Dec 31 2007

2007 Darwin Award Nominees

Each year, I announce the nominees for the Darwin Award because I think it is funny. Not to sound morbid, but honestly, there are really dumb people out there.

The first and my favorite stupid moment of the year.

(1 January 2007, Netherlands) The first Darwin Award of 2007 goes to Serge Sluijters, 36, who thought it reasonable to hover over an illegal professional firework and light the electronic ignition with an open flame. But this was not a traditional wick; it was a device designed for precision timing. The flame triggered an immediate launch, and the fireworks catapulted upwards, killing our amateur pyrotechnician enroute to a spectacular burst across the night sky.

Serge had purchased the firework legally in Belgium, but then transported it illegally into the Netherlands. His father disputed the notion that Serge was careless, characterizing his son as a man who gave due consideration to his acts. A witness told reporters, “His face disappeared. If someone has no face left, you know it’s serious.”

Every year, another idiot gets nominated for a Darwin Award for this same reason. Please, readers, keep your itchy fingers off the triggers of these dangerous fireworks!

Honestly, I have alcohol to the point where I had impaired judgment (I am over the legal age), but I have never once thought about doing something to this extent.

(19 August 2007, Serbia) It’s well known that alcohol impairs judgment. It’s well known that carnivorous wild animals and humans don’t mix. What happens when we combine all three? One might expect men, beer, and bears to combine with lethal consequences. Such was the case for a 23-year old man who inadvertently fed himself to Masha and Misha at the Belgrade Zoo.

The Zoo director said of the incident,
“Only an idiot would jump into the bear cage.”

The man’s naked, mauled corpse was found inside the bear habitat, along with several mobile phones, bricks, and plenty of beer cans. His clothes were completely undamaged, suggesting that he approached the bears bare-naked by choice. The bears, fearing that his intentions were as dishonorable as they were ill-informed, meted out a summary justice.

Later, Masha and Misha “reacted angrily” when keepers tried to recover the man’s corpse, but were eventually persuaded to give up their tasty prize. We await word on how many beers were bartered for the body.

This is just sad…..I love stupidity though!

(12 September 2007, Tampa, Florida) The setup: A woman wins two concert tickets from a local radio station. She can’t believe her luck. The Dave Matthews Band, live! She invites her friend to join her. But they are in for more than a concert experience.

Flash forward to the next morning. My buddy, head of operations at the amphitheater, looks like hell. He tells me that two women were killed the previous night at the concert. I am shocked. Nothing like this has ever happened at the amphitheater. I ask for details.

Flash back to the previous evening, 8:30pm and pouring rain. The show is delayed. Two women leave the venue to escape the rain. They pass multiple free shuttle buses that run directly to the parking lot. Instead, they opt for a shortcut across a 7-lane Interstate.

They run a hundred yards through wet grass, and jump a six-foot fence that borders the road. Ahead are 3 lanes of freeway traffic, a 100′ median, and another 4 lanes of traffic. Beyond that is another six-foot fence, the maze of an ‘under construction’ garage, and a long hike around a casino.

All in all, the ‘shortcut’ to their vehicle covers a distance of about a half mile. And the women are in a torrential thunderstorm. Free shuttle bus, or mad dash across dangerous territory?

My buddy was an eyewitness when the first vehicle struck the women at 8:30 pm. Oddly, this was in the first lane of traffic, on a straightaway where one can see headlights for miles in either direction. The impact hurled the women farther into traffic, and each was struck by a second car. They did not survive the collisions.

Ironically, one of the women was an “energetic and gifted athlete” who won two national championships in gymnastics. Physical prowess is no substitute for the homespun maxim:

“Stop. Look. Listen. Or tomorrow you’ll be missing.”

About the author

Timothy Haroutunian

Timothy Haroutunian is a ServiceNow Cloud Implementation Specialist at Acorio. ServiceNow is an IT Management solution that allows for a complete view of your IT and physical environment.

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