The Darwin Awards are a tongue-in-cheek honor, originating in Usenet newsgroup discussions around 1985. They recognize individuals who have supposedly contributed to human evolution by selecting themselves out of the gene pool via death or sterilization by their own actions.
The tale of Howard Miller, 39, professional welder, illustrates the pitfalls of ignoring high school chemistry with a time-saving invention.
Always helpful, Miller spent his last moments helping a friend weld an exhaust pipe onto a classic Holden Kingswood sedan. He arrived at the garage shed with an experimental welding kit: an LPG bottle, similar to a propane tank, in which he had mixed both components that make up oxy-acetylene welding gas: acetylene and oxygen.
Now, that last detail should send a shiver down any welder’s spine! Professional welders know that these components are kept in separate tanks because, when combined, they burn hot enough to cut metal. A tank of mixed acetylene/oxygen + no flow regulator = an accident waiting to happen.
Like a scene from Breaking Bad, Mr. Miller had unwittingly constructed a lethal explosive!
Once Miller unveiled his jury-rigged device, his friend regognized this dangerous equation and repeatedly warned that it was crazy! Finally he high-tailed it out of the shed while Miller, undeterred by a bit of panic, attachec a torch head straight onto the bottle and lit the welding tip.
Sans regulator, the flame crept back into the bottle and the inevitable explosion flattened the shed, which also contained about twenty litres of paint thinner and gasoline. The force of the explosion was so intense it shattered the windows of neighboring properties.
Needless to say, the friend is in need a new car.
The deceased winner, a gentle and generous man, would surely be grateful to know that no one else was hurt in the fracas. And as a consolation prize, his tragic experiment will benefit others by demonstrating a potential consequence of skipping chemistry class.
Mind The Cone Zone
A Wanaquer man died in a vehicle fire after he drove around barricade cones and onto live power wires in Franklin Lakes morning. A good son, Anthony G. was en-route to his father’s house to shovel the driveway.
After the second nor’easter storm in a week, hundreds of thousands were left without power. Utility crews worked overtime to deal with downed trees and electric lines. Traffic snarls and frustrated motorists were everywhere.
Anthony did not want to lose time to a detour! According to police, our winner simply navigated around bright orange traffic cones warning motorists of a hazardous downed wire on Route 208.
Responding to calls, officers arrived at 9AM to find the vehicle fully engulfed in flames. A live power line was sputtering in the roadway near the vehicle. The fire totally gutted the car, and the driver was pronounced dead at the scene. Ironically this Darwin Award winner was employed as a New York City electrician.
Dead On Valentines Day
A 19-year-old and his soon-to-be-ex were walking along the beautiful Havel River, quarreling. The frustrated man suddenly shoved the woman into the icy river! She could swim, he could not…
A sexagenarian was examining his personal weapon in his home when he inadvertently discharged it into his face! Twenty-one days after accidentally shooting himself, Abu Hamam, 62, succumbed to the self-inflicted head-bang…
Darwin Award Shorts – Old Folks Reunion
MARCH 2018, BIRMINGHAM ENGLAND || Man suffers a fatal heart attack after getting his head stuck beneath an electric footrest at the cinema while retrieving his cellphone from the floor. The perp died six days later, in the hospital.
APRIL 2018, GERMANY || A 71-year-old woman smoking outside a hospital died from third-degree burns after her oxygen ventilator ignited, setting fire to the plastic upholstery of her wheelchair.
MARCH 2018, ROMANIA || A 50-year-old man was hospitalized Saturday after taking home a projectile he found on the field outside his village, and pounding it with a hammer, causing an explosion. HONORABLE MENTION!
Nine Small Lines
Nine tourists, a hotel room, a mail delivery of a plain package from a foreign country containing a mysterious white powder labelled SCOOP. No one had ordered the substance yet they decided it might be cocaine…
The nine tourist backpackers divided the powder equitably into nine small lines and did something crazy! They snorted it.
Professor Steve Alsopp said, “When you don’t know what’s in a drug, that will significantly increase the risk.” Words to remember! Hallucinations started straightaway, faces felt like they were melting off, and within ten minutes most were unconscious. Authorities arrived to find bodies everywhere, senseless or suffering seizures. Apparently it was quite a sight.
Seven men and two women were sent to three different medical facilities for emergency care. That mysterious white powder, delivered by surprise to the residence, was Scopolamine. Also known as Hyoscine, the drug is produced from plants of the nightshade family and used to treat motion sickness and postoperative nausea and vomiting. It is also used in crime to lower the ability of a victim to resist criminal aggression.
Six ‘snorters’ were released from hospital the next day, and three remained under medical care. Each of the nine knot-heads is headed for a Darwin Award. Until then, we salute their addled spirit of adventure with an Honorable Mention.
Christmas Tales: I was helping a friend decorate her Christmas tree. A strand of lights seemed to have a short, so she took it upon herself to fix the problem. She stripped the wires in the area and spliced them…While the lights were still plugged into the wall outlet, my friend finished up by using her teeth to crimp the bare wires together. Needless to say, she lit up like a Christmas tree!”
After confusing a stick of dynamite with a wax candle, a woman was hospitalized for extreme burn injuries. How did it happen that she accidentally sparked up a quarter-stick of dynamite? Well… Home Depot was closed during a power outage, so the woman went down into the basement to rummage around in search of a light. In the junk left behind by the house’s former owners she found what she was looking for – a rod-shaped object with a fuse. What a relief, now the darkness would be banished … and, Ka-boom!
The woman survived lighting the dynamite like a roman candle – no Darwin Award – yet with wits like that, does she not deserve an Honorable Mention?
Take CALCULATED risks