Wednesday, February 4, 2009

BOOK: The Darwin Awards by Wendy Northcutt

The Darwin Awards Next Evolution: Chlorinating the Gene Pool by Wendy Northcutt

Dewey Decimal: 082

Have you ever heard the phrase by Charles Darwin when referring to evolution: the survival of the fittest? It's the idea that only the strongest and smartest of a species will survive to reproduce and that nature will eliminate the members that don't have the necessary genes to survive and adapt. The Darwin Awards were developed to recognize those members of the human race who are essentially eliminating the stupid gene.

The vignettes are divided into categories like Electrical Extinctions,Vehicle Victims, Criminal Capers and Combustion Crazies. Mostly you will cringe slightly upon reading these stories of death or near death - being left unable to reproduce can also 'win' you a Darwin Award. You can begin to imagine what will follow with stories that begin with or contain the following phrases: "instead of following standard procedure...", "attempting to impress the lady...", "so he could save himself time...", or "a case of beer went into the planning." Generally, you will feel very smart after reading some of the situations these people, mostly men interestingly, get themselves into.

There are rules that need to apply before being considered for a Darwin award in that it can't be a true accident, other people can't be hurt, and only adults. It has to be a situation where a lack of judgment is apparent, like the guy that removed the foam protective padding from the bottom of a ski hill to ski down on. You can guess exactly where he slid into. Or the guy who used a artillery shell to squash a bug and found out the hard way it wasn't inert. The guys who tested the ice by jumping up and down on it and then sank 2 cars in trying to pull the first one out.

The stories just continue, from all around the world, proving the stupidity of so many people, doing their part to improve the gene pool of the human race. If you are having a bad day, picking this book up and reading a few stories will make you feel better about yourself.


  1. I read the winner stories online every year. A part of me feels a bit mean, but I can't help it, they crack me up :P And hey, where would we be without humour. I haven't yet picked up any of the books, but I'm sure I'd enjoy them too.

  2. I read one of these and some of them were so funny but at the same time . . . horrors. The one that really got me was the guy who thought he was jumping into a laundry chute at a library and libraries don't have laundry chutes. It was some kind of shredder/trash compactor. Ewwww.

    Do they still say people who talk on cell phones don't qualify because there are too many?

  3. nymeth - they make a nice distraction. I alternate between laughing and being horrified.

    bookfool - exactly, there was one with a guy standing over a shredder on a ledge, and one the one hanc, I was laughing because I knew what was going to happen, but then I think that it happened to a real person and I stop.
    I didn't notice any cell phone stories. There were people driving with guns, loaded guns, in their pockets.

  4. I also read the winning stories online every year. My husband especially loves these. I just put the book on hold at my library. Thanks!

  5. I read the winner stories online and I never know whether to laugh, cringe, or be horrified.

    I have never read any of the books perhaps I will give it a try.

    Actually it could be good stress therapy, after a bad day at work pick up the book and read a story then you can think "well it could be worse and stupider"

  6. some of these go around by email, I didn't realise there was a whole book! Sounds like something great when one needs cheering up! :-)


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