Charles Darwin at a green chalkboard.

2001 Darwin Awards

Honoring Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, Darwin Awards commemorate those who improve our gene pool--by removing themselves from it in the most spectacular way possible.

Fifteen Minutes of Flame
2001 Darwin Award "April Fools' Day Joke"

(1 April 2001, New York) A literary agent found himself dazed and patting out flames shortly after arriving at a two-alarm house fire equipped with a sandwich, a bullhorn, whiskey and a lawnchair. He climbed to the roof of a nearby house, perched on his lawnchair, and proceeded to lecture the startled emergency crew while enjoying his drink.

Three firemen had just finished clearing the house, locating the residents' young golden retriever in the process, when they heard Frank's imperious command. "Drop the dog and open the hydrant this instant!"

They turned in surprise and dropped the yelping puppy, which fell through the burning timbers and burst into flames. Onlookers mobbed the base of the heckler's house and threw cans and shrubbery at the obstreperous critic, who batted the projectiles aside with his bullhorn while continuing to drink whiskey and issue commands.

"The north side is engaged!"
"Position the hose along the azalea bushes!"
"Stop picking your nose!"

Sorely provoked, the the senior fireman, currently on administrative leave, picked up the dead (but still burning) dog and flung it onto the roof. The flaming animal landed in Frank's lap, igniting his spilled whiskey and severely burning his crotch.

Frank heaved the dog off himself, but neglected to brace his feet on the slanted roof. The lawnchair toppled and fell from the house, miraculously avoiding onlookers, who watched aghast while the prostrate man suffered further injuries from falling embers and his own roof-top accoutrements.

The house fire was eventually subdued, and paramedics transported the injured man and his loudspeaker to the hospital. Although he is recovering from his injuries, the prognosis is that he will never again be able to procreate with quite the same gusto .

Neighbors have set up a Memorial Fund for the golden retriever. Photographs of the man-shaped depression in the lawn are available upon request.

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