2017 Top Ten in Awards

Named in honor of Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, the Darwin Awards commemorate those who improve our gene pool by removing themselves from it.


# 10   Pistol Of Justice

(April 2017, Argentina) "Divine punishment," said the judge, deciding not to imprison a man who shot himself in the testicles while carrying an illegal weapon in his waistband. The man lost his family jewels, his job as a security guard, and was faced with years in prison until the court ruled that he had been punished enough by a higher authority. Instant karma?


Reported widely in two major newspaper, Clarín and La Nacion, tact requires us to withhold the name of this Living Darwin Award Winner. Jobs are scarce in the man's town within Buenos Aires, and the unregistered 45-caliber Colt pistol had been given to him as part of his security job, creating a tragedy within a tragedy.


The shooting occurred about two years ago. The final court decision occurred in April 2017. Although this was reported on April 1st, my contact Luis Burgueño assures me that Argentina celebrates Fools Day on December 28th, el dia de los santos inocentes.


# 9     Air Strike Out

(25 March 2017, Mexico) Standing on a truck on an airport runway, our Double-Darwin Award Winners Nitzia and Clarissa chose a regrettable location for a cell phone selfie. Ms. Corral, 18, and Ms. Miranda, 17, were attending horse races that were held on a track adjacent to the runway. According to the Diario de Chíhuahua, the noise of the races and the desire for a new profile picture distracted the young women. They did not hear the motor of the descending aircraft, and the wing of the small plane struck and killed them instantly. The incident occured in Chínipas, Chíhuahua, in northern Mexico.


People, wake up! to the plain hard fact that a mobile phone is a deadly distraction. Mobile devices take our awareness away from the physical world, and the Darwin Awards archives are stuffed overflowing with testimony proving the tragic truth of this. We mourn the deaths of two beautiful and lively young people, and cut down by such a careless mistake.


Cell phones will kill you! Put them away and allow your senses to receive input from tangible reality. Please share this regrettable cautionary lesson, a public service announcement, #yourdeathmatters


# 8     One Way Ticket

(21 March 2017, Germany) Blasting apart a ticketing machine at the train station was supposed to buy him a ticket to the good life, but instead the 31-year-old purchased passage in the opposite direction, losing his life in an explosion that ripped the metal front panel off the machine.


The details are: he stiffened his resolve with a few drinks at a bar, he was spotted spraying cans of aerosol gas into a ticket vending machine, he placed the empties in a jute bag, and then he ignited the gas (by means undisclosed) causing an explosion that rocked the Dortmund neighborhood.


A bar acquaintance recognized him and called for emergency help. But, sprinkled with shrapnel wounds and suffering a substantial head injury, the man rapidly succumbed to death despite resuscitation efforts.


Safety measures as simple as wearing a leather jacket and motorcycle helmet would have changed the outcome for Mr. One Way Ticket Out.


# 7     #ElephantsWantPrivacy

(18 February 2017, Zimbabwe) Three male humans, three male elephants, and a dream of a perfect wildlife selfie combine to win to the first 2017 Darwin Award! In the town of Plumtree in southwestern Zimbabwe, Mr. Moses Ndlovu spotted three elephants in the bush. "Shrubbery! This will not do," he thought, and he and two friends began to drive the three male elephants into a clearing. The elephants cooperated, in a fashion.


A large bull elephant and two younger males came charging out of the shrubbery and headed for the provoking men! It was time to test the old truism, "I don't have to outrun that elephant, I just have to outrun you" The men took off running, each frantic to save his own hide. Moses, lagging behind, was trampled to death by the angry bull while his friends escaped.


The entire blunder was a pointless waste of time for man and beast. I am sorry you are dead, Moses Ndlovu, but what were you thinking? As a consolation, your lamentable death serves as a warning to others: #ElephantsWantPrivacy


# 6     Golf Cart + Garden Hose

(5 September 2017, California) Fun-loving Cody Horn's last act was to pilot a golf cart towed by garden hose behind a vehicle on State Highway 4, east of Angels Camp. The golf cart swerved across the double yellow line and directly into the path of a Ford truck, causing a head-on collision that instantly killed the 28-year-old.


Beloved and hard-working Mr. Horn left many friends behind when he drove himself out of this life. No reason for the garden-hose golf-cart adventure has been determined -- probably it was intended to be a harmless prank.


