Saturday, October 08, 2011

Meet the World's Weirdest People--And Then Some

Here's what gets me.

This obsession some of us have--well, a number of us have--okay, okay!--a lot of us have to get our names in the newspaper and to be the best at something--anything!--has really gotten out of hand.

For example, some people's days aren't made until they can try to convince a whole community to change its collective mind about some very important matter (to them) just by getting one teensy editorially mangled letter-to-the editor printed in the newspaper of their community of choice.

Then, if they are lucky, that one-letter writing campaign will start a response from the other side of the very important matter (to someone else), and a true dialogue develops. (Except, of course nobody is doing any actual talking and the newspaper's editorial-page editor probably has a policy of no more than one letter per month published by the same letter writer.) Sometimes, these very important matters (to everybody) can range all the way from "Why isn't the sidewalk in front of my house fixed?" to "I think we all should worship the Rammalammadingdong god Ram Lam."

For another example, other people's weeks, months and, yes, sometimes years aren't made until they can get their names and records published in the official "book of weirdness," the Guinness Book of World Records, which really became famous during the Baby Boomers' best years: the Embarrassing Sixties.

Maybe you saw a story many years ago about a gathering of record holders at the Empire State Building. (This was ironic, because Fame, like all world records, is fleeting, and just as the Empire State Building used to be the world's tallest building, the gathering included the sometime-in-the-future former "most tattooed man," "longest grape catcher," "longest apple-peel peeler," "most basketballs dribbler," "most married couple" and--get this one--"most versatile human.")

Now, you are probably thinking, "How can they prove that guy's got the most tattoos, that guy caught a grape thrown from the greatest distance, that gal peeled the longest apple peel, that guy can dribble the most basketballs at once, that couple got married the most times and that guy--get this one--is the most versatile human? And just what does 'versatile' mean, anyway?"

Well, sorry to break their bubbles, but they can't! Those people just got their first! If you want to get there second, you can be a weird (Sorry!) world record holder, too!

Walter Stiglitz, the Tattoo Man of North Plainfield, NJ, admitted that even after 5,552 tattoos, he still had room for another small one "here and there," including his "privates," which, unfortunately, he should never have referred to as "small," regardless of its size.

Paul Tavilla, the Grapecatcher, caught a black Ribier (with seed) thrown 50 mph from 327 feet away for the ground record. That left open the record for other grapes thrown 51 mph from 328 feet and many more records at greater speeds from farther away with and without seeds.

Kathy Madison, the Apple Peeler from Wolcott, NY, peeled a 20-ounce cooking apple 2,068 inches in 11-1/2 hours on Oct. 16, 1976. That left the record book open for 21-ounce apples; 2,069 inches of peel and up; 11 hours, 29 minutes and down; and every day except October 16!

Bob Nickerson, the Dribbler from Gallitzin, PA, dribbled four basketballs in 13 maneuvers while telling bad jokes. What is open? Five basketballs, 14 maneuvers and up or--even better--good jokes!

Carol and Richard Roble, the Most Married Couple from Hempstead, NY, had been married in all 50 states and the District of Columbia--always on November 30. Mr. Roble said, "I don't know if we got sex in every state, but close to it." What is left for the record book? How many cities are there in the U.S.? How many countries in the world? And ... well, you can take it from there.

And Ashrita Furman, the Most Versatile Human--. Oh, forget it. He probably has that title locked up, anyway.

Now, if you wanted to start your own category, have you thought about the World's Most Prolific Letter-to-the-Editor Writer? Nah, who writes letters anymore?

Go for the most tattoos, especially including the small naughty bits.

I rest my case.

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