On May 22, 2007 Katsusuke Yanagisawa became the oldest person to summit Mt. Everest. This 71 year old former school teacher has since joined the ranks of Bear Grylls and Lance Armstrong as "People Whose Achievements Invalidate Your Pathetic Existence."
This is the stuff of a worthwhile world record, a moment highlighting the richness of human potential. Of course, as any quick study of the Maury studio audience will attest, that potential is rarely exercised by the masses. And the folks who put out the Guinness Book of Records (GBR) have a lot of blank pages to fill ...
As Newton once postulated, a body will remain at rest, or continue to move at a constant velocity, unless an external net force acts upon it. That law should now be renamed Matthew McKnight's law, as no one has demonstrated it as spectacularly as he did the day he was standing around and a car hit him going 70 mph, flinging McKnight a distance equal to more than a third of a football field.
McKnight was struck when he pulled over to help accident victims on Interstate 376 on October 26, 2001. His kindness was repaid with an involuntary flight of 118 feet as well as a broken shoulder, pelvis, leg and tailbone. Luckily he was quickly surrounded by a crack medical staff who, seeing how far the man had been flung, knew that Guiness must be contacted STAT.
From then on, no matter what else McKnight may have accomplished in his life, he would forever hold the record for Greatest Distance Thrown In a Car Accident. Congrats, Matthew!
It was actually McKnight's emergency room physician, Dr. Eric Brader, that submitted paperwork for the record, because nothing in the Hippocratic Oath specifically bars you from "just being kind of a dick".
This next honoree was actually the inspiration for John Mayer's seminal hit (double entendre intended) "Your Body Is A Wonderland". Of course, it was a much earlier iteration of the song, back when the working title was "Your Body Is A Monument To All That is Vile And Unholy".
Radhakant Bajpai of Naya Ganj, Uttar Pradesh, India, was "blessed" with extraordinarily long hair sprouting from the center of his outer ears. The record actually specifies the hair originates from the "middle of the pinna", meaning that GBR has had to maintain separate records for the longest hairs from multiple regions of the ear. Radhakant's ear hair/tendrils measure an incredible 13.2 cm (about 5.25 inches) at its longest point, though it is slightly shorter when pulled back into pigtails.
"Making it to Guinness World Records is indeed a special occasion for me and my family," said Radhakant. "God has been very kind to me." It's not clear exactly how God compensated Radhakant for the grotesquely long ear hair though most experts postulate that it would take at least three extra inches of penis to consider the deal even.
Or, maybe we're misreading the man's comments and he really is proud of his ear hair; perhaps in his culture it is a trait to be treasured and the hair represents the gentle, fluffy kitten that lives inside a man's skull. Regardless of why he's thankful, he should probably be thanking the shameless Guinness editors, or perhaps all of the people who failed to set any sort of impressive record that year, but probably not God.
Not all collections are equal. For some, completing a collection involves scouring the planet for rarities that all would envy. For others, it involves yanking mundane bits of municipal property off the road and appropriating it for their own uses. Guess which one David Morgan opted for when he assembled his collection of traffic cones?
David has a collection of 137 different, presumably stolen, traffic cones. Based on the picture, this includes "The orange conical one", the "off-orange conical one" and the rare "yellow pointy one that someone drew a penis on the side of."
David owns approximately two thirds of all the types of traffic cones ever made, which is more impressive when you realize that means someone out there is actually a traffic cone historian and can thus validate the scope of his collection. We'll take their word for it.
The people of the Balkan states are best known for their indomitable spirit and their adoption of pop culture trends 20 years after they've expired in America. The sum of these two qualities coalesced on September 10, 2006 when Krunoslav Budiselic set the world record for the greatest distance moonwalked in one hour.
Krunoslav managed to cover 5.255 km (3.265 miles) moonwalking at the Athletic Stadium Mladost, in Zagreb, Croatia on that fateful day. Witnesses to the event described it as both "plodding" and "impressively fruity" according to our translation. As news of Krunoslav's triumph spread across the land, the people celebrated his victory by overthrowing the local government in a bloody coup.
