The Darwin Awards
A few tasty tidbits...
10 January 2009, Pennsylvania) An embarrassed and seriously injured 17-year-old initially claimed that an explosive had been planted in his backpack by persons unknown. However, police investigators soon extracted the truth from the feckless teen.
He found an M-80 explosive at his grandmother's house, took it to his room to examine it, and began to repeatedly light and extinguish the fuse. During one of these cycles the fuse would not go out, so he jammed the red cardboard tube between his thighs and covered it with his hand to muffle the explosion. This plan was less successful than he had hoped.
Commonly thought to be a quarter stick of dynamite, M80's (according to pyrouniverse.com) actually contain flash powder rather than TNT, and only 1/50 the amount--just under 3 grams. Used by the U.S. Military to simulate grenade explosions, M80's were outlawed in 1966 under the Child Protection Act.
They are not safe enough to be detonated by the average man on the average street, let alone by the average 17-year-old. One loud KABOOM! later, our junior pyrotechnics specialist had lost his right hand, right leg, and--very likely--his right to reproduce, earning him a living Darwin Award.
* As always, my regrets to the boy and his family.
(12 April 2008, Florida) Traffic was moving slowly on southbound I-95. Shawn M. had recently left a Pompano Beach bar, and now he was stuck in traffic. As the saying goes, you don't buy beer--you just rent it, and Shawn couldn't wait another moment to relieve himself. "I need to take a leak," he told his friends.
Traffic was deadlocked, so the waterlogged man climbed out, put his hand on the divider, and jumped over the low concrete wall... only to fall 65 feet to his death. "He probably thought there was a road, but there wasn't," said a Fort Lauderdale police spokesman. The car was idling on an overpass above the railroad lines.
His mother shared her thoughts. "Shawn didn't do a whole lot for a living. He got along on his charm, just like his father."
Though his death was tragic, Shawn's downfall proves the old adage: Look before you leak!