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Cleaning the Gene Pool 

Wednesday, Feb 25 2009
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To win a Darwin Award, you don’t need to die, you just need to destroy your capacity to reproduce — you can fuck a vacuum cleaner. The rules committee also puts a premium on excellence — “The candidate must suffer an astounding lapse of judgment” — and maturity — “The candidate must be capable of sound judgment.” This is why no babies win Darwin Awards. Although you don’t have to be male, it helps. Men win nearly all of them, possibly due to their curiosity about power tools, their lack of curiosity about electricity, an inability to follow directions in the order received, and the desire to do even the simplest things (like trimming the hedges) in new and spectacular ways (with a lawnmower). Alcohol, too, plays a role — who hasn’t known exactly how to fly a small plane after 10 beers? Every year dozens of people are nominated, their stories are submitted to the Darwin Awards Web site, and the rules committee — which is actually just Wendy Northcutt — declares the winners. When the mood strikes, the former scientist packages the best stories in a book. Since 2000, she’s released five, including her latest, Darwin Awards: Next Evolution. We like the one about the guy who expired after ingesting 100 ounces of sherry — rectally.

Northcutt appears in conversation with local TV reporter Mike Sugerman.
Tue., March 10, 6 p.m., 2009

About The Author

Michael Leaverton

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