Ed Space January 13 2016

“To be old and wise, you must first have to be young and stupid.”

Not sure who actually first coined that saying, but I’ve often thought there to be an element of truth in it.

In a newsroom you are often confronted with the prospect of leading community outcry about certain things.

Take for example the story this week we broke online showing footage of a person jumping into the Kiama blowhole to get their kicks.

Crazy. Idiot.

As a now much older and more responsible human being, you look on it seriously, shake your head and understand that the person could have been creating the next entry in the Darwin Awards.

Haven’t heard of the Darwin Awards? 

A FOND FAREWELL: Broelman finished up as the daily cartoonist for the Illawarra Mercury this week, but we thought we'd send him off with a bang. Thank you Peter for your work over the years.

A FOND FAREWELL: Broelman finished up as the daily cartoonist for the Illawarra Mercury this week, but we thought we'd send him off with a bang. Thank you Peter for your work over the years.

They are jokingly an honour bestowed on someone who aids human evolution by doing something stupid which prematurely removes them from the human gene pool. History is littered with examples. 

Take for example the US teenager who tried to play Russian Roulette by putting one bullet in the magazine of a semi-automatic handgun. Unlike the revolver, the semi automatic instantly puts the one bullet directly into the chamber.

Or the well-publicised Australia kung-fu student who jumped into a lion enclosure to pick a fight only to end up as breakfast.

Or the Iraqi terrorist who died when he didn’t put enough stamps on his letter bomb so it came back “return to sender’’ and yep, he opened it.

Yet the Kiama blowhole jumper gave this editor cause to stop and think about his own moments of sheer idiocy as a young man which could have equally created an entry into the Darwin Awards.

As a young foolish, naive 20-year-old on a trip with a mate - our first trip to Perth, WA - we were driving along the cliffs at the mouth of the Swan River when we noticed young local teenagers jumping from them. The car was pulled over and this idiot, watched on by his far more sensible mate, decided to launch himself off the cliff into the river mouth below.

Only upon hitting the water and looking around to see absolutely no-one left in the river, did the young fool realise the locals knew the way to scale the cliffs to safety and he didn’t. They were nowhere to be seen. He was also surrounded by monstrous jellyfish and whatever else lurking below.

Half an hour later and grazed from head to toe, the cliffs were scaled and the young man learned a valuable lesson.

To the Kiama Blowhole jumper. You’ve had your fun and got a few hits on YouTube, so take the glory and rest safely in the knowledge that you have been young and stupid.

Now, grow old and wise.

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