Our Second Darwin Award

The first time we gave someone a Darwin Award was here. Before then we always avoided announcing such awards because the Darwin Award is a misuse of Darwin’s name. According to Wikipedia, the Darwin award is:

a tongue-in-cheek honor … to recognize individuals who contribute to human evolution by self-selecting themselves out of the gene pool through putting themselves (unnecessarily) in life-threatening situations

But as before, today’s news is just too good to ignore. You’ve probably already heard about it. According to NBC’s Channel 4 in New York: Man Who Jumped into Tiger Den at Bronx Zoo Charged. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Before his now-infamous tangle with a Bronx Zoo tiger, David Villalobos adorned his Facebook page with New Age odes to Mother Earth and affirmations like, “Be love and fearless.”

Police said Saturday that Villalobos had told detectives that it was without fear that he leaped from an elevated train into the animal’s den. His reason, they said, was that “he wanted to be one with the tiger.”

We know — the man’s not dead yet, so technically he doesn’t qualify for the award. Nevertheless, we judge him worthy because he certainly has what it takes to remove himself from the gene pool, and he’s likely to achieve that status before too long. Therefore, even though it’s a bit premature, we’re giving him the award anyway. On with the story:

Despite serious injuries, he [Villalobos] claimed he was able to get his wish and pet the tiger — a male Siberian named Bashuta — before his rescue, the spokesman added.

But that’s not being “one with the tiger.” Villalobos didn’t get his wish at all. Let’s read on:

Police had said earlier that Villalobos admitted to a police officer at the scene that he made a conscious decision to jump — “Everyone has a reason for what they do in life,” he was quoted as saying — but that his motives were murky and an arrest uncertain.

His motives were murky? Not to us! He wanted our award and he’s got it. We continue:

Villalobos remained hospitalized with bites and punctures on his arms, legs, shoulders and back, as well as a broken right shoulder, right rib, right ankle and pelvis and a collapsed lung. Police said there was no indication he was intoxicated.


He was alone with Bashuta for about 10 minutes before he was rescued by zoo officials, who used a fire extinguisher to chase the animal away.

The man knew what he was doing. The zoo people shouldn’t have interfered! Here’s one more excerpt:

“When someone is determined to do something harmful to themselves, it’s very hard to stop that,” said [zoo director Jim] Breheny. “The tiger did nothing wrong.”

So there you are. We congratulate David Villalobos, and we wish him well in the pursuit of his ultimate goal.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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9 responses to “Our Second Darwin Award

  1. Guess the tiger just wasn’t hungry enough to fulfill Villalobos’s wish of “becoming one with the tiger”.

    He should have checked the zoo’s feeding schedule first. Better luck next time fella! (If they ever let you back in the zoo, that is.)

  2. The idea of “becoming one with the tiger” reminds me of the poem by Don Marquis titled “the robin and the worm” (Google it), from *archy and mehitabel*.

    My mother considered this a political satire on the assimilation of European countries into the Axis powers in WWII, and when read that way it works very well. However, for me it’s just as entertaining seen as a purely ecological parable about predators and prey.

  3. Big cats had to be early man’s
    biggest predator so I’m surprised by this man’s lack of connection with the most basic of instinctual behaviors.
    But, On March 3 2012 a contractor spraying weed killer at a wildlife park in,,,,,,,,Darwin, was mauled by a lioness. Somebody deserves a runner up award probably . On a related topic sci guy,
    Montecore was the name of the 7 year old Siberian tiger that ended Roy Horn’s career. Roy had trained him since the tiger was a cub. This man’s decision to shorten the recommended Siegfried and Roy training cycle may have been ill considered..Perhaps Villanip failed to wear a rhinestone vest and have his hair poofed out before he jumped in. It seems to have worked for Roy, sort of.
    Or, as retired prof suggests, the parable about the lion and the mouse, might not be taken so seriously by those who resemble a Big Mac to a Big Cat. Anyone want to bet Viva Noose is a creationist? Relationship?

  4. I think the actual Darwin Awards would probably just give him an honorable mention, which is really just a warning to not let this person’s genetic material continue to exist in the gene pool…

  5. Yes, for a full Darwin, you either need to kill yourself or castrate yourself. Otherwise you’re still in the gene pool.

  6. Lurker111 notes:

    for a full Darwin, you either need to kill yourself or castrate yourself. Otherwise you’re still in the gene pool

    Good point — but it suggests to me there should be a distinct award for cases such as this present one.

    How about: The Wallace Award?

  7. I don’t think we should be so dismissive of this guy’s wish to become one with the tiger. After all, the tiger was willing to become one with him … or at least large bloody chunks of him.

  8. …Villalobos adorned his Facebook page with New Age odes to Mother Earth and affirmations like, “Be love and fearless.”

    He can still breed — at least nothing in his list of injuries suggests otherwise. Therefore he’s technically undeserving of an award honoring none-too-bright recipients who’ve successfully (if unwittingly) “thinned out the herd” for the common good of the species. He could still be eligible for some kind of creative grammar award, though. That Facebook entry should have been a tip-off that Dave didn’t exactly have both oars in the water.

  9. @Megaloonyx: In the book containing the Darwin Awards, there actually is an honorable mentions section, as well as a section for people who remove themselves from the gene pool without… ahem… killing themselves.