Lee Redmond, listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for her long fingernails, lost them in a car crash last week. The crash wasn’t life-threatening, but it did literally break a record.
Lee Redmond, listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for her long fingernails, lost them in a car crash last week.
The crash wasn’t life-threatening, but it did literally break a record.
Prior to the “Fingernail Crash,” I hadn’t thought about the Guinness Book for a long time. How long??Well, Redmond had not cut her nails since 1979, and it was sometime before that.
For people under a certain age, Guinness usually holds a strange fascination. I remember how we loved to gawk at the records that involved physical extremes, like the 1-foot-7 guy who weighed 40,000 pounds, or whatever it was. If there were photos, even better.
You probably remember the conversations.
“Wow, look at that guy! I wonder what it’s like to be him.”
“Well, he’s been dead for 18 years, so it’d be like being, uh, not alive.”
Like most people, I grew out of that stage. Next came an obsession with the records of duration.
“The longest duration for standing on one’s head is 44 hours, held by Joe Smith of Fort Worth,?Texas.”
A lot of them seemed improbable.
“The longest duration for sitting in an empty bathtub is one year, 13 months, 35 days, 29 hours and 71 minutes, held by Joe Smith of Fort Worth,?Texas.”
One thing to remember: to set an official record, someone has to witness it. So when it comes to duration records, you have to wonder, who’s timing them? Don’t they deserve mention, too?
“The record for timing the world record for longest duration for standing on one foot?goes to ...”
And then .... someone would have to time that!
For a while I was so enthralled with Guinness, I tried to mimic it with my own fictional version. I made the records even more unbelievable than Guinness, but I tried to the names for the fake record-holders sound authentic.
“The record for the most consecutive times a (sober) person listened to ‘Do You Feel Like We Do’ is 717, held by Roger Firehydrant of Fort Worth, Texas.”
The Guinness novelty soon waned, but my interest in records never disappeared. It became more toned-down and personal.
Right now, I’m working on a book called?“The Dennis Book of World Records.” Some entries so far:
- Most miles driven searching for a parking spot 12 feet closer to the store:?97.
- Most consecutive days spent rearranging Netflix queue, but not ordering a single movie:?19.
- Most time spent contemplating the critical appeal of “9 ½ Weeks”: 9 ½ weeks.
- Real-life name that inspired?Roger?Firehydrant:?DeAndre Garbagetruck.
I guess that one doesn’t qualify as a “record.” That’s because nobody was around to time it.
Dennis Volkert is features editor at the Sturgis Journal. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org