Most of us who still have intact and mostly alive grandparents generally wouldn't be intimidated by them in a physical sense. Then again, most of us haven't really put that to the test (nor should we). When pushed, you might be surprised what our senior citizens have in reserve.
Indiana Jones didn't age well, it turned out, but that's OK because we found a new role-model globetrotting adventurer, and she's old enough to qualify for a 10 percent discount at The Sizzler.
Helen Thayer is a photographer and author with a unique approach to aging: Rather than throttle her life back and take up less challenging hobbies like scrapbooking, Helen decided to travel around the world daring God to bring her down.
She made that hat out of her own mother.
At the age of 50, when most of us are well on the way to heart attack No. 2, Thayer hiked alone across the North Pole. She was the first woman to solo any pole (wow that sounded really dirty) and she pulled her own sled. At 50, who has time to stop for a bunch of dogs to pee on every neat rock they pass by? Helen wrote a bestselling book about the experience and spent her next few years laying low and hiking across every desert in the Americas.
Later, she ate that camel raw.
That all turned out to be practice for her real desert hike in 1995. At aged 57, Helen trekked the entire 4,000-mile length of the Sahara Desert. But marching alone through the world's harshest deserts had only bored her. Antarctica was the real challenge. So in 1997, Helen took a 625-mile walk alone through the South Pole. We should point out that the area Helen walked through was almost completely devoid of other life, and is basically as close to the surface of an alien world as it gets.
Helen celebrated her 60th birthday there, at the bottom of the planet. And did we mention she carried her supplies for the whole trip on a 260-pound sled? And this is all just the tip of Helen Thayer's iceberg of awesome: if normal people consider it a deathtrap, she's walked across it. If Raiders of the Lost Ark had starred Helen instead of Indy, that whole "Nazi" problem would have been over in about 45 minutes.
We're pretty sure she wouldn't put up with any of Shia LaBeouf's crap, either.
There's a laundry list of reasons why Miss Venus Ramey -- better known as Miss America 1944 and one-time Bond-girl candidate -- is a total badass. For starters, she was the first redheaded Miss America, the first Miss America to be photographed in color, and the only Miss America whose name graced the most successful B-17 "Flying Fortress" of World War II. Protected by a crude painting of her namesake's bosom, the Venus Ramey flew 68 missions without losing a man.
Helping keep morale perky.
But none of that comes close to the most badass chapter in the saga of Venus Ramey, which would come six decades later. In 2007 four men decided to rob a tobacco farm in south-central Kentucky. The now-elderly Venus noticed the robbery right away. But rather than call the police, this 82 year old beauty pageant veteran grabbed her .38 and her walker and stepped out into the cold night to deal justice.
Kindly old justice.
Ramey confronted the men, who piled back into their car and tried to escape. But Venus wasn't having any of their crap; she braced herself against the walker, using it like the chassis of a howitzer, and calmly shot all four of their tires out. She then held the men at gunpoint and flagged down a passing driver. Only then, with the situation well in hand, did she call the police.
Who probably also surrendered to her.
But at least she had a gun. The same can't be said for Ann Timson ...
You're walking home from work one afternoon when the sound of revving scooter motors fills your ears. A cluster of the little bikes roar up the road and slide to a stop out in front of a jewelry shop. Three men wielding sledgehammers dismount and charge towards the shop. They bash at the windows while a security guard cowers inside.
As a general rule, big, violent men armed with sledgehammers aren't something one confronts alone and unarmed. If you aren't Tony Jaa, your reaction to that situation would probably be something along the lines of "cry and run."
Oh, hey, speak of the devil ...
That very scenario occurred this February in Northampton, England. Six men in scooters rode up to a Rolex store and proceeded to wail on the windows. It was broad daylight and a crowd of people saw everything. But no one moved to help. No one even drew their phone.
And then Ann Timson, retired septuagenarian and part-time Hulk, burst onto the scene. She straight-up charged the crowd of grown, armed young men and started beating the everloving daylights out of them. With her purse.
That's the robbers tripping over their own bikes to get away.
One moment, we see Ann in the thick of it, swinging wildly as the robbers crowd in around her. Then, a truck blocks our cameraman's view. When it passes, the entire mob is in flight and Ann is giving chase. She even managed to force one rider to dismount. Other locals (who weren't in their freaking 70s) finally stepped in to restrain the man while the World's Slowest Cop arrived on scene a minute later.
All six robbers were arrested within minutes of the attack. We hope, for the sake of their rectums, that no one inside has access to YouTube.
Don't make grandma bring the pain.