This list is about the people who put the same kind of time, dedication and money into absolutely pointless acts of worthlessness.
You've all seen those guys, the ones who look like a cross between a human and a medieval weapon. Their faces are completely covered with rings, studs and spikes, setting off every store alarm in the mall and causing nearby children to run away in fear.
Those guys have nothing on Kam Ma. Back in 2006, Ma figured he just wasn't famous or metallic enough for his tastes, and decided to kill two birds with one stone. He located a tattoo artist, Charlie Wilson and, on March 4, 2006, the pair set out to break the world record for most piercings in 24 hours. They succeeded, at a staggering 1,055 piercings in just under eight hours.
Ma, apparently not wanting to waste time on ridiculous things like preventing pain, took every one of the piercings without anesthetic, making himself as figuratively metal as he is now literally metal. When the smoke had cleared, Ma found himself with 600 new rings all along his legs and arms. For those of you keeping score, that's significantly fewer rings than there were holes put in him. Apparently, in addition to the decorating job, Wilson decided to put another 455 holes in Ma's body just for the hell of it.
Not surprisingly, this record has not yet been successfully challenged by anybody, as all the viable candidates are probably locked up in padded cells somewhere. Ma achieved and maintained his goal of being a world-record holder, as well as the auxiliary goals of looking like an incomplete cyborg and never being able to wear a jacket again.
If you've ever sunk way too much time into completing a video game, or grinding for a particular item in World of Warcraft, you can at least feel better about yourself (or worse, depending on your level of addiction) for not being this guy. Billy Mitchell, known for being the "King of Kong," is also the first person to ever get the highest possible score in Pac-Man, at 3,333,360 points, handily beating our score of "fuck these fucking ghosts, I quit."
"Work is more fun than this."
Mitchell set the record on July 3, 1999, after coming out of a 14-year retirement so he could focus on things like college and girls. In order to get this perfect score, he had to eat every pellet, fruit and blue ghost on the screen for every level. All two-hundred fifty-six of them.
Mitchell described the task as "tremendously monotonous," which sounds about right to us, since after you complete level 20, you're playing the exact same level over 200 times in a row. Four hours into his attempt, which is about three hours after we would have broken down crying and screaming for mercy, he "realized I still had 100 boards to go," at which point his soul probably curled up and died, Pac-Man-style.
It may have even made that sound.
So why did Mitchell come out of retirement and spend hundreds of torturous, monotonous hours chasing this obscure milestone? Was there a monetary reward, or perhaps the promise of fame outside of the realm of video game nerds? No, it was for America. A group of Canadians started going for the perfect score in 1998, and the apparently all-American Mitchell would have none of it. He quickly took to the arcade in order to "put [the Canadians] in their place." A place where they... don't spend as much time playing Pac-Man? Go visit them there, Billy.
This man is Rafael Antonio Lozano, Jr., although he prefers to go by his new name "Winter." We prefer to call him "Clinically Insane," because for the past 12 years, C.I. Winter has been absorbed in a quest of epic and stupid proportions: to have a coffee from every single Starbucks on Earth.
Good luck, brother.
Seriously, do you realize how many Starbucks there are? Have you even been to all of the ones in your city?
Well according to his his website, Winter has visited 8,540 stores in the U.S. and Canada with only 23 to go, while he's had drinks at 1,406 stores in other countries. He's traveled all over the world, and as of last year he had spent over $100,000 on his quest. Oh, and he refers to it as "Starbucking," which is one of those cases where it seems wholly unnecessary to invent a verb to describe an activity no one else is doing but you.
He says his quest is being made more difficult by the fact that, due to the global recession, Starbucks has started closing many of their stores. He now considers himself to be in a "race against time," because apparently visiting 12,000 coffee shops around the world just isn't enough for this go-getter.
Marva Drew was a good mother, and anyone who said anything to the contrary could just go to hell. So when her young son came home from school and said that his teacher told the class that it was impossible to count to a million, she took action. After all, it was 1968. First you get kids thinking they can't count ridiculously high for no reason, then you have kids getting ridiculously high for no reason, then you have the collapse of Western Society.
Well, Marva Drew wasn't going to stand for it. She was going to show the world that you COULD count from one to one million. But Guinness World Records usually likes some sort of proof, and "I promise I thought them all in my head" wasn't going to fly with those eggheads. So, like anyone else in the 1960s on a mission, Marva sat down at her typewriter and began typing. She typed for the next SIX YEARS. The result was almost 2,500 pages full of numbers.
