Cleaning the Pool
EVOLUTION: It can go one step too far

That picture is a warning about what will happen if we keep evolving away from the use of common sense.

I found it on a Darwin Awards web page.

The headline, meanwhile, refers to cleaning the gene pool, which is something the Darwin Awards people think is happening all the time.

That’s why they chose to link their honours to Charles Darwin and his survival of the fittest and natural selection theories.

The awards go to people who have voluntarily removed themselves from the pool through their own stupidity, either by killing themselves or damaging their bodies to the point where they cannot pass on their genes.

I first came across the awards back in the 1990s when I was sub-editing The Voice and needed off-the-wall material for the Strange World feature.

Back in those days, many of the stories featured an ironic twist and some of them struck me as quite funny. For example:

(12 June 1999, London, England) Wayne wanted to make a few bucks by selling stolen scrap metal so he broke into a demolition site.

He found what he thought was an 8cm thick copper pipe that was too heavy to pick up, so he hauled a few smaller chunks of metal away and then returned with heavy duty bolt cutters.

When he attempted to sever the pipe, however, he was shocked to discover that it was, in fact, a cable carrying 11,000 volts of electricity.

He did not survive to be charged.

Then there was the tale of a man who attached a weather balloon to his lawn chair and floated to 5000 metres before descending at high speed back to earth in Long Beach, California.

He survived the crash and was charged with violating restricted airspace, but he never-the-less qualified for an award because his injuries made it impossible for him to reproduce.

I went to the DA website this week hoping to find a recent tale with a humorous side to it that I could use to support a worthwhile point, but what I found, were a load of grim warnings about a popular pastime.

(25 March 2017, Mexico) Standing on a truck on an airport runway, Nitzia and Clarisa chose a regrettable location for their cell phone selfie. The teenagers were attending horse races that were being held on a track next to the runway.

Evidently, the noise from the races and their desire for a new profile picture prevented the girls from hearing the motor of the plane that struck and killed them as it landed.

(27 July, Singapore) a teen handed his Snapchat device to a friend and with a whoop of joy leapt over a footbridge railing, intending to bounce on the shade cloth stretched below.

Unfortunately for him the cloth was much weaker than he expected and he plunged straight through and fell four stories to his death.

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Not the knee-slappers I was hoping to find, but they certainly support a worthwhile point.

Spending too much time promoting ourselves on social media can be both foolish and bad for our health.

Although, in some cases, I suppose, it might be good for the gene pool.

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