The Darwin Awards

2002 At-Risk Survivor

Next Prev Random At-Risk Survivors have misadventures that stop short of the ultimate sacrifice. Nevertheless we salute the spirit of their colossal blunders with an Honorable Mention. Better luck next time!

New Hog
2002 At-Risk Survivor
Confirmed True by Darwin

(1 October 2002, Saginaw, Michigan) Jim was pushing 60 when youthful memories of Easy Rider brought him to the local Harley-Davidson dealership. "It was a mid-age crisis," he told a reporter. "I'd see dudes with women and thought a motorcycle would put me in like Flynn."

When the dealer delivered the gleaming new hog to Jim's front door, his eyes lit up like a boy receiving a Red Ryder 200-shot carbine air rifle with a compass in the stock, and no grownups around to warn him that his new toy could put an eye out!

Jim started the engine and felt its pulsing, guttural power. It had been 30 years since he had been in the saddle of a babe-magnet like this. He revved the engine and listened to it purr. He kicked it into gear and roared off down the road. Born to be wild.

Ten seconds and a tenth of a mile later, Jim slammed into a neighbor's utility trailer at 40 mph as he tried to remember how the throttle worked. The cops who investigated told him it was a miracle he was alive. He survived with just a few broken ribs. "Oh my God," he said, "I hurt in places I didn't know could hurt."

Insurance covered repairs to the bike and the trailer. Jim sold the restored dream machine for $800 less than he paid, but every few weeks, he continue to receive mailings from his complimentary membership in the Harley Owners Group. Some dreams die hard.

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