The Darwin Awards

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;  there is no one who does good.  Psalm 14:1

There seem to be awards for everything. An award that recently caught my attention was the Darwin Award. The Darwin awards are awarded posthumously. They go to people who have managed to kill themselves in an extraordinary and stupid way. One recipient received the award after being crushed to death by a coke machine from which he was attempting to obtain a free can of pop.

But the Darwin Award that topped all awards was the one given to the mystery owner of a jet-propelled Chevy Impala. The story goes that the Arizona Highway Patrol discovered smoldering metal embedded 41 metres up the side of a cliff above a curve in the road. The wreckage resembled an airplane crash, but after the concerted efforts of a lab they discovered that the wreckage actually came from a car.

The driver had somehow got hold of a JATO unit (Jet Assisted Take Off – actually a solid fuel rocket) usually used to give heavy military transport planes an extra “push” when taking off from short runway airfields. With the JATO unit attached to his car the man ignited the unit about 8 kilometres from the crash site. Within five seconds maximum thrust was reached, causing the Chevy to hit speeds well in excess of 560 kilometres per hour and continue like that for about 20 to 25 seconds. The driver, soon to be pilot, most likely experienced G-forces such as those endured by F-14 fly-boys under full afterburners.

Somehow he kept the car on the highway for about 4 kilometres before applying and completely melting the brakes. Then the tires blew out leaving thick rubber marks across the asphalt just before the car became airborne for an additional 4 kilometres. When the car hit the cliff, it left a black crater a metre deep in the rock. Most of the driver’s remains were completely unrecoverable although small fragments of bone, teeth, and hair were extracted from the crater.

What a story! It’s hard to believe anyone can be so foolish. But then again, maybe it isn’t. For God’s Word reminds us that “the way of a fool seems right to him” and that “a fool is hotheaded and reckless” Proverbs 12:15; 14:16.

Which brings us back to the Darwin Awards. I wonder how long it will be before the panel of selectors come to the conclusion that the ultimate Darwin Award should go to the fool who “says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” Psalm 14:1.

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