Mr. Horn was loved by many, and we bring his premature death to the attention of our readers as a cautionary tale of a silly prank gone too far. Be safe, folks! Do not cross that line -- the double yellow line -- when planning your own out-of-the-box adventures.


# 5     Backseat Drivers

Double Darwin Award winners redefine 'Backseat Driving.' (June 2017, Russia) In a tale of Russian intelligence--or lack thereof--an amorous couple died while procreating in the back seat of their Russian-made Niva SUV situated near a beautiful lake. "Situated" rather than "parked" because the vehicle transmission was in neutral. The rocking motions of the passengers, Mr. Chernov and Ms. Kryuchkova, caused the small SUV to roll into the lake and below the waterline, whereupon the 22-yar-old man and woman were drowned.


# 4     Snapchat Prat

(27 July 2017, Singapore) In a new twist on, "Hold my beer and watch this!" a teen handed Snapchat to a friend and with a whoop of glee he leapt over a foot-bridge railing, intending to land dramatically on a parapet below. Unknown to the teen or his filming friend, the seemingly solid shade was flimsy gypsum board and he crashed right through, falling four floors to his death.


The Snapchat phenomenon is extending the e-trend of paying inadequate attention to one's physical surroundings, and the act earns a Darwin Award indeed. We are saddened by the death of this young and personable student, but our sadness would do disservice to the deceased if it caused us to hush up his fatal prank. State Coroner Marvin Bay agrees, stating that "Mr. Chow's sad demise should serve as a cautionary tale for individuals who are disposed to off-route in public spaces.


# 3     Red Evolution

(2017, Russia) A welder is in the evolutionary spotlight today. Vargas (pseudonym) worked for The Enterprise for the Construction, Repair and Maintenance of Highways in Tselinnoe when he noticed how well a fire extinguisher fits into a decommissioned artillery howitzer. Inspired, he stuffed the fire extingusher down the barrel...Trained to use the elemental powers of hot plasma, welders are normally not daredevils but Vargus was determined to prove the old adage, 'There are old welders and bold welders but there are no old, bold welders.' He charged the cannon with calcium carbide and water, a reactive combination that produces acetylene welding gas...


The abused fire extinguisher exploded from the howitzer cannon, and pieces of the payload brained the welder--whose head was conveniently located in the ballistic trajectory of the shrapnel. In a fight between shrapnel and an empty skull, shrapnel wins.


# 2.    Unpalatable Death By Pallets

(August 2017, Japan) Logistics was uppermost in the mind of an employee of the Tanarumono Logistics Center when he needed to change a lightbulb ten meters overhead. The forklift could only lift him 2.5 meters, and that was clearly not close enough. Let's express his dilemma as a math word problem. If the man can reach a light fixture two meters overhead, then how many wood pallets, each fifteen centimeters thick, must he stack on the forklift in order to replace a lightbulb ten meters up?


The answer is 37. Let There Be Light!


Perched on this wooden wonder, the 40-year-old man convinced a colleague to lift him to the ceiling. Anyone experienced with the haphazard construction of pallets can see the problem with this un-cunning plan.


The rickety stack collapsed and our winner died in the wreckage, thereby reaching "a higher plane" than he intended. Rest in peace, sir, holding your hard-won Darwin Award.

And finally, the Winner is:


# 1.    Steamy Buns

(25 October 2017, Malaysia) A spiritual magician died after accidentally steaming himself to death in a stainless steel wok while performing a ritual to 'cleanse body and soul.' Mr. Lim Ba, known professionally as Black Dog, had been performing human steaming for more than a decade despite family objections. The 68-year-old guru sat in lotus position in the giant stainless steel steamer and rice, sweet corn, and vegetarian buns were placed alongside to also be steamed. 'Black Dog' clasped his hands in prayer as the lid was lowered over him and a fire was lit under the wok. "They really lit a fire under his buns."


But after thirty minutes this steamy scenario went wrong! Devotees heard the magician knocking frantically from inside the steamer. The lid was raised and Lim was found unconscious, steam billowing around him. Suffering from major second-degree burns, the man died of a heart attack.


The incident occurred at a temple in Kuala Sanglang, a small coastal village in northern Malaysia.