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Hi everyone! Welcome back to the Thunderdome. As usual, everything is bonkers right now, and there’s more than a few reasons to be concerned about your safety and well being, from a raging pandemic to violent stormtrooper cops to all the things that usually just may kill us, whether it’s cancer or a bus driver checking his texts or the ceiling fan falling on you.
Today is not about that. So let’s get into what today IS about, eh?
Everyone loves danger. In fact, people like danger so much that the phrase “danger is my middle name” spawned a bunch of gen x dorks actually making their kids’ middle names Danger. I suppose that’s fine. I truly have no problem with Danger being your kid’s middle name. I would guess that at some point in about the first year of having the kid, regret would set in after seeing all the reactions to said name, but hey, you wanna explain that you did that shit to your kid as a kind of weird quasi-joke for the rest of your life, you do you. That’s not really the point. The point is more that the idea of danger is a super sexy thing to human beings.
However, lots of us are, at our core, risk averse. Yes, there are reckless ass people you know that chug gin and drive fast and all that, but for the most part, the reason we are all the products of long genetic lines is because we, like every one of our ancestors before us, have a disposition built into our DNA that constantly surveys things that could be dangerous and then avoids them, thereby keeping us alive, allowing us to reproduce etc etc. Being risk averse is a fairly fundamental evolutionary trait, if you think about it.
This is why when someone dies when they’re ‘defying death’ it’s such a weird thing. If you’re doing something that goes completely against the entire fabric of your genetic being, something that’s broadly defined by having the word ‘death’ right in the description, you’re doing it for some kind of thrill, but on the real though, you’re doing it because you’re confident that whoever has set up this experience for you has pretty much removed all aspects of risk from the equation.
You want to go to space, for example, so you can say “Holy shit I went to space” but you want that to be something you’re alive to say when you get back. You want to bungee jump so you can utter the phrase “it was so scary, I thought I was gonna die” but you’ve entered into the world of bungee jumping with an agreement with your own brain that “It must be safe or they wouldn’t be able to charge me money to do this.”
This is why there’s no such thing as a tragic death when someone fucks with death defiance. Can it be a very sad death? Yes. If my friend died bungee jumping, I’d be devastated, but um...I wouldn’t be able to call it a tragedy. He risked his life on purpose. The words risk and life are right there in that sentence. I would be sad, I would have sympathy for his family and other friends, but the fact remains that he strutted to the edge of the universe, scoffed at god and said “I can beat death” and was proven to be wrong in a way that leaves no room for interpretation.
Now, I’m not saying don’t take risks. Hell, I’m doing 125 on the highway as I type this and I’ve been drinking for the past 23 hours. I’m just saying know what you’re getting into if you’re gonna do something like the following:
This is the stupidest, stupidest thing any human being can do with their lives. I don’t care what you’re into, if you die on Everest, unless you’re a sherpa or a rescue worker, I retroactively will reflect on everything I’ve ever known about you and recast it in a negative light as a result. I can’t think of ANYTHING more fucking hubristic and stupid and unnecessary than this.
Now, without doing any research on this, I feel like it costs a minimum of $100,000 dollars to attempt summiting Everest, and that’s if you kinda slum it. So right there, you’re talking about a hobby that only the shittiest people would ever do. It’s like dolphin polo or shooting a car into space. But whatever. I’m not trying to shame the ultra rich here. I’m more interested in how stupid this fucking hundred grand investment is.
So, you go to a base camp where you live in some tent and have to crap onto a pile of other peoples’ crap and eat campground food for two weeks to acclimate to the altitude and sleep on a shitty cot with a bunch of other, similarly money-to-burn Icarian assholes like yourself (seems worth it so far!) and then you get in a line with these other billionaires and trek in a Six Flags-esque queue past pile after pile of discarded oxygen tanks, corpses and human feces until you can get some poor fucker whose whole mission is to make sure your woefully inadequate ass doesn’t die to snap an instagram shot for you.
Climbing Everest is like a shitty million dollar god complex version of riding Space Mountain at Disney but with more corpses and feces everywhere. You stand in line and have a tacit deal with a random guy with less teeth than most people have that he won’t let you die. Sometimes, that guy fucks up and you die. If you die on Space Mountain, that’s tragic. That’s a controlled thing. If you die on Everest? Duh, motherfucker. Why do you think you wanted to try this bullshit in the first place? It’s literally too dangerous for them to pick up the corpses. Consider that shit. This is an international destination for billionaires and there’s shit and garbage and dead bodies laying around because sprucing up the place is potentially that deadly. And you, you want to go up there anyway. And you have this bullshit idea about what it’s like, but it’s not like that at all. It’s vastly lamer. And even then, you still have a very good chance of dying.
Ever had a family member on life support? That’s what you’re on up there. You essentially paid more money than most people make in 3 years to simulate being a dying grandpa in an open air hospital where they don’t flush the toilets or remove the dead bodies.
Funny thing here. Everyone is tearing down the Columbus statues, and I get it. The idea that he “discovered” America is patently absurd, since, not only were people already here, but, even from a xenophobic Eurocentric perspective, the Norsemen had been here earlier even. BUT! He DID popularize the fact that a continent existed over here, and I kinda get that. If there was a Native American who sailed east across the Atlantic and came back and reported to his homies about Europe (holy moly, you guys. This place is just teeming with people that smell like SHIT!), I wouldn’t be terribly out of sorts about anyone saying that he “discovered’ Europe for North America. I’m not saying that Columbus wasn’t a shitbag for myriad reasons, but I GET what’s going on here beyond semantics, whether i agree with it or not.
However, the idea that Edmund Hillary was the first guy to scale Everest is not like that at all. He literally went with a guy who did it all the time and showed him how to do it. Consider that. A guy. A living (at the time) breathing human guy who had ‘scaling Everest’ so wired that he could hook this flatfoot honky up with the route up the hill back in 1953. (The official story of the Crown is that they both summited together for the first time, but the local history says that Hillary was actually altitude drunk and sick, and so Tenzing ACTUALLY summited alone, and then went back for his sick honky) Even if that’s NOT the case, that still makes Edmund Hillary literally not the first guy who was up there. There’s no nuance. There’s no culture that was oblivious to anything. There’s no anything but buuuuulllllllshiiiit on that mountain...except for billionaire feces and billionaire corpses, I guess. And tons of oxygen tanks. Cool way to defy death, by the way. It’s like experiencing a hyper expensive mountaineering take on VR lung cancer.
This one is waaaay different. I understand why people skydive. It’s cool. Parachutes are cool, Those videos where people in free fall look like they’re just hanging in the sky are awesome. What wigs me out is the videos of people actually jumping out of the plane.
Ya know how, for example, you jump off a high diving board or a cliff or something and you fall so fast but then you think you’re gonna hit the water and then there’s another second in there before you do? It’s easy to think of the act of skydiving in the context of those “I’m just floating in the sky” videos we all see, but the truth is that you plummet out of that motherfucker at 9.8 meters/second and that is fast, and frankly it makes my stomach lurch just writing it out. Jumping off anything is wild. Jumping out of a plane is next level. It also can kill you. You really have to have that on your short list of potential outcomes if you decide to do this.
Here’s a thing I’ve never really considered before: the guy that came up with the parachute must have been out of his fucking mind. I mean...that’s a BOLD move. “Well, I know nothing about aerodynamics, since that doesn’t exist yet, but I’m thinking a bag or something of that nature will probably be all I need to safely land on earth if I somehow find myself falling through the sky from 30,000 feet for whatever reason.” It’s