A recent news item reported the death, at the age of 103, of a California man who lived with a bullet in his head for 94 years. Newsworthy, yes, but even more eye-catching was the note that, since 2006, the man had been a Guinness World Record holder in the category of unwanted cranial ammunition acquisition (as Dave Barry says, I am not making this up).
Perhaps unfairly, I wondered if the man might have deposited the bullet in his own cranium just to get into The Book. But it turns out it was his brother who did it long before Guinness came up with the bright idea to turn the Nobel Prize on its head and prove you can get people to do amazingly stupid things for the edification of no one at all.
Still, if the GB of WR hasn’t exactly promoted the advancement of Medicine or World Peace, at least it has not pursued its imbecilities with the kind of oily, wink wink nudge nudge that its TV advertising cousins employ for peddling hot rods and cool brews, with their disingenuous disclaimers: Professional Driver on Closed Course … Do Not Attempt and, even smarmier, Drink Responsibly.
If TV is to clean up its act, let it first be honest: You Can Do Better Than These So-Called Professionals, Especially If You Try Their Stunts While You’re Drinking Irresponsibly. Then apply that logic to regular programming:
ER: Professional Actors Who Don’t Know a Retina from a Rectum. Still, If You Are As Incredibly Handsome, Irritatingly Witty, or Amazingly Well-Endowed As They Are, You Too Can Do Neuro-Surgery. Attempt.
Dancing With the Stars: These Women Are Professionals Who Can Make Their Amazing Endowments Keep Time With the Music. Men: You Can Match Their Moves, Though, By the Time You’re Out of Intensive Care, They Will Be Back in Russia.
Downton Abbey: Professional Aristocrats, Genetically Engineered for the Withering Sneer. But Why Should They Have a Monopoly? Go To A New York Deli and Practice the Condescending Putdown by Complaining About the Gefilte Fish.
The French Chef: Julia Child Spent Years Mastering the Art of Beheading Chickens in One Clean Swipe. With A Couple Belts Under Your Belt, You Can Do It Blindfolded.
Local Weather: Even Though Your Weather Presenter Is a Highly Trained Meteorologist, Chances Are She Was Hired Mainly For Her Looks. What Does She Know? Ignore Her Tornado Warnings.
Antiques Roadshow: Clean Out Every Flea Market You Can. When AR Comes to Town, Everything You’ve Bought Will Be Worth a Hundred Times More Than What You Paid For It.
Seinfeld: Be a Self-Involved Sociopath For Fun and Profit. Do Your Own Thing And Ignore Warnings That It May Mean