“All knowledge is plagiarism; solely stupidity is unique.” (Hugh Kerr)
So goes considered one of my favourite quotations, which is a becoming introduction to a couple of my least favourite (however nonetheless instructive) tales.
The Darwin Awards began out as one of many unique e-mail chain letters. I keep in mind the primary time I learn considered one of these brief tales. I laughed out loud and, on the identical time, felt barely sick to my abdomen.
That giddy/queasy feeling is widespread to readers of the Darwin Awards, for these honors are bestowed upon women and men, younger and previous, who died of . . . nicely, there’s actually no good strategy to put this. They died of alcohol-induced stupidity.
“The prime tenet of the Darwin Awards is that we’re celebrating the self-removal of incompetent genetic materials from the human race,” writes Wendy Northcutt, creator of a sequence of Darwin Awards books.
These “cautionary tales of misadventure” present how evolution works by means of pure choice as we efficiently eradicate ourselves from the gene pool.
Given the truth that alcohol and different medicine numb our “govt perform” mind cells, which regulate feelings and management impulses, it’s not stunning that almost all Darwin Award recipients are below the affect.
Listed here are some tales commemorating those that eliminated themselves from the gene pool “in a sublimely idiotic vogue”:
- A younger man had a burning need to get drunk, however he had an issue — he didn’t have any cash. He appeared round for an inexpensive excessive and settled on gasoline, which he blended with milk (presumably to guard his abdomen). Quickly after imbibing this concoction, he turned violently sick and vomited into the hearth of his dwelling. The gasoline-soaked vomit created an explosion that burned down his home, incinerating the younger man and his sister.
- An older man, clearly a late-stage alcoholic, was stricken with a painful throat ailment. He couldn’t drink the common method so, deep within the throes of acute withdrawal, he determined to imbibe by means of, ahem, his anus. Together with his spouse’s assist (she later defined that her ailing husband was hooked on enemas) he bottom-chugged 3 liters of sherry earlier than lapsing right into a deadly coma. In line with the toxicology report, his blood alcohol content material was 4.7%. A sobering apart to this story is that his neighbors had no thought he had an “alcohol drawback.”
Whereas the Darwin Awards might look like in poor style, I ask you to think about the advantage of utilizing these unlucky tales to emphasise an essential level — human beings generally take insane dangers with life and limb and, because the variety of deadly accidents confirms (95,000 alcohol associated deaths within the U.S. in 2020) are more likely to behave in a life-threatening method when they’re ingesting.
And whereas the tales could seem far-fetched, I’ve heard some doozies from our personal small city. Some time again I used to be entertaining a good friend with tales of Darwin Award recipients. I believe I instructed her the one in regards to the two drunk brothers who tried to journey their snowmobile throughout an unfrozen river solely to sink to the muddy backside.
Or perhaps I instructed her the story in regards to the 29-year-old man who choked to demise on a sequined pastie he eliminated together with his enamel from an unique dancer at a burlesque membership.
She listened with a pained expression and adopted up with a real story a few friend-of-a-friend’s birthday-gone-awry. Celebrating her fortieth birthday at her neighborhood tavern, this lady obtained shnockered on vodka jello photographs and, being accountable folks, her buddies took away her keys and known as a taxi. Safely delivered dwelling, the birthday lady found she had an issue — with out her keys, she had no method of opening the 10-foot gate surrounding her residence constructing.
So she determined to climb over it. On the prime she encountered a string of barbed wire, which caught her pant leg as she tried to leap over.
It held quick, and he or she ended up hanging there, the other way up. Ultimately she handed out. In some unspecified time in the future within the early morning hours, her pants ripped freed from the wire, and he or she dropped headfirst to the cement walkway. When she wakened the following morning, mendacity in a heap by the gate, she had a killer headache.
These lucky people who survive their mishaps solely advantage an honorable point out, outlined as “silly misadventures that cease in need of the final word sacrifice however nonetheless illustrate the progressive spirit of the Darwin Awards candidates.”
After studying dozens of those tales, I’m satisfied the Darwin Awards serve a better goal than mere leisure. A few of us — and I think it isn’t a small quantity — will see ourselves within the mirror of those tales. Taking a deep breath, we are going to mumble to ourselves, “There however for the grace of God (Allah/theGreat Spirit/Destiny) go I.”
Perhaps, simply perhaps, the story will encourage us to take an excellent, lengthy have a look at our personal misbehaviors and misadventures with alcohol. Perhaps we shall be moved to ask ourselves, earlier than we’re faraway from the gene pool, if life is just too treasured to waste. Perhaps, if we’d like assist, we are going to attain out and settle for it earlier than it’s too late.
It’s value contemplating.
Kathy Ketcham has written 17 books, 11 particularly on dependancy and restoration. In 1999, she started main academic teams on the Juvenile Justice Detention Middle, and in 2009, she based the native nonprofit Trilogy Restoration Group (trilogyrecovery.org), the place she continues to volunteer. To search out out extra go to katherineketchambooks.com.