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SEPTEMBER 1999 | VOL. 3, NO. 9



1999 Darwin Awards


"I told myself 'My God, you're great.'" - Daimi Pernia of Cuba, after winning the women's 400 hurdles at the world track and field championships in the sixth-fastest time ever.


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The Ultimate Urban Legend

  Rebecca Gayheart

Every town and city has them - in fact Hollywood cashed in on their potency last year with a laughable "horror" movie. We're talking about Urban Legends, those fantastic myths that get passed from generation to generation in some distorted form of the great oral tradition of our ancestors.

In fact Urban Legends are a bastard derivative of that ice breaker game where you recite a sentence to the first person in a line who repeats it to the second and so on and so forth until the last person in the line unknowingly spits out a comical - and entirely wrong - version. In this way, the popular urban legends may at one time have occurred in some less-spectacular form. But due to time, the pressures of being a good story-teller, the human nature of embellishment and extraordinarily poor memories, the stories have shifted from my Uncle Larry has an organ donor sticker on his license to my Uncle Fester was kidnapped and had his spleen harvested by rampant, gross bodyparts smugglers.

One thing I can guarantee is that on the sliding scale of the best fish story, nothing will top this whopper:

I know this guy whose neighbor, a young man, was home recovering from having been served a rat in his bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken. So anyway, one day he went to sleep and when he awoke, he was in his bathtub and it was full of ice and he was sore all over. When he got out of the tub, he realized that his kidneys had been stolen and he saw a note on his mirror that said, "Call 911!"

But he was afraid to use his phone because it was connected to his computer, and there was a virus on his computer that would destroy his hard drive if he opened an e-mail entitled "Join the crew!" He knew it wasn't a hoax because he himself was a computer programmer who was working on software to save us from Armageddon when the year 2000 rolls around. And it's a little-known fact that the Y1K problem caused the Dark Ages. His program will prevent a global disaster in which the computers get together and distribute the $600 Neiman-Marcus cookie recipe under the leadership of Bill Gates. (It's true - I read it all last week in a mass e-mail from Bill Gates himself, who was also promising me a free Disney World vacation and $5,000 if I would forward the e-mail to everyone I know.)

The poor man then tried to call 911 from a pay phone to report his missing kidneys, but reaching into the coin-return slot he got jabbed with an HIV-infected needle around which was wrapped a note that said, "Welcome to the world of AIDS." Luckily he was only a few blocks from the hospital - the one where that little boy who is dying of cancer is, the one whose last wish is for everyone in the world to send him an e-mail and the American Cancer Society has agreed to pay him a nickel for every e-mail he receives. I sent him two e-mails and one of them was a bunch of x's and o's in the shape of an angel (if you get it and forward it to 20 people you will have good luck but 10 people you will only have OK luck and if you send it to less than 10 people you will have bad luck for seven years).

So anyway, the poor guy tried to drive himself to the hospital, but on the way, he noticed another car driving along without its lights on. To be helpful, he flashed his lights at him and was promptly shot as part of a gang initiation.

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