Charles Darwin with a purple swarm around his head, contemplating the twist of fate that natural selection sidestepped these still-living honorable mentions.

2008 Honorable Mention

Next Prev Random Honorable Mentions 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!

Missionary Kid
2008 Honorable Mention
Unconfirmed by Darwin

Then I had a bright idea...

Darwin says, "I have become very fond of these 'lived to tell the tale' narratives. Many people have survived a brush with death, and their stories make vivid cautionary tales for our younger readers."

(Indonesia) I was a missionary kid, 9 years old and fascinated with fireworks. My favorite was the Roman candle. You hold one end of a cardboard tube in your hand, and the other end shoots pretty colored balls into the air. Then I had a "bright" idea! Wouldn't it be cool to see that stuff shoot out the end of a coke bottle?

I was 9 years old. No sooner said than done! I pulled out my pocket knife, split some Roman candles in half, and poured their phosphorous goodness into a coke bottle. Then, with naive confidence, I lit the match. I still have nightmares about that match at the mouth of the coke bottle, and I'm 41 now!

Witnesses said it was the loudest explosion they'd ever heard. The explosion burned off my eyebrows, singed my hair, and peppered me with glass shrapnel. I couldn't hear anything, but apparently I was screaming hysterically and hopping on my one good foot until I collapsed and was carried to the hospital. I spent several hours in surgery, having glass picked out of my body, and the tendons above my ankle reattached. They had been severed completely in two.

The top of the coke bottle was found in the street, fifty feet away. To this day, an occasional piece of glass surfaces through my skin! Among my missionary kid friends, I am a legend in stupidity for that brilliant event. © 1994 - 2020
Reference: Eyewitness Account by Chris Harper, MD

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