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Column: Upping the odds for humanity

By Alan "Lindy" Lindula

It's been a while since we visited the Darwin Awards, which are awarded posthumously (or is that "post-humorously?") to those adults who, because of the stupid things they do, remove themselves from our gene pool, thus improving humankind's chances of improvement.

One award goes to a 24-year-old woman from Mexico who was on the second floor and needed something from the first floor, and didn't want to waste energy on the stairs. Instead, she opened the safety gate on the industrial elevator, stuck her head in, and shouted down the elevator shaft. This was something she had done before, everyone there said. Unfortunately, the elevator was coming down. One could even say it was "headed" down.

The next one comes out of Germany, where an engineer, exasperated with the moles that were digging up his yard and leaving those funny humped tunnels all over it, decided to drive metal rods here and there in the yard and hook some electricity up to them. Unfortunately, he must have misunderstood which side of the power transformer was which, and tied something on the order of 8,000 volts to the wires which he had already hooked up to the metal rods. Authorities guessed that all the moles in the yard had been killed. Unfortunately, he ventured out into the yard himself to view the results, thus becoming a result himself. Authorities had to turn off the whole neighborhood's electricity to recover his body.

In New York State, Joe, 20 years old and inebriated, drove his car off the road and into a power line pole, knocking the pole -- and its power line -- down, and getting his car stuck. Seeing a farm nearby, he staggered over and managed, since no one was home, to start and steal a large farm tractor. He steered the tractor over to his wreck and parked it on top of one of the downed power lines. Unfortunately, he got off the tractor, and was electrocuted.

This one's from Russia. Sergei, sitting in his college biology class, was observed licking potassium cyanide from his palm. Upon questioning, he stated that this magic elixir would strengthen his body and protect him from death. He swallowed poisons daily, including small quantities of toxic mushrooms, arsenic and cyanide salts, among others. "I shall never die," he stated. One day he swallowed too much cyanide and, feeling ill, asked his classmates to fetch him some water. Instead of drinking the water straight, he dissolved the rest of the cyanide in it, which he drank. He died.

Last, Ben, coming home late at night and driving way too fast, failed to make the curve by the city's wastewater treatment plant. He was going fast enough to blow through a chain link fence, across a road, through another fence, and into a 400,000-gallon tank of raw sewage. Divers found his truck upright at the bottom of the 18-foot-deep tank the next day.

I give Ben the highest Darwin Award of all these entrants for proving that taking "too much crap" is detrimental to your health.