene pool.

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