By Haddon Libby

On the first day of summer, temperatures in the Coachella Valley surpassed 120 degrees.

Despite these scorching temperatures, two ‘rocket scientists’ decided to hike the Bump and Grind Trail.  It was so hot at the time of their 911 call that a rescue helicopter could not be safely dispatched to airlift them to safety.  As such, the fire department was called in.

What type of Einstein has the brilliant idea of hiking the trail on one of the hottest days in the history of one of the hottest places on Earth?!  There is no word as to whether these two had anything to do with the timing of the Palm Desert High School outdoor graduation ceremony two weeks earlier.  The good news as it relates to the high school is that their graduation will be indoors next year.

Getting back to our Bump and Grinders, firefighters had to hike one mile in temperatures nearing 110 degrees to reach them.  By the time the hikers and their rescuers were off the hill, temperatures had reached 117 degrees.  The hikers were then taken to the hospital with mild to moderate heat exhaustion.

This incident points out something that you and I sometimes forget: people can be really, really stupid.

People are so consistently stupid that there is an award for the dumbest of the dumb called the Darwin Awards.  This award is given posthumously to those who improve the human gene pool by removing themselves from it.  Fortunately for our hikers, they do not qualify (this time) thanks to the quick action of our fire department.

One recent Darwin Award winning pair claimed their moment of infamy when one laid down on train tracks so that a train could pass over him.  His friend decided to watch and kneeled next to his buddy.  Unfortunately for him, his head was at train level.  The marginally smarter one who lay prone on the tracks didn’t survive either.

A year earlier, the now late Chad Wolfe decided to impress his girlfriend by forcing open an elevator at the Tampa International Airport.  From here, he jumped toward the elevator cables and wrapped his arms and legs around the cables with the intent of sliding to the bottom like countless action movie thrillers that he must have seen.  It didn’t work.

A few years before that, a Korean man bound to a wheelchair was upset by an elevator door that would not open for him.  As a result, he repeatedly rammed his wheelchair into the door until it opened.  Unfortunately, the elevator was not there and he fell to his death.

Not dumb enough you say?  Let’s bow our heads in remembrance of Gary Allen Banning who accidentally drank from a jar of gasoline. He proceeded to get rid of the nasty taste by smoking a cigarette.  Kaboom!

Gary is not the only one to have problems with fumes.  A South Carolina man decided to rob a bank yet in the middle of the robbery had an epiphany and realized that he needed a disguise.  Seeing a can of spray paint, he sprayed liberally and died from the fumes.

You want dumber?  Okay, how about an Oregon man who crashed his truck into a power line pole.  In order to free his truck from the tangled mess, he took pruning shears out of his truck and attempted to clip away those pesky high voltage wires.  Zzzap!

Lastly, let’s not forget NRA member Ken Barger who couldn’t sleep at night unless his trusty .38 calibre Smith & Wesson rested on the nightstand next to him.  Unfortunately for Ken, someone rang in the middle of the night and a sleepy Ken picked up the gun instead of the phone and shot himself in the head.

Haddon Libby is an Investment Advisor at Winslow Drake who can be reached at 760.449.6349, HLibby@WinslowDrake.com or by Skype.

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