Charles Darwin at a green chalkboard.

2003 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.

Killer Shades
2003 Darwin Award Winner
Confirmed True by Darwin

(17 September 2003, California) Barry Bonds had just made the last out at the bottom of the eighth. At that very moment, Todd had just bummed one last beer from a new friend at the San Francisco Giants' ballpark.

Todd was leaning on railing of the Arcade port walk, getting to the "bottom eighth" of his beer, when his Maui Jim designer sunglasses slipped off the top of his head. Down they fell, landing twenty-five feet below, where a helpful bum picked them up and tried to toss them back. But it was too far! Todd called out that he was coming down to get them.

Todd had recently relocated to Santa Cruz for the gnarly waves at Maverick's. His wife described him as "a passionate surfer" talented enough to turn pro. Perhaps his sense of physical prowess was his downfall. The agile 38-year-old considered and rejected the long walk down, in favor of a quicker alternative. He climbed over the railing, jumped to perch on a light sconce five feet below, then dropped like Tarzan to the ground, gratefully reclaiming his shades from the bum.

At least, that was the plan. And the first part, climbing the railing, went fine. The second part was more problematic. Todd missed the sconce and "came down like a pancake," according to a startled observer a few feet from the point of impact. The crowd was shocked into silence. Why would anyone risk their life for a pair of shades?

*Maui Jim sunglasses retail for as much as $200.

Todd would have been chagrined to hear the observer's next words. "They looked cheap," he said, apologizing, "I don't know sunglasses brands."

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Submitted by: David Bertoldi
Reference: San Francisco Examiner, San Jose Mercury News, Santa Cruz Sentinal

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