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.

2003 Darwin Award Winner
Confirmed True by Darwin

(2003, California) John, a Los Angeles real estate attorney, was skimming leaves from his pool when he noticed a palm frond caught in the power lines. His education had equipped him with sufficient acumen to become a successful litigator. Yet he was not shrewd enough to avoid becoming a toasty critter, when he reached up with the long metal pole and poked at the palm frond. Did I mention the power lines?

John was, for once, the path of least resistance.

Perhaps as an homage to his litigation skills, his family sued both the utility company and the pool supply store, for failure to disclose the danger of poking a metal rod into the power lines.

From Randy Cassingham's True Stella Awards.

Reader Comments:
"A true frond."
"Power lien strikes again!"

In a related near miss:

(6 March 2008, Georgia) Childish adults were throwing Mardi Gras beads around the backyard. As luck would have it, some strands ended up wrapped around the power lines. The group tried to rescue them by throwing sticks, footballs, and sundry items, but the beads kept mocking them. One man, an EMT, figured that since aluminum doesn't conduct electricity, he could use the pool skimmer to flip the beads off the power line.

The pole hit the line and 7200 volts of electricity made an arc to the conductor on the ground, sending him flying. The last words out of his mouth before his moment of illumination? "This is pretty stupid standing under a power line with a pole in my hands."

2nd and 3rd degree burns were treated at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctor's Hospital in Augusta. After a month of therapy (physical, not mental) the EMT returned to work. (UNCONFIRMED: References sought!)

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Submitted by: Randy Cunningham
Reference: Los Angeles Times,

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