Ever heard of Darwin Awards? When I was in grad school, Bill subscribed me to a Darwin Awards mailing list. Every week, I'd get an email about people who had effectively taken themselves out of the gene pool because they died doing something incredibly stupid. I would get a weekly chuckle from these stories of accidents stemming from idiocy. I probably shouldn't have laughed so hard, since I'm sure the folks being profiled thought whatever they were doing was a good idea at the time.
At some point, I stopped getting the Darwin Awards emails. I don't know if the listserv went defunct or I somehow got unsubscribed. But it was like people quit paying so much attention to stupid human tricks and the Darwin Awards soon faded from my memory.
Recently, I have read a couple of news stories about people who are prime candidates for Darwin Awards. The first story was about a 22 year old guy who died on July 4th. Devin Staples of Calais, Maine thought he would be a bad mothafucka and try a stupid human trick with fireworks. It is said that Mr. Staples was drinking with friends when he decided to put a fireworks mortar tube on his head. It is not clear if the mortar tube was lit before or after Mr. Staples placed it on his noggin, but when the thing blew up, Mr. Staples died instantly.
I'm not sure if Devin Staples had a death wish or was just wanting to try to show off for his friends, fueled by booze and bravado. Unfortunately, he blew himself into the next life. Alcohol and fireworks do not make for a healthy combination, folks. And while I think it's very sad that this young man died so early in his lifetime, I also think that had he survived this stunt, life might not have been so good for him... certainly not for the immediate future. I would think recovering from the trauma and burns resulting from an exploding firework would be a lifelong endeavor.
The second story I read involves a 28 year old man who refused to heed warnings about alligators lurking in a marina in Orange, Texas. Tommie Woodward apparently could read the signs that warned against swimming in the water due to the presence of large reptiles with big teeth and appetites for humans.
Mr. Woodward had a female companion with him and he was likely trying to show off for her when he ignored pleas from people working in the marina not to jump in the water. His last words were "Fuck that alligator!" before he became a meal.
When he jumped in, an eleven foot alligator appeared from under the dock and as quick as a flash, Woodward was dragged under the water. He was found a couple of hours later, floating in the water with major trauma to his left arm and puncture wounds to his left chest. The attack is said to have been the first fatal alligator encounter in Texas in two centuries. Still, unlike Mr. Staples, Mr. Woodward was explicitly warned and decided to dive in anyway. Now, he and Mr. Staples are somewhere in the great beyond, probably telling fish stories to other hapless souls who took themselves out of the gene pool before they could pass on their stupidity to later generations.
Just think, Alexis... someday, you could be taking care of people like them.
This was as close as I dared to get when we saw alligators in Hilton Head, South Carolina. They can move fast!
What an idiot! At least this one didn't get killed.