Oh if only common sense were really all that common... this article wouldn't exist. Surely many people have heard of the Darwin Awards: unfortunate awards granted to those who died in the most possibly ridiculous ways imaginable. Effectively, the Darwin Awards are meant to warn people against contaminating the gene pool with the stupid gene.
Which brings one back to the initial point. If common sense were all that common, this issue... simply would not be an issue. But some people seem to feel inclined towards stupidity. One wonders what drives one to such actions. Is it a simple tainting of the gene pool as the Darwin Awards may like to suggest, whilst they report on the whimsical weeding out of the poor genes? Or is it a deeper issue that stems not from genetic information, but from incredible mis-education?
One is inclined to think that it is an unhealthy mix of the two. Unfortunately it is probably unlikely that an adult might take a random swig of gasoline, or wiper fluid without having something wrong with both his/her genetics and education. Surely they'd have learned that both are wrong to drink, so must it then not be some sort of genetic defect that drives people to stupidity in spite of their minimal education? Either way, here are some exceptional demises due to lacking common sense... if it can be considered that common.
15 Riding The Falls
Given the ultimate severity of the outcomes of these events— death— each person involved in the cases will be referred to by their first names only, out of some degree of respect to them and their families. That being said, Robert, a daredevil of sorts, decided one day that it would be a good idea to take a jet ski, and jump off the top of Niagara Falls. Now Robert fixed his jet ski with a rocket booster in order to propel himself beyond the spray of the falls, and strapped a parachute to his back... so naturally he was more than equipped to deal with the 57m (187ft) drop.
Unfortunately, skipping lightly over what is sometimes referred to as common sense, Robert neglected to consider that ignitions are hard to achieve when the accelerants involved are wet. So, when he steadfastly rode his jet ski towards the brink, and hit the ignition for his booster... it failed to fire, and he went right over the falls. In an attempt to save himself from his failed endeavour, he made to deploy his parachute... but given that is wasn't waterproofed either, it failed as well. So he plummeted to his death at the bottom of the falls, for a number of reasons. 1) He failed to consider waterproofing. 2) He failed to consider the effects of water on jet ski, and jet ski on body after a 57m drop. 3) He failed to consider how stupid it was to think of shooting Niagara Falls (especially since an estimated 5000 people have already died going over them).
14 Wiper Fluid Cocktail
Alright, so the Beer Store (a Canadian store that sells... beer) has truck drivers to deliver their product. And those drivers have big trucks with which to deliver said product. And those trucks have cleaners in order to keep the image of the company as shiny as the billboard trailers they haul across the country. Some drivers, for some reason, like to store certain liquids in certain bottles. Typically this is urine in pop bottles, but in this instance, someone decided to leave a special treat for a cleaner. Upon inspection of a truck, this specific cleaner found a bottle of blue vodka behind the driver's seat. Thinking he'd come across a solid find, he stole what he assumed was the previous driver's vodka. Not questioning that it was blue, not thinking to smell, and apparently lacking each and every one of his taste buds, the cleaner began swigging. Which was a very bad idea. He died two days later from methanol poisoning. He was drinking wiper fluid. The irony here is that if he had decided to actually start drinking some alcohol instead, the ethanol could have chanced to bond with the methanol, saving his life. Alas, he did not make it.
13 An Explosive Finnish
Two brothers-in-law in Finland happened to be huge collectors of military armaments. By the time of death, these two Finns had collected over one hundred frag grenades, bazookas, fuse materials, and ammunition. In Canada, these sorts of collections can only be had illegally, or by way of a prohibited firearms license, an enormous amount of paperwork, and routine checks and charges. However, in Finland, no one batted an eye about this collection... until one fateful day. Working in their garage, one of the gents was diffusing a grenade from their collection (why they didn't have this done professionally is mind boggling). This was no regular grenade either: it was an anti-tank grenade. Thankfully it wasn't a phosphorous grenade, but an anti-tank grenade can really go boom. Luckily for one of the gents, there was only a small explosion. The fairly old explosive materials simply combusted and burned, creating a comparatively small explosion to what could have happened. The man holding the grenade died in transit to the hospital, and his brother-in-law managed to survive with serious injuries. Lucky for the community that the rest of armaments didn't go off. Lesson learned: don't disarm explosives in your garage... give them to a professional.
12 Shopping Cart Anchor
Apparently there is a game in the United States called "The Shopping Cart Game". Now, versions of this game have been seen played by Bam Margera and his crew of misfits in the CKY movies, but this specific incident is a bit different. Launching a human shopping cart load off a dock and into the water, the occupant swims back to shore, and the shopping cart is reeled back out (being tied off to a tree or post). Well one eighteen-year-old decided that it would be a great idea to make himself the anchor point for this game... Chance (a ridiculous name for this story, but true all the same) tied the line attached to the cart, to himself. And his buddies carried out the gang as per usual. Shoving the cart down the dock, launching it into the water. Unsurprisingly, Chance happened to be pulled down with the cart and its occupant. Dragged along the dock, and into the drink. Found hours later in water 9m deep, the young man obviously took a... chance... and didn't luck out. FYI: playing anchor to the weight of a shopping cart, and a human, under water... not a smart idea.
