The Darwin Awards commemorate ""individuals who ensure the long-term survival of our species by removing themselves from the gene pool in a sublimely idiotic fashion." The subtitle is "evolution in action." The description on the back cover asks you to "Marvel at the thief who tries to steal live electrical wires. Gape at the lawnchair jockey who floats to a height of 16,000 feet suspended by helium balloons." These purport to be true, verified stories: I guess that's why in the end I just can't find them funny. The book is filled with short notations explaining how these individuals overachieved, and are usually less than two pages each, often just a few paragraphs. Let me give you a flavor by sharing a short one with you:Silenced by the Lambs(28 January 1999, England) A flock of sheep charged a well-meaning British farmer's wife and pushed her over a cliff to her death. Betty, 67, was charged by dozens of sheep after she brought them a bale of hay on the back of a power bike. The sheep rushed forward and rammed the vehicle, knocking Betty and her bike over the edge of a vacant quarry near Durham. "I saw the sheep surround the bike. The next thing she was tumbling down the incline," a neighbor told reporters. Her husband is being comforted by friends.
I guess I'm a party pooper, and I admit I've snickered at "Darwin Award" anecdotes told to me over instant messenger and email. But being told these are verified and realizing there was a real person (and this story doesn't make her sound all that stupid, just unlucky) takes all the fun out of it for me. I should add though, I'm really not a joke book person and this is very unlike my usual read. I read it because it was in the Humor Section of "The Ultimate Reading List" which I had been working through. Oh well, maybe Nora Ephron or Dave Barry will suit me better.read more