(Darwin Awards are bestowed upon individuals who improve our gene pool by removing themselves from it in a spectacularly stupid manner.)
This small book offers the latest compilation of morbid yet rather illuminating stories of real life fatal/near-fatal mishaps due to (what else?) stupidity. I prefer to say ‘illuminating’ rather than anything else because you simply won’t be able to imagine some of the idiotic (and lethal) things that people do to themselves.
For a person to win a Darwin, he or she must follow five simple rules: he or she is either dead or unable to reproduce (reproduction rule), he or she “suffered an outstanding lapse of judgment” (excellence rule), he or she caused his or her own demise or sterility (self-selection rule), he or she is “capable of sound judgment” (maturity rule), and the event he or she was involved in is proven to be true (veracity rule).
Stories that met all five are considered “True Darwins” and are presented in the book under the “Darwin Awards” category while stories that did not meet the reproduction rule (in that the person had survived and/or is capable of producing offspring) are stored under the “Honorable Mentions” category. In the “Personal Accounts” category, one will be find stories by readers “blowing the whistle on stupidity” – whether it is their own or of others.
ON DYSFUNCTIONAL GENOMICS, AMONG OTHER THINGS:
This book, like the award, is not for everyone – we can all be really touchy about death – but this one really isn’t to be taken too seriously no matter how much it pokes fun at the misfortune of some of the “winners”. However, it’s not surprising that you’ll find “How is death funny?” in the FAQs page of the book’s website.
I honestly don’t know how I feel about this book. I really don’t. Some of the stories struck a chord with me – particularly the one titled “Nailed!” in the “Honorable Mentions” category of chapter 5 (Technology: Deus ex Machina), which is about a man, named Malcolm, who had accidentally cut his hand off with the portable saw he was using and decided to off himself with a nail gun so he wouldn’t suffer any longer – while some made me want to bang my head on the wall because of reading too many acts of sheer stupidity.
Chapter 2 (Men: Omega Male) had plenty of pure idiocy – an example would be “Foolish Courage” which tells the tale of two friends who decided to play their own version of Russian roulette using fireworks. They placed lit fireworks in their mouths and tried to see who would be able to delay spitting out the firework the longest. It’s quite obvious how that one ended as the “winner” was awarded a Darwin.
I suppose you can never really tell the kinds of things the human mind can think up. This is probably why I try to buy books like The Darwin Awards (and The World’s Worst Murderers) because they can teach you a thing or two on what goes on out there in the world.
Holy guacamole, Batman, I just finished my first review (although it didn’t make much sense)!