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97 Darwin Awards

 These awards are given each year to bestow upon (the remains of) that
 individual, who through single-minded self sacrifice, has done
 the most to
 remove undesirable elements from the human gene pool.  Note,
 there wasgreat improvement in the areas of
 teamwork and cooperation among the candidates in 1997-- it's
 no longer an
 individual sport .  Here are (drum roll) the 1997 runners-up
 and winners:
 5th Runner-up:  A San Anselmo, California man died when he hit
 a lift tower
 at the Mammoth Mountain ski area while riding down the slope on
 a foam pad.
 22-year old David Hubal was pronounced dead at Centinela
 Mammoth Hospital.
 The accident occurred about 3 a.m., The Mono County Sheriff's
 said.  Hubal and his friends apparently had hiked up a ski run
 called Stump
 Alley and undid some
 yellow foam protectors from lift towers, said Lt. Mike Donnelly of the
 Mammoth Lakes Police Department.  The pads are used to
 protect skiers who might hit towers.  The group apparently used
 the pads to
 slide down the ski slope and Hubal crashed into a tower. It has
 since been
 investigated and determined the tower he hit was the one with
 its pad
 4th Runner-up:  Robert Puelo, 32, was apparently being
 disorderly in a St.
 Louis market.  When the clerk threatened to call the police.
 Puelo grabbed a
 hot dog, shoved it into his mouth, and walked out without
  paying. Police
 found him unconscious in front of the
 store-paramedics removed the six-inch wiener from his throat
 where it had
 choked him to death.
 3rd Runner-up:  To poacher Marino Malerba of Spain, who shot a
 stag standing
 above him on an overhanging rock and was killed instantly when
 it fell on him.
 2nd Runner-up:  Man loses face at party.  A man at a West
 Virginia party
 (probably related to the man in Arkansas who used the 22 bullet
 to replace
 the fuse in his pick-up truck) popped a blasting cap into his mouth and
 down, triggering an explosion that blew off his lips, teeth,
 and tongue.
 Jerry Stromyer, 24, of Kincaid, bit the blasting cap as a prank
 during the
 party late Tuesday night, said Cpl. M.D. Payne.  "Another man
 had it in an
 aquarium hooked to a battery and was trying to explode it",
 said Payne.  "It
 wouldn't go off and this guy said I'll show you how to set it
 off". "He put
 it into his mouth and bit down.  It blew all his teeth out and
 his lips and
 tongue off", Payne said.  Stromyer was listed in guarded
 condition Wednesday
 with extensive facial injuries, according to a spokesperson at Charleston
 Area Medical Division.  "I just can't imagine anyone doing something like
 that", Payne said.
 1st Runner-up:  Doctors at Portland University Hospital said an Oregon
 shot through the skull by a hunting arrow is lucky to be alive
  and will be
 released soon from the hospital.  Tony Roberts, 25, lost his
 right eye last
 weekend during an initiation into a man's rafting club, Mountain Men
 Anonymous (probably known now as Stupid Mountain Men Anonymous)
  in Grants
 Pass, Oregon.  A friend tried to shoot a beer can off his head,
 but the
 arrow entered Robert's right eye.  Doctors said had the arrow
 gone 1
 millimeter to the left, a major blood vessel would have been
  cut and Roberts
 would have died instantly.  Neurosurgeon Doctor Johnny Delashaw
  the University Hospital in Portland said the arrow went
  through 8 to 10
 inches of brain with the tip protruding at the rear of his skull, yet
 somehow managed to miss all major blood vessels.  Delashaw also
 said had
 Roberts tried to pull the arrow out on his own he surely would
 have killed
 himself. Roberts admitted afterwards he and his friends had
 been drinking
 that afternoon.  Said Roberts, "I feel so dumb about this".  No
 charges have
 been filed, but the Josephine County district attorney's office
 said the
 initiation stunt is under investigation
 Last year's winner, you will remember, was the fellow who was
 killed when he
 attached a JATO (Jet Assisted Take Off) unit to his Chevy Impala and shot
 himself and his car into a desert cliff at 300 this year's
  (The late) John Pernicky and his friend, (the late) Sal
 Hawkins, of the
 great state of Washington, decided to attend a local Metallica
 concert at the George, Washington amphitheater.  Having no tickets (but
 having had 18 beers between them), they thought it would be
 easy to "hop"
 over the nine-foot fence and sneak into the show.  They pulled their
 truck over to the fence and the plan was for (the late) Mr.Pernicky (who
 was 100-pounds heavier than Mr. Hawkins) to hop the fence and
  then assist
 his friend over. Unfortunately for (the late) Mr. Pernicky, there was a
 30-foot drop on the other side of the fence.  Having heaved
 himself over, he
 found himself crashing through a tree.  His fall was abruptly
 halted (and
 broken, along with his arm, as it were) by a large branch that
 snagged him
 by his shorts.  Dangling from the tree with a broken arm, he
 looked down and
 saw some bushes below him.  (Possibly) figuring the bushes would break
 fall, he removed his pocket knife and proceeded to cut away his
 shorts to
 free himself from the tree.  Finally free, (did I mention he is
 Mr. Pernicky crashed into Holly bushes.  The sharp leaves
 scratched his
 ENTIRE body and now without the protection of his shorts, a Holly branch
 penetrated his rectal cavity.  To make matters worse (?!), on
 landing, his
 pocket knife penetrated his thigh 3-inches.  (The late) Mr.
  Hawkins, on
 seeing his friend in considerable pain and agony, decided to
  throw him a
 rope and pull him to safety (now he thinks of the "S" word) by
 tying the
 rope to the pick-up truck and slowly driving away.  However, in
 his drunken
 haste/state, he put the truck into reverse and crashed through
 the fence
 landing on his friend and killing him.  Police arrived to find
 the crashed
 pick-up with its driver thrown 100-feet from the truck and dead
 at the scene
 from massive internal injuries.  Upon moving the truck, they
 found John
 under it, half-naked with scratches on his body, a holly stick in
 his rectum, a knife in his thigh, and his shorts dangling from a tree
 25-feet in the air.   Congratulations gentlemen, you win..
 Remember THE safety question:
 Have a safe day (& year!),
 Safety Dog

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