11 Riding Without A Helmet
Obviously this isn't about Tom Cruise riding without a helmet as he is still alive, for now. But this is about the possible consequences of riding a bike without a helmet. During a protest ride against helmet laws in New York (surely the irony is already beginning to present itself), a fifty-five-year-old man, for some reason driving at 144kph (90mph) in the event... had an accident. The accident involved the man fish-tailing, flying over his handlebars, and hitting his head on the pavement. Obviously, going at such a high speed, and thankfully proving the point of helmet laws, the man did not survive the blow to the head. Strangely enough, according to his brother, the man would have done the whole thing over again. Apparently that's the way he would've wanted it. Not sure why one would want to cave in their head again, driving without a helmet on a motorbike at break-neck speed, but perhaps that's just the genetic defect in the deceased's brother talking. Either way, those helmet laws are important Mr. Cruise. It may not be illegal to be a crazy Scientologist, but it is to ride without a helmet.
10 Resurrection Rejection
This story... this is... wow. First off, before even explaining just what happened, it must be noted that the aforementioned crack at Scientology was really just a precursor to another religious slag because... wow. So a popular Sufi in Pakistan had been gaining notoriety by performing "miracles" for a number of years. Deciding that it was time to give a big show to his followers, this Sufi claimed he was going to perform a resurrection. But he wasn't going to do something so mundane as to raise an old corpse... he wanted a fresh one. So he put out notice, looking for an acolyte willing to volunteer to be killed, and resurrected. The follower was married, and with children. On a Wednesday the ritualistic killing occurred, and preparations for the miracle resurrection began... that Thursday the Sufi was behind bars for murder. One's not sure whether the Sufi or the acolyte was more stupid, and though one might be inclined to consider this a case of mental illness... well there are over one billion Catholics in the world, and they all believe in resurrection too; not to mention the thousands of other Christian denominations. Apparently a fifth of the world is certifiable.
9 Planking... Not Necessarily A Good Exercise
Ok, so planking as an ab workout is alright (so long as one's worked their abs up to the strain first), but this predominantly Aussie game of planking is... very silly. Now the photo above isn't a direct reference to the event being discussed here, but the positioning of this idiot soldier is what this planking trend is all about. The fact that the above man is doing it on a bazooka is... rather telling, but otherwise, time to move on to the case. This act is commonly done on train tracks, clotheslines, police cars, and fire hydrants, and people take photos of it to share to the world their stupidity. The man in this incident decided it would be a great idea to get a shot of him planking on a balcony. Well the descent of man is apparently due to an incredible lack of intelligence. As is clearly suggested, the man went stiff as a board, tipped over the wrong side, and whatever was left of him on the pavement below... went stiff as a board.
8 Mattress Misstep
The warning here will come before the story. First off, don't grab a mattress at a curbside find (it's likely to be full of bed bugs), and secondly, if you do decide to grab an infested mattress, either put it inside the vehicle, or strap it to the top. The reason this warning exists is because 20-year-old Sidney, from Virginia, decided on a different way of keeping hold of the mattress. Grabbing a curb-side mattress, Sidney decided it would make the most sense to throw it onto the roof of the vehicle, and then lay atop it to hold it down as she and her friend drove home. Her notion of uncommon sense? Deciding that the laws of physics do not somehow apply to her. Obviously she and the mattress flew off the top of the vehicle. One bounced right back, and the other... well Sidney did not make it. The moral of the story (feeling it needs to be reiterated) is not to attempt to defy the laws of physics: strap the damn mattress down.
7 Playing Homeless For Column Inches
A Newcastle journalist, deciding he was going to get a real inside scoop on the state of homelessness in the area, took to the streets with no food or money, dressed as a bag man. Lee, 26, stated "I will sleep rough, scrounge for my food, interact with as many homeless people as possible, and immerse myself in that lifestyle as deeply as I can." These are the last words the general public heard from this journalist. Lee, after only three days of living the street life, was found frozen to death in a boarded up hostel. Now given that there are an estimated 2300 homeless people out and about on those streets each night, imagine how many corpses must be found throughout the Winter. Granted, this was a previously pampered journalist who hadn't had a chance to acclimatize, but still. Take a lesson from Lee: it's not nice being homeless. It's dangerous, and evidently deadly. There's a reason why there are homeless shelters.
6 Head Out The Window
This is a classic tale that no one ever cites a specific story for. Kids are simply taught to keep their hands and heads in vehicles at all times. Well, here's a story readers can now cite when instructing kids on how not to have a severe case of death. This young girl in Brazil was at least old enough to know better here, but she's unfortunately made this article, so one can assume she ignored her better judgement. At fourteen years old, this girl, who had been previously suspended and shouldn't have been on the bus to begin with, did that perilous deed that all adults warn against. Sticking her head out the window, into the narrow streets of Serra, Brazil, this young lady discovered why people are warned against such activities. Contacting a utility pole, the girl did most certainly not make it. So again, kids, listen to your parents and teachers when they tell you to keep your hands and heads inside the vehicle at all times!
