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Stan the Statistician <<Last | Next>> | Current Stan | Archive Stan
Work in the media? Struggle with statistics? Stan's irreverent (and often irrelevant) review of the latest media reports, news and gossip may not help at all... Stan the Statistician

Stan # 19: Darwin Awards: More unfortunate deaths 27 February 1999

The Darwin Awards have always proved popular with my readers, so here is another selection courtesy of the Sunday Times (London, England).

The latest candidates for the most spectacular way to cause your own death, thus improving the gene pool, are:

A 27 year old French estate agent who lost control of her car on a road near Marseilles and crashed into a tree killing herself. Accidents such as this do not usually qualify for a Darwin Award but this was special because the driver's attention, it is believed, was distracted by her Tamagotchi, which hung on the car keys and beeped for food. Wanting to save the Tamagotchi's life, it seems she ignored the road and lost her own.

In Brazil, three insurance salesmen were flying in a plane at low altitude when it approached another aircraft. For a lark, they decided to, 'moon' the other plane. Somehow in the execution of this manoeuvre, they lost control of the plane and crashed. They were all found dead with their pants around their ankles.

The saddest tale concerns the unemployed Inuit who was searching for a cheap way of getting high and mixed petrol with milk (don't try this at home) to get his buzz. After he drank it he became ill and vomited into the fireplace of his house managing to ignite his discharge. As a result he went up in flames, the house burnt down and his sister was killed.

For reasons of good taste, I cannot go into too much detail about the American executive who was found suffocated in the basement of his home. He was wearing a pleated skirt, white bra, black and white saddle shoes and a woman's wig. His activity also included a military gas mask, a rubber hose and a hollow piece of bedpost that was 12 inches long and three inches in diameter. Please don't try this at home either.

I wonder how much time we spend in our lives listening to endless menus of options on automated switchboards. One of the worst I came across was that installed at the Institute of Mental Health. Regular readers of my desktop will be able to guess why I rang.

"Hello and welcome to the Institute of Mental Health hotline.

If you are Obsessive-Compulsive, press 1 - repeatedly.

If you are Co-Dependent, please ask someone to press 2 for you.

If you have Multiple Personalities, press 3, 4, 5 and 6.

If you are Paranoid, we know who you are and what you want. Stay on the line so we can trace your call.

If you are Delusional, press 7 and your call will be transferred to the Mother Ship.

If you are Schizophrenic, listen carefully and a small voice will tell you which number to press.

If you are Depressive, it doesn't matter which button you press, no one will answer.

If you are Dyslexic, press 969696969696969.

If you have a Nervous Disorder, please fidget with the hash key until the beep. Or after the beep. Please wait for the beep.

If you have Short Term Memory Loss, please try your call again later.

If you have Low Self Esteem, please hang up. All our operators are far too busy to talk to you."

Check in again at my desk soon!
stan@adweb.co.uk

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