The excitement from this accomplishment even managed to trump the buzz surrounding The Removal Of The World's Largest Appendix (measuring at 26 cm/10.24 in), occurring in Zagreb just a month prior.
Zagreb is now petitioning to the U.N. to be formally recognized as the "WTF Capital Of The World".
Guiness must evolve with the times. In the modern digital age people tire of actual accomplishments that require physical skill and stoicism. If we want to see the top of Mt. Everest, we'll grab a matinee of the nearest IMAX showing and take a pass on the frostbitten extremities. Or, even better, if you make a video game about climbing Everest, we'll play it.
This is why GBR has finally produced their first Gamer's Edition of the book, paying tribute to the virtual world's unsung heroes. The record for the longest trading card playing marathon is just one of the many profiles in courage.
William Stone, Bryan Erwin and Christopher Groetzinger etched their deeds in the tomes of history when they managed to play The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game for 128 hours from December 27, 2002 to January 1, 2003 at The Courtyard, Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game is a game for two or more players, whose deck includes equal numbers of "Free Peoples" and "Shadow" cards. On a player's turn they are considered to be the Free Peoples player and their Fellowship is dork spaz dork, geek nerd lamer dork weenie spaz nerd. You get the point.
Their game play was only interrupted for sanctioned 15 minute breaks to use bathroom facilities, rest, or receive wedgies from bullies waiting in a line adjacent to the table.
Leave it to those ingenious Chinese folks to out-Switzerland the Swiss. The world record-setting Wei Ge knife pictured above includes 87 tools with an intended 141 individual functions. It is the first pocket knife designed to entirely defeat the structural integrity of any pocket that attempts to carry it. Among its many features are a hex screw, carabiner, Wankel rotary engine, flux capacitor, and nail file.
It is unclear if the manufacturer of this knife is a chinese company called Wei Ge, or if it is the Chinese company Weierman that registered the trademark "Wei Ge" (a statement that translates to "Great Man" and was later licensed to pharmaceutical companies selling drugs for erectile dysfunction).
All we know for certain is that a manly Chinese company that may or may not have boner issues designed a Swiss Army knife so amazingly functional that it cannot possibly be used for anything. There is a lesson to be learned there, but we're not sure what it is.
The record for the most snails to remain on the face for 10 seconds was achieved by Alastair Galpin on October 27, 2007, when 8 gastropods went about their usual business of clinging to things.
This raises many, many questions that Guiness doesn't seem ready to answer. The first of which being, what was the previous record? Seven snails? Two? Zero?
The other question is, of course, was this an intentional record, like the moonwalk thing, or did it just happen? If it's the former, isn't there room for way more snails on his face than eight? If it's the latter, doesn't this guy just need to do a better job cleaning his bedroom?
We're guessing this was done on purpose, as Mr. Galpin is no stranger to the realm of Guiness World Records. At last count, he had officially broken 28 different records.
The esteemed list includes such greatest hits at the Longest Handshake (9 hours), Gluing The Most Rhinestones To The Body (31,680), Wearing Most Socks On One Foot (70), and Licking The Most Stamps In One Minute (57). Despite his better efforts, the record for Biggest Attention Whore is still locked by Paris Hilton, but he isn't giving up hope.
Bernie Barker was technically the owner of two different records. Not only was he the oldest working professional male stripper, he was also entitled to 50% of the World's Oldest Onstage Teabagging. The partner in that record could not be reached for comment, as we're guessing she was coincidentally stricken with an unshakable catatonia immediately following the event.
Bernie was a regular performer at Club LeBare in Miami Beach, Florida from the year 2000 to 2007. He began his career at the age of 60. He described it as a way to get in shape after recovering from prostate cancer. We'd imagine his previous job was less supportive of the "therapeutic dryhumping" he had to perform throughout the day. Barker apparently decided that if old age was going to take away his dignity, by God it was going to go down with guns blazing.
Guiness says he won "over 30 contests" before he passed away in March 2007. We're not sure what kind of contests these were, and we don't want to find out.
More of Ian Cheesman's work can be found at InternetSensation.com.