5 Wild Elephant Selfie
Yeah, ok, so taking pictures of elephants is most certainly acceptable. Taking selfies on safari, also acceptable. Taking selfies while right up close to wild elephant... results in the removal of one's genes from the pool. So, in Kenya, two men went out to a wild elephant, and began taking selfies. Going so far as touching the elephant's face while taking the photos, the two didn't seem to anticipate how the elephant might feel. Understandably, the elephant was none too happy, and proceeded to trample the two men to death. Seemingly the elephant either looked to hide its deeds or give the two men a burial of sorts, as it then covered the men in brush. This author would like to think that the elephant was being respectful to two men who were to daft to respect the elephant. Regardless, one should treat wild elephants the way they treat lions. One would like to presume that these two selfie-takers wouldn't stroll up to a lion to snap some shots, so learn from them, and don't bother the elephants either. They may not eat people, but that doesn't mean they won't get pissed off.
4 Just A Swig And A Smoke
Forty-three-year-old North Carolinian, Gary, visiting his friend's apartment (apparently while his friend was out— or at least in the washroom) happened to notice a salsa jar full of a golden liquid. Apparently not thinking that it could possibly be urine, Gary decided to take a swig. Well... he was right: it wasn't urine. It was in fact gasoline. This was kept on the kitchen counter so that Gary's friend could wash grease from his hands (he was a mechanic, who apparently didn't care about the price of gas). Quickly spitting out the gas, Gary needed a way to relax after such a disgusting experience. The best way Gary could think to relax was to have a smoke. Now, for all of the even very basically educated readers here: what happens when fire meets even the vapours of an accelerant like gasoline? That's right: ignition. So, for all of those who have been buying in spite of all the warnings on the cartons: smoking kills. You're welcome.
3 Stealing Copper Wire
Don't worry, this photo is nothing more than stage makeup for a Freddy Krueger fan (seriously). The victim of this incident looked far, far worse. Now besides the fact that stealing copper wire is quite illegal, attempting to steal live copper wire is both very illegal, very dangerous, and incredibly stupid because, so long as it's live, the thief will always end up not being. This particular thief was a sixteen-year-old kid from Leeds, U.K. Given the gnarly hand photo above, and the fact that electricity can render a human being completely to ash in the blink of an eye, perhaps this may be enough to at least dissuade readers from having a go at stealing copper wire. If one must steal copper, do it from bins at a hardware store where the only risk is getting beaten by the owner or arrested by the police (or both). But live wiring... if one is not knowledgeable enough to know that is deadly by the age of five... one's parents have failed. That or there is a severe mental deficiency; genetic mutation is possible after all.
2 Cesspool Sacrifice
In a small town called Karczówka, in Poland, a group of seven men drowned in a cesspool. Opening up the septic tank to empty it into a slurry tank, the first man succumbed to the hydrogen sulfide fumes, which are highly toxic. What the man was doing that close to the muck to breathe in the fumes heavily enough to pass out is beyond this author, but it happened. Each man who came to the rescue of the first, in turn, also succumbed to the toxic fumes. Eight men in total ended up passing out into the cesspool... only one of them survived. Four of the men who ended up very truly "in the shit" were related. One speculates if this genetic connection is relevant. Regardless, a full 5% of the little town of Karczówka died in this event (its population being only 160— 153 strong). Indeed a close-knit but illogical town, there was reportedly a lineup of people ready to dive in after the first eight, but by that point, there was no more room. It's one shitty way to go, but one has to think... if the first passed out from fumes... and the second passed out from fumes... and the third, fourth, fifth... one gets the picture. Maybe cover up before diving in.
1 The Killer Cabriolet
Besides the obvious killer of one's chances with a date, the Cabriolet is apparently responsible for actually killing as well. To be fair, this is only due to shoddy work being done on it. 39-year-old mechanic, Scott, figured that it would be best to leave the car in the condition he had it, so people couldn't steal his car (not that they would in the first place). The trick Scott had in place, or rather the state of disrepair in which Scott had his car, was such that he had to put the car in gear (with the handbrake on), and then touch two wires together under the hood to start the ignition. Scott also happened to have his car set to run at a fast idol to prevent the engine from stalling. What does this all mean? Well one day, Scott forgot to set the handbrake... putting his car in gear, and popping the hood, he touched the two wires together, started the engine, and the fast idol lurched the car forward, and it kept going, running completely over the poor man. Receiving thirty six separate injuries from the incident, Scott obviously didn't make it. The coroner on the case stated: "It is quite clear that the cause of this tragedy was the unusual starting method [Scott] used to start his car." Let this be a lesson: if the car is in gear, and you're not in the driver's seat... put the handbrake on. Also: keep your car in good shape, and use the damn keys.