The True Stories Behind 5 Famous WTF Images
Most people have already seen the following images in the WTF sections of social bookmarking sites, in threads dedicated to badass pictures, or just circulated through their inboxes by their "funny" boss. There is never an explanation for these pictures, because they seem to intrinsically defy explanation; they are just still moments in time of unbelievable scope and epic badassery. It seems hard to imagine what brought about the extraordinary circumstances these images depict, and that's the magic, really -- letting your imagination run with these ridiculous situations. Well, I decided to do some research on the actual explanations behind these famous pictures ... because I hate magic and want to ruin it for you forever. I drown witches, bitches.
This image has been circling the net for a while now, and it's not hard to see why. This guy is equal parts Shaft, Lex Luthor, and Doctor Who. If anybody was going to possess superpowers but still be cool about it, it's Professor Badass. He looks like he controls both time and panties. He looks like a man who would, if you offended him, promptly knock you unconscious with a single blow. And when you awoke, terrified to find yourself stranded in the Cretaceous Period, you'd have to just watch in helpless awe as he pleasured your spouse on top of a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Also, if you've only seen the poster, you missed these sweet-ass hot pink loafers.
That's Kevin Stewart. He's a fashion designer, style director for ESPN Magazine, and co-owner of the Roger Charles New York design studio. So the downside is that Professor Badass is not in fact a professor, or any kind of educator. But the upside? This wasn't even a photo shoot; that's just how he rolls on an average day. Professor Badass? Shit, that's just Tuesday for Kevin Stewart. Here's how else he rolls:
Jesus! He looks like somebody cast Isaac Hayes as Roadblock in the G.I. Joe movie that Heaven would make. If this is what men's fashion looks like now, count me right the fuck in. I would gladly stand in line for a runway show if the models were sporting a formal Tommy Hilfiger sword and a puce Kenneth Cole fusion reaction jetpack.
Related: Happy Birthday, Badass - August 5
The Flying Hillbilly Truck Driver
Hillbilly Tornado Man rivals Mona Lisa for his subtle depiction of both intrigue and perplexity. What was Mona Lisa smiling about so enigmatically? Why is Hillbilly Tornado Man's truck lodged 50 feet up a tree? Why does he look so satisfied about it? Was he caught in a twister? Did he literally ride the whirlwind? Did he just fucking drive it up there like an Appalachian Chitty Chitty Bang Bang? Did he throw it?! Nobody knows. All they know is that the man has a chest like a barrel of meat, he could not afford an entire shirt, and his goddamn truck is in a goddamn tree.
That's Mark Madson, and the truck behind him is actually a treehouse he built for his son Luke in the town of Beloit, Wisconsin. So on the downside, the truck in the tree was not the fantastic drunken feat of a modern-day redneck Paul Bunyan, but actually just a pretty slick -- if dangerously negligent -- act of charity from a father to his son. None of that changes the fact that when faced with creating a play space for his little boy, Madson said "Fuck you" to blueprints, cracked open a Coors Light, rammed a truck into a tree, and called it a day. And it also doesn't change the fact that when the photographer came to do a photo shoot about it, Mark oiled up his chest-planks, threw on his formal vest, and posed like he was the Captain Morgan of moonshine.
He sails the rocky seas of the Wisconsin plains, boarding minivans and plundering trucks of Natural Ice.
Related: An Ode To Chonky Video Game Trucks
This image is often captioned with some variant of the words "shark juggling," and the bizarre position of the shark coupled with the nonchalant stance of the man makes you believe it literally. This man must toss sharks about like oranges, you are forced to assume, presumably using his dense-as-a-collapsed-star testicles as ballast to keep him on the ocean floor. While other jugglers thought they looked brave with their precocious "fire" and adorable "chainsaws," this guy not only opted to toss about a species notorious for its ferocity, but also picked the biggest one he could find, and did it in the animal's own natural environment. He's not just humiliating nature's most tooth-egregious badass; he's doing it in its own fucking house, and right in front of its family.
That's Michael Rutzen, a marine photographer and shark expert. And though he is indeed holding a real live shark up there, it's been rendered completely catatonic for the picture. Rutzen has long studied the physiology and behavior of sharks, and has learned to "trigger" them with certain types of touch. He's already quite famous for this technique, which you can see him practicing in the picture below, wherein he looks like he's reading the shark's fortune:
"I predict you will find an exciting new love interest this week ... then bite it and thrash around a bunch."
