If you have never heard of the Darwin Awards, take a moment to familiarize yourself.
Okay, welcome back. Now that we’re on the same page, let me present to you MY nominees for people who should be on the list, or who probably will be one day.
Rhino Man. Every Tuesday, after I finish my volunteer shifts, I sign out with my hours at the volunteer lounge. It’s located behind the Keiki Zoo (aka the “Barnyard” at every other zoo) and you get there via an access that’s along the side of the exit from the “Africa Savannah” section. I know you won’t know exactly what I mean, but let it suffice to know that I pass the African wild dogs, some goats, and a pair of black rhinoceroses. Yesterday I signed out on the book, counted up my hours for March (28– go me!) and then went back from whence I came, as I park on the opposite side of the zoo. As I’m passing the black rhino exhibit, I see a woman with a stroller looking over the wooden guard rail. Let me take a moment to describe the exhibit: wooden guard rail, steep drop to moat, then a gentle rise to a hill with a breeding pair of young and feisty rhinos. I walk closer to see what she’s looking at, and realize she’s looking at her husband, who has hopped the guard rail and is now leaning over the moat to take a photo of the rhino at the bottom. Black rhinos weigh approximately two tons. That’s four thousand pounds. And he’s leaning toward one, at the edge of a moat from which you cannot escape as it was designed to contain rhinos. Oh, yes, Mr. Tourist, let’s get closer to the near-sighted, two-ton animal that will charge you and stomp you into the dirt. Yikes.
Cove Swimmer. This actually applies to a large number of people. Down around the southeastern corner of the island is an overlook to a point of rocks where water spews into the air, call the Halona Blowhole. The Blowhole attracts a lot of visitors (we’re talking tour bus loads of them) which is strange to me as it’s really only interesting for about three minutes. Seriously. Once you’ve seen it (assuming conditions are right for it to even be spewing) then it becomes much more interesting to people watch. Or look for turtles. But this little story isn’t about turtles. To the right of the Blowhole is a beautiful little cove where monk seals basked once upon a time. It is now too crowded with people for them. This is pretty standard for that part of the coast, except for one thing: the only way to get to the cove is to climb down a cliff and put yourself at the mercy of the rocks and the waves. And people jump off into it. It’s crazy. See?
But one in particular got my attention. I saw a guy walk away from the cove and to the left along the rocks toward the Blowhole so that he could jump into the area in front of where the Blowhole sucks water into the tunnel that pushes out the spewing bit. Brilliant. This doesn’t even account for the people who think it’s fun to stick their heads into the Blowhole to watch for the water coming.
Poor-planning Dad. When whale counting a few weeks ago, we spotted a group of people behind us (where the mountain rises) walking through the prickly bushes. That side of the island is dry and hot and steep, but people walk through that stuff all the time, so at first we didn’t pay any attention to them. Then we realized they were trying to climb the mountain. Koko Crater, to be exact. See? This is from a distance so doesn’t look as big as it is, but trust me, it’s big.
Well, we took our binoculars, since the whale action had slowed a lot, and looked closer, only to realize it was a dad with four little girls. He was trying to walk them up the mountain in their shorts and sandals. They got about halfway up and got stuck, and then he finally had to start leading them back down, one at the time, to keep them from being blown off the mountain. Sometimes I’d love to know what people are thinking. The kicker of the whole thing? There’s a marked trail with stairs just around the other side of the mountain. He could’ve looked down into the crater safely, and chose to try and haul his children up the steepest part.
So those are my nominees. People doing stupid things never cease to amaze me.