And because there wasn't anything important happening in the 1970s--nothing like a Presidential impeachment or war or gas shortages or anything urgent like that--newspapers actually started following her progress. Drew completed her book and was almost a world record holder. She just missed the itty bitty detail of having a witness to her six years of riveting typing.
Though if somebody had sat down to watch every minute of that, we're thinking they should probably get the recognition instead.
As we've mentioned before, the emergence of computers and the Internet have stolen some of the small joys in life from us. There used to be a time when knowing Pi to the first couple decimal places was probably pretty important for people who need to do... whatever it is Pi is used for. Now that information is at anybody's fingertips, making memorizing Pi in this day and age even sadder than it would have been a generation ago.
Still not as sad as baking a Pi pie for National Pi Day.
But people continue to memorize Pi, and we're not talking about a few decimal places anymore. There are people who take Pi very seriously, and not just scientists and mathematicians. Ordinary people memorize Pi to thousands of places for... well, we're not really sure why. There is even an official website that keeps the three people who care up to date on the current rankings. A Chinese man named Chao Lu is the current record holder. He took just over 24 hours to recite Pi to 67,890 digits. That means he said one number every 1.3 seconds for an entire day. Didn't he need a glass of water at some point? Food? Anything? Good god, who is this man!?
Then we have Akira Haraguchi, a Japanese man who has apparently recited Pi to 100,000 digits but for whatever reason the Guinness folks have not recognized his achievement. He can take solace in the fact that he is on the way to enlightenment, however: Haraguchi started memorizing Pi after he searched for meaning in religion and philosophy and found them lacking. Now, instead of a prayer or anything like that, he chants Pi at funerals.
Meet Michele Santelia, the girly named guy who is the type-fu champion of the universe. Santelia is such a skilled typist that one keyboard is incapable of meeting his needs. Instead, he uses four at the same time. He can type on all four at once without looking at them, or at the screen, and still write more intelligibly than most Internet users can manage with a single keyboard. So how does this man put this awesome skill to use?
For the past few decades, he's been taking famous books, and then re-typing them, backwards. .siht ekiL
No, you're not missing anything, that's all he does. Santelia holds the world record for most books typed backwards. If you were to stack all his re-typed books on top of each other--which seems to be the universal Guinness metric of impressiveness for some reason--the stack would reach 13-feet and nine-inches.
He's been doing this for at least two decades, which would be before the Internet was even invented. After completing The Life of Abraham Lincoln in June 2009, his plan was to present it to President Obama, at which point he would presumably be tackled by the Secret Service.
So, you're 37 and your parents have died, leaving you a house worth over $1 million. It's in a bit of rough shape, but you fancy yourself quite the do-it-yourself expert. You get to work fixing the place up real good-like. First the upstairs, then the downstairs. Then, if you're London's William Lyttle you go right down to the basement and start digging a wine cellar. And when that was done you keep on digging. And digging.
Lyttle dug tunnels under his property for 40 damn years, all on his own. Using only a shovel and a pulley, he managed to build tunnels up to 26-feet underground and extending over 60-feet from his house. Apparently he had major schemes for the large caverns he was building, including a gym and a sauna, but almost half a century later he never seemed to be able to get past the digging part of his grand plan.
So things went super awesome for Lyttle digging-wise, until an eight foot crevice appeared in the street in front of his house in 2001. Five short years later, the people in charge actually got around to forcing him to stop digging, a mere 40 years after the first complaints started rolling in.
But that's not even the end of the so-called "Mole Man's" story. In early 2009, Lyttle was moved by London authorities to a safer dwelling, a one-story flat, while they tried to fill in the tunnels under Lyttle's house. And of course they gave him a hefty bill for the work they'd have to do, not to mention the accommodations he was getting to use while they cleaned up the mess.
Joke's on them, though: Lyttle passed away quietly in June, 2010. Not only did he not pay a damn cent for all the damages he did, he had the nerve to knock a wall out of the flat he was staying in. Rest in peace, you crazy mole man. Rest in peace.
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For more from the world of Guinness, check out 8 Guinness World Record Attempts That Failed (Hilariously). Or learn about some more crazy abodes, in 7 Insane True Stories Behind the World's Most WTF Houses.
And stop by Linkstorm (Updated 07.28.10) to see which columnist is in Guinness for most back hair.