And as for that "shark juggling" image? Well, on the downside, he's used something called "tonic immobility" to pacify the shark. Essentially, sharks play possum when they're turned upside-down, a state that can last up to 15 minutes. The shark he's holding is basically paralyzed, and not just obeying the iron will of the ruthless Shark King. But on the plus side, not only is that a great white he's balancing, but if you consider the situation literally, then that is a picture of Rutzen holding a shark that he just knocked unconscious with his bare fucking hands. Jesus, the only thing that could more completely depict his dominance over that shark would be if he made it go down on him while all of its friends watched. But while that image would accurately portray man's mastery of nature, it would also be gross and sexually inapr-
The Hyena Man
A picture is worth a thousand words. It can tell you about the touching intersection of man and nature, about the sometimes odd companionship we find in life, or about the loving relationship between a man and his dog. This image says none of those things. This is just black Mad Max and his Chain Hyena. They look like they roam the wastes, scavenging for what scarce water remains in that desolate landscape, fending off marauding bands of Junk Raiders in their steam-powered land ships. Also, that rooster in the background probably has a gun or something.
That's just Mallam Mantari Lamal and his pet, Mainasara. They're part of a group of "Hyena Guides," who were rumored to be elite gangsters, shadowy assassins, and brutal bank robbers in their home country of Nigeria. But that's just the Nigerians making up their own shit in an effort to explain the mysterious appearance of a raggedy man strolling into town, walking a wild predator on a chain like it's a poodle. But the Hyena Guides are in reality basically Roma showmen, traveling from town to town and putting on performances with their animals in order to hawk homemade crafts and medicines, or just to trade. In fact, not all of them even have hyenas.
This poor bastard, for instance, looks like he just realized he brought a monkey to a hyena fight. Seriously, with Nigerian Road Warrior up there to compare yourself to, what were you thinking, Monkey Dude? There's no way you can look that epic with some stupid mon-
OH SHIT, RUN FROM THE BLOOD MONKEY!
The Backflipping Hatchet Hurler
A man throwing a hatchet? Pretty cool, I guess. Maybe he's at the lumberjack games, maybe he's lazily chopping wood, hell, maybe he's just disgusted by hand tools. A man throwing a hatchet ... while in the air? OK, now we're talking. This is a man with a mission. You don't leap into the goddamn air to hurl a hatchet if you're just splitting kindling. A man throwing a hatchet while in the air ... and upside-down?
This ... this is serious shit here. This can be nothing less than a super soldier! This was a scene cut from Rambo for being too unbelievable. No, this is surely the climax of a Jackie Chan film, not reality. Reality just isn't allowed to be this awesome. Nobody gets to wake up in the morning, kiss the kids, and then get down to work at the Backflip and Hatchet-Hurling Workshop for Aspiring Bad Motherfuckers. It's just too impractical for this to be real military training.
Actually, that's all ... pretty accurate! That up there is just Spetznaz boot camp. The Spetznaz were an elite branch of the Soviet military, much like the U.S. Special Forces. One battalion was assigned to every army, and their existence was kept a closely guarded secret. They often wore no special insignia, both to keep from identifying themselves as primary targets and also to really fuck with any enemy troops who might happen across what appears to be just another seemingly ordinary Russian grunt ... who then promptly somersaults off into the woods to hurl flaming knives at them. These were entire battalions founded almost exclusively to look badass:
"What purpose does this serve, Yuri?" "It looks fucking sweet, Vladimir! What more reason do you need?!"
And though you'd be right in arguing that a rad backflip won't typically save you from a few well-aimed bullets, just imagine the one time that it does! The soldier firing on Captain Ax Backflip is going to do serious damage to his troop's morale when he gets back to base and reports that the target got away ... because apparently all Russian soldiers are half-lumberjack, half-ninja, and entirely drunk. Sadly, the Spetznaz no longer exist in any form resembling the originals before the collapse of the USSR. Thus did we lose the closest thing to a John McClane Training Camp the world has ever seen.
I am just naturally assuming that the roof above them is exploding.
Still, it's nice to know that occasionally one of these badass internet pics depicting something way too ridiculously cool to be real is, if anything, tastefully understated. Thanks, communism!
Read more from Robert at his own site, I Fight Robots, where he can further ruin your imagination with his stupid, mean-spirited, jerky "explanations." Jerk.
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