The origin of the “Darwin Awards” dates back to 1985 on a Usenet newsgroup. It was in 1993 that Wendy Northcutt (who holds a Cal-Berkeley degree in molecular biology) created the Darwin Award website and domain, and began cataloguing “dumb ways to die” (or to make oneself sterile, the other means of earning a DA). The death that may or may not be the impetus for the founding of the Darwin Awards has its 30th anniversary on Sunday.
On Friday, July 9, 1993, Garry Hoy was meeting a group of students in his law office, where he worked for the firm of Holden Day Wilson. A trick he used to perform was to jump against the pane of glass in his office. He was told the glass was unbreakable, and despite the numerous times he threw his body against the glass, it never broke.
And the glass never did break . . . while in its frame.
Due to Hoy’s repeated abuse of the window, the frame finally gave way on that fateful morning. Both Hoy and the pane of glass fell from his 24th floor office to the concrete sidewalk below the Toronto Dominion Building.
It was there that the pane of glass did finally break. Along with Hoy’s body.
The Darwin Awards’ entry on Garry Hoy can be read here, with mid-1990s web design on full display.
The ultimate irony of Hoy’s death is his level of “education”. From Unilad, June 2023:
In the grand scheme of embarrassing ways to die, Garry Hoy might just take the crown after he fell to his death out of a window while trying to demonstrate how strong it was.
Hoy, 38, was a highly-regarded employee at Toronto law firm Holden Day Wilson.
Having also earned a degree in engineering, his natural career progression was to specialise in building safety and compliance.
I should feel absolutely horrible in typing this story instead of laughing with each new detail.