I don't know if I'd count this as a sign that we are evolving or regressing as a society, but in the last decade or so, it seems like we've become strangely fascinated with the mundane. What were once considered nondescript vocations and mindless pastimes are now the foundation for reality television and the occasional freakshow.
Gator hunting used to be a frightening way for odd Cajun people to make a living; now it's a lucrative brand called Swamp People. Pawn shops were long considered the last stop on the Desperation Express; now, thanks to Pawn Stars, the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop is an actual tourist attraction in Vegas. Hell, we've turned eating -- EATING! -- into a competitive sport.
So am I all that surprised that there is a record in the Guinness Book of World Records for throwing a paper airplane the longest distance? Not really.
Apparently, this past weekend, a former Cal quarterback named Joe Ayoob threw a John Collins-designed paper airplane a record 226 feet, 10 inches. (Honestly, in that last sentence, the most intriguing part to me is the airplane's having an actual designer, to the point where it's described like it's a golf course or an impressionist painting.)
Here is the video:
So naturally my main question is, "When did paper airplane throwing go from a classroom distraction that got you sent to the principal's office to an elite skill for which you could gain worldwide recognition? Recognition that apparently sends grown adults into a giddy bliss that makes Pete Weber look sedated."
So many questions, really.
Is there some way for me to re-hone my spitball-launching skills and gain similar accolades? Is there a league for paper-triangle football where I can get a tryout? My finger dexterity would crush at a paper-triangle football combine, by the way. If the PTFL (Paper-Triangle Football League) doesn't yet exist, then maybe I can put my herculean digital strength to work on the thumbwrestling circuit. I mean, if paper airplanes have a world record, then thumbwrestling has to have an Intercontinental Title, right?
Life just isn't fair. When I was a teenager (my paper-airplane throwing heyday), the girls wore six layers of sweaters in June, Taco Bell had like three menu items and there was only one ESPN channel. In retrospect, it was almost as primitive and horrible as it sounds.
On top of all that, I had no sport at which I could woo the ladies with my mad skills. But now come to find out that if I were a teenager today, not only would I have scantily clad female classmates, chalupas and ESPN2, but I could also be a world-class athlete in the sport of paper-airplane throwing.
So depressing to think about what might have been. All I can do now is pass my paper-airplane throwing skill onto my sons, and hope that my teenage daughter doesn't end up falling in love with the captain of the spitball team.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. weekdays, and watch the simulcast on Comcast 129 from 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.
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