I hadn’t seen the old Guinness Book of World Records in many a year. It seems to me that it just came out of nowhere when I was in high school, and everybody was reading it. Then I’ve sort of lost sight of it, much like the fading of Trivial Pursuit.
My recollection was of a small, chunky book, printed on cheap newsprint, with pictures about the size of postage stamps. Look at the current version. The cover reflects like the facets of a ruby, and it has "glow in the dark" features. Can’t get THAT in the on-line version. And why do I care?
When I was a kid, we didn’t take many vacations, and we went where my Dad wanted to go. When I was about twelve, I went with him to his Army reunion at Fort Knox, Kentucky. I had fun climbing on a tank, and the hotel had the first mezzanine I had ever seen. Other than that, I just remember it being a long trip, and pretty boring. Most of the time, when your Dad hauls you someplace that he wants to go on vacation, you’re lucky to come home with anything better than a bad case of chiggers. If you’re really lucky, maybe you get a cool T-shirt. If you’re not so lucky, perhaps a poisonous Chinese souvenir toy.
Then there’s my nephew, Max. If you’re a regular reader, you know that we all went to the Wild West Arts Convention in April. My brother, Matt, was the main motivator for that trip. His son, Max, was the youngest registered competitor there. As it happened, the Guinness World Records people were there to document the largest gathering of Wild West Artists. Lots of records were set there and they took lots of pictures. With only two pages devoted to the WWAC, we knew that it wouldn’t be possible to include a picture of every record-holder. Lo and behold, the editor’s whim put Max right there on page 260.
The local newspaper did a feature article on Max’s appearance in the book, and KFVS-12 television in Cape Girardeau did a very nice piece on today’s five o’clock news. Their reporter, Ms. Cassidy, spent about an hour getting two minutes worth of talk out of Max. He’s a tough interview, and here are some pictures of the work in progress. Here’s a link to the video.
The attention hasn’t gone to Max’s head, though. He really doesn’t have an appreciation for the number of people who have gone to extreme lengths in an attempt to leave their mark on the world. How fast can you eat a bicycle? How many fish-hooks can you put in your ear-lobe? How long can you pogo-stick naked before passing out? All Max had to do was get hauled along on vacation with his family and have fun with ropes, whips, knives and tomahawks.
They used some of my pictures on the TV spot, but you can’t beat this one. Max is working on learning more rope tricks and western skills. He’s figured out that he can’t top this year’s record by getting even younger.