Honoring Charles Darwin, the father of
evolution, Darwin Awards commemorate those who improve our gene
pool--by removing themselves from it.
2004 Darwin Award Winner
Unconfirmed by Darwin
(22 April 2004, Georgia) At a
Cave Springs "convenience dump" where local residents could drop off waste
for later delivery to the main county dump, monitors were paid to ensure
that residents deposited only allowed waste. One keen-eyed inspector
noticed a bottle in the trash compactor that looked suspiciously like
homemade wine. He fished the bottle out of the compactor. At this point you
may be thinking this is a "man crushed by compactor" story--but no!
After safely retrieving the bottle, the gentleman in question and another
local man proceeded to drink the "wine". Apparently, neither of them took
a clue from the fact that the bottle had been thrown away in a dump,
leading to the reasonable conclusion that its contents were undrinkable.
This particular vintage was antifreeze. Both men were poisoned, and one
By coincidence, there is an actual
winery called Cave Springs Cellars, located a thousand miles north of
Georgia in Niagara, Ontario.
Ironically, if the men had actually been drinking wine along with their
antifreeze, both might have lived. Ethanol is sometimes used in hospitals
to counteract the deadly effects of antifreeze poisoning. Antifreeze is
not toxic until the ethylene glycol is converted to oxalic acid, which
crystallizes and damages the kidneys. Since the enzyme alcohol
dehydrogenase is the first step in forming oxalic acid, the reaction is
inhibited by administering a dose of ethanol, which competes for the