Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution is so widely accepted that today’s Darwin Awards honour those who have improved humankind’s gene pool by leaving it. These are the blokes who think the Gaza Strip is the adhesive side of a band aid. 

OK, let’s be blunt: these guys perished in ways that forced a reasonable man to conclude that they were several popadoms short of a curry.  

2019 saw an over-achiever’s share of US awardees. Do you, dear reader, still need proof that the Trump Effect is contagious? Consider the overall winner, a Maine man who exemplified the maxim: “he who digs a pit for his brother will himself fall into it.”

To make his home theft-proof, the rocket scientist remembered the Old Loose-Tooth Trick, to wit: “When someone slams that door, this line will tighten, and that tooth will shoot out of your mouth like a bullet!”

Thus, said RS duly rigged his front door with a line to a handgun designed to fire when the door opened, presumably to slay rapacious robber. These traps, however, are only successful if the idiot-savant remembers them in the first place.

Alas, he didn’t and the rest, as they say, is herstory: his wife inherited the property.

Two morals can be gleaned from our next story also set in these United States. One, there is only one Eval Knievel. And, two, there can be one stupid person but for sheer, bona fide idiocy, there isn’t anything like teamwork.

The Black Bayou Bridge in Louisiana was closed to traffic to allow a boat underneath to pass through in the wee hours of the morning of May 26.  But two Texas men sitting in a Chevy Cruise thought they might do a Blues Brothers and “shoot the gap.”

But they forgot that the Blues Brothers were on a “Mission from God” in a Hollywood movie and they weren’t. The driver reversed a fair bit and then accelerated for all his worth only to find out that while evolution was a theory, gravity was a law and so they plunged over the bridge, into the waves and into immortality as Double Darwin winners.

The US is a sizable chunk of country and there are enough wealthy people who qualify as pilots and purchase planes because flying home is easier than driving. We, and the air-traffic controllers in question, assume that said pilots are sharper than your average bowling ball.

Patrick, 52, was up to the task of hopping his new plane home. Licensed to fly commercial aircraft, Patrick had 10,000 hours of flight time and an instructor certificate. But during the first two take-off climbs, aviation fuel – basically, kerosene – had entered the cockpit and sloshed around his feet.

At this point, any sane pilot would have fled screaming into the night.

Not the intrepid Pat. At his third stop in Missoula, he called a mechanic familiar with his plane and casually mentioned that he’d had the plane checked out and it was fine. The mechanic reacted sensibly enough. “Are you crazy?” he screamed and immediately recommended grounding the plane until the issue was resolved.

But Pilot Patrick was made of sterner, if less intelligent, stuff and overruled the mechanic, saying he would fly the plane but, as a concession, would do so with its electrical systems offline. This is referred to as flying ‘in the dark’ with no instruments. It’s especially baffling because the aircraft was newly purchased, and its trustworthiness had yet to be established.

It is at this point when Catholic priests generally administer the last rites and make the sign of the Cross.

Plucky Patrick subsequently took off from Missoula International Airport only to crash in a flaming fireball. The crash report stated: “The pilot was [likely] distracted by fuel entering the cockpit and failed to maintain adequate airspeed as he returned to the airport to rectify the problem resulting in an aerodynamic stall.”

Here Lies Pilot Pat

Of sense he made a hash

Didn’t see where it was at

And flew into a crash.