CONFIRMED Darwin Award: DEATH BY LAVA LAMP
28 November 2004
We have a new Darwin winner, with the recent demise of a man
at the hands of his lava lamp. "Why on Earth he heated a lava lamp
on the stove, we don't know," said baffled police.
No drug or alcohol evidence was found; Philip Quinn, 24, in his
right mind, placed a lava lamp on his kitchen burner and turned up
the flame. In due course, he rediscovered this favorite explosive
generator of deadly shrapnel. He was found dead in his Kent trailer
home, a shard of glass through his heart.
-confirmed (KiroTV, CNN)
CONFIRMED Darwin Award: KILLER SHADES
17 September 2003
San Francisco, California
Barry Bonds had just made the last out at the bottom of the eighth inning.
By coincidence, Todd Edward Adams, a Hawaiian surfer dude who had
recently relocated to Santa Cruz for the gnarly waves at Maverick’s, was
bumming the last beer from a new friend at the San Francisco Giants’
ballpark at the same time.
Todd was leaning back over the railing of the Arcade port walk, getting to
the “bottom eighth” of a beer, when his Maui Jim* designer sunglasses
slipped off the top of his head. Down they fell, landing twenty-five feet
below, where a helpful bum picked them up and tried to toss them back.
But it was too far! Todd called out that he was coming down to get them.
His wife, Kathy, described Todd as “a passionate surfer” talented enough
to turn pro. Perhaps his sense of physical prowess was his downfall. The
agile 38-year-old briefly considered the long walk down, and then came up
with an alternative. He climbed over the railing, jumped to perch on a
light sconce five feet below, then dropped like Tarzan to the ground,
gratefully reclaiming his shades from the bum.
At least, that was the plan, and the first part, climbing the railing,
went fine. The second part was more problematic. Todd missed the sconce
and “came down like a pancake,” according to a startled observer a few
feet from the point of impact. The crowd was shocked into silence. Why
would anyone take such a chance for a pair of shades?
Todd would have been chagrined to hear the observer’s next words. “They
looked cheap,” he said, apologizing, “I don’t know sunglasses brands.”
-confirmed (San Francisco Examiner, Santa Cruz Sentinal, San Jose Mercury
(September 2003, Escobedo, Mexico) An unidentified 60-year-old man was still thirsty after drinking what most would consider “too much alcohol.” He stumbled toward a nearby bee’s nest, perhaps hoping to follow the beer with a bit of honey, which the bees would surely share.
Instead, over a thousand noble bees sacrificed their lives to protect the hive, a Darwinian response bred into them millennia ago. The man, quite reasonably, went into anaphylactic shock and died.
A hospital spokesman disputed the theory that the bees alone had killed him, attributing his demise to “the stupid things drunken people do,” pointing out that the man was otherwise healthy and could have enjoyed a long life. “The combination was lethal.”
19 September 2003, Virginia
Hurricane Isabel tore into the East Coast, turning shallow creeks into raging rivers before she calmed down to a violent tropical storm. What better time to go canoeing? Especially at 2:30 in the morning, on a moonless night, to cap off a fun party?
Enter Christopher “Blumpkin” Ball, 21, captain of the James Madison University rugby team, a man described by a teammate as “insane, just indestructible.” This ballroom-dancing rugby player left his own party early one morning, with friends who “thought it would be all ha, ha, and funny to take the canoe” to Blumpkin’s old house, straight down Blacks Run Stream.
Winds were gusting to more than 50 mph, snapping trees like toothpicks, as nearly a foot of rain fell on the Shenandoah Valley. Rescue Squad chief Brandon Peavy told the reporter that the normally knee-deep water of Blacks Run was over a six-foot person’s head. Blumpkin’s canoe quickly capsized in the swift storm-fed stream, tossing its occupants into the churning water.
His female companion managed to reach the shore. His male companion, who knew it “wasn’t a good idea from the start,” climbed onto the bank near a railroad trestle. But our “indestructible” friend Blumpkin was sucked underwater twice, never to resurface. He was found at dawn, 100 yards downstream.
Chief Peavy was not allowed to comment on whether alcohol or drugs were involved in the accident.
[sidebar] Clearly, the “indestructible” Blumpkin never earned his Boy Scout merit badge in canoeing: “If in doubt about danger… land and survey the water from shore before proceeding. Do not run any but the mildest rapids unless you have a guide who knows the river thoroughly. Wear life jackets in all rough water...”
Reference: www.wina.com, Daily News-Record, The Breeze