Are we the only ones who think that Hilariously Failed Attempts at Guinness World Records would make a better book?
We believe we have much to learn from these brave souls who, through lack of planning and/or ability, set an example for all of us not to follow.
To break a row of coconuts open as quickly as possible with his bare hands, thus proving once and for all man's dominance over nature.
What Went Wrong
Imagine if coconut breaking was your ultimate goal in life. Practicing long and hard on the lesser, punier fruits, calculating the ideal point at which to hit a coconut for maximum destruction, trying to find someone who actually cared about your hobby...these are all part of the trials that a coconut smasher faces in life.
Imagine the anticipation when the big day comes, when you finally get that chance to join the hallowed ranks of famed fruit and vegetable destroyers that Guinness has produced.
So you invite your friends and family to watch. You get the TV cameras there to record your triumph. You line up many, many coconuts...
...And while you manage to break both your spirit and probably your hand, you break not a single coconut.
Look, we know coconuts aren't free. But when you try to set a record of some kind, you might want to, you know, practice doing it at least once. And don't practice on, say, rotten watermelons or eggplant. Spring for a couple of real coconuts, and do a dry run before the cameras get there. You'll thank yourself later.
To make the longest sandwich ever prepared, proving that they're better at wasting food than anyone else.
What Went Wrong
The record to beat was 1,378 meters, set by a group of Italians. To top that, an Iranian women's organization assembled more than 1,000 cooks with the goal of creating a 1,500-meter long sandwich. Even with that many people at work, making the sandwich was a process that took hours.
The event drew quite a crowd, as watching people make large sandwiches is one of Iran's most popular past times. Do you know what happens to people when they're either working or standing around in a crowd for a number of hours? They get hungry.
Making another compelling argument for why you shouldn't let strangers watch your record attempts, the observing crowd forced their way past the cooks and started eating the sandwich before its record length could be verified. Reports of a Scooby Dooesque scene where the crowd chomped at one end of the sandwich while the cooks frantically tried to out-build them at the other remain unconfirmed.
When inviting a hungry crowd to a lengthy event that revolves around not eating, maybe you should provide a snack or two.
To have as many people walk through a pit of hot coals as possible, demonstrating the power of peer pressure in getting people to do stupid things.
What Went Wrong
Shockingly, of the three hundred and forty-one people who gathered to take part in the attempt, some of them didn't know what they were doing. Despite strict supervision and training, twenty-eight people ended up being treated for burns and eleven of them had to be taken to the hospital.
The attempt was designed to double as a fundraising effort for New Zealand's ambulance service and in that sense it was a success, raising one thousand dollars for the cause. That is, it was a success until well over that amount had to be spent treating all the injuries. At least a number of doctors were on hand to watch the event, so help came quickly. Something tells us the bedside manner of those doctors was a lot more sarcastic and bitter than usual.
"According to this X-ray, you're not retarded. Well, that can't be right."
If you're going to raise money for a health service, try doing something that doesn't inevitably involve horrible burn wounds.
To assemble as many people dressed and painted as Smurfs as possible, proving...well...you know, we're not exactly sure what this one is supposed to prove.
What Went Wrong
The event was organized quite well, but those in charge forgot one key step: figuring out what the old record was. Thinking that the previous largest number of Smurf-clad adults gathered in one place couldn't have been higher than, say, one, 395 Croats--all of whom apparently had Smurf costumes handy--assembled and waited to enter the annals of pointless world record history.
Unfortunately for the group, 451 students from Warwick University had beaten them to it the previous year, rending their accomplishment somehow even sadder than it already was.
We're curious as to the exact point in time these people learned they had failed. Was it well after they had thrown their funny little hats into the air, joyously celebrating what they thought was a victory for the entire nation of Croatia? Or had Guinness informed them from the start and they decided to forge ahead anyway, truly capturing the spirit of what the Smurfs stand for? Either way, this attempt was no doubt an emotional roller coaster from start to finish.
When trying to break a world record, it's probably worth your time to check what the record is first. Also, the sight of hundreds of people dressed as Smurfs is fucking creepy in ways we can't fully comprehend.