Friday, July 31, 2015

"Too Wet to Play"

There are bungee jumpers and skydivers, solitary cliff climbers (they look like ants when you when you see them scaling rock faces from the distance) elite mountaineers, free divers (who don’t use tanks), long distance swimmers (who have to worry about sharks), triathaletes and stock car racers. There are mixed martial artists and ultramarathoners, fire and tightrope walkers. There are people who practice holding their breath and set records doing it (David Blaine stayed under water for seventeen minutes) and people who set records for how many hotdogs they can eat. Kobayashi ate 50 at the Nathan’s Hotdog Eating Contest in 2001. Sergei Krikalev spent 803 days, 9 hours and 39 minutes in space which is the longest time for any human being. For her performance work, The Artist is Present, Marina Abramovic sat silently for 736 hours and 30 minutes. People do lots of other things to pass time. Charles Lindberg chose to pioneer a solo crossing of the Atlantic and Philippe Petit walked between the Twin Towers back in l974 which would have been merely a hop skip and a jump for Nick Wallenda who crossed Niagara Falls in 2012. Secretariat who won the Triple Crown also broke records for the Kentucky Derby, Belmont and Preakness, but did he know what he was doing?  The Times reported that Munishri Ajitchandrasagarji, a Jain monk relayed back the over 500 items  that were spoken to him over six hours (“A Master of Memory in India Credits Meditation for His Brainy Feats,” NYT, 11/17/14). Perhaps it all goes back to Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat which begins, “The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house All that cold, cold, wet day”—with childhood boredom.

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