A proud idiot. Pic: The Story Inn

STORY, Indiana, has no mayor, no government and an official population that probably would stretch the capacity of a phone box. But it does have one prestigious and hotly contested public office: Village Idiot.

Every 1 April, townsfolk elect their nincompoop-in-chief after a ballot and debate at the Story Inn, the former general store converted to delightfully rustic B&B (slogan: One Inconvenient Location Since 1851).

This year's top buffoon is 47-year-old Brad Cox, who, instead of changing the motor oil in his wife's car accidentally drained the transmission oil then put new oil on top of the old, leading to much black smoke and said vehicle "bucking like a horse". Perhaps what really pushed him over the top in the eyes of the idiot-electing populace was that he then tried to blame the missus.

Cox proudly becomes the 19th official Village Idiot, following in the none-too-bright footsteps of a Story Inn employee who crashed his brand new truck the day he bought it, the lady who ran over her own foot with her truck and the newlyweds who shared the dunce's crown after getting locked outside when going for a dip in the hot tub.

The (off)Beat's personal favourite is Dani Ham, a bartender at the inn's tavern, who, Story Inn co-owner Rick Hofstetter told the Washington Post "set her own hair on fire while simultaneously smoking, driving to work and applying hairspray to tame her coiffure".

Hofstetter even took the title himself in 2006 (and includes it on his email signature) after asking a patron who asked for a gin and tonic how you go about making one.

Idiots of Story, we salute you.