There was a grocery store down the street from where I grew up called Bob’s IGA. Inside of that store was a video game called “Elevator Action.” Unlike Pac-Man or Galaga, this game required a “spy” to sneak in and out of different doors and then ride elevators to various treasure-laden floors. If you were spotted by nefarious ne’er-do-wellers, then you simply shot them and moved on. You would get three “lives” to try to get to the top of the building and catch a helicopter. Three lives for a quarter.
I spent, roughly, a bajillion dollars in quarters playing that game. I’d rummage through couches, I’d scan the ground. I’d occasionally “borrow” a quarter or two from my sister’s piggy bank. But with only three lives, I never quite beat the game.
This week is fireworks week in the Midwest, and it seems important to remind everyone that you only get one life in this game. Losing a finger or an eye sure sounds like a great story to tell at parties, but it’s not, really. Losing your life because you wanted to light an M-80 out of your butt is an even dumber story – because it’s likely your next of kin telling it.
But it does seem that access to money isn’t a barrier to finding dumb ways to die. Which brings us to this week’s nomination for the Darwin Awards. . .the wealthy “tourists” who took a “submarine” to visit the wreckage of the Titanic. A CBS News report toured this submarine a few months ago and it was made with parts from Cabelas and seemed to be controlled by a Playstation game controller. Be that as it may, these tourists have paid up to $250,000 a “cruise” to be a mission specialist on this tour. While their current status was unavailable at press time, it is looking more likely that they have joined the Titanic at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.
To take a tin can down 13,000 feet to where you are subject to 150 MILLION pounds of pressure and PAY to do it sounds pretty dumb to me.
And yet, here we are hoping for their safe return, yet acknowledging that maybe this wasn’t the smartest thing someone could do with $250,000.
There’s a website devoted to recent “Darwin” award winners. The Darwins are given to those who die to allow for evolution to cull those who aren’t making the cut. The site references a man who died while jumping out of his car in the middle of an automatic car wash. It talks about a man who kept dangerous types of venomous snakes found in his home after being bitten by a venomous snake. It mentions a wealthy man who died touring an active volcano when… you guessed it… the volcano erupted.
Money isn’t a barrier to being dumb, fortunately. But it does amplify the stupidity. A quarter used to buy me three men on Elevator Action. Now, a quarter of a million dollars bought four “explorers” a one-way trip to the bottom of the sea. Welcome to the Darwin Awards.
(Welcome to the world of Chris Kamler, the man/myth/legend behind the @TheFakeNed Twitter account. Follow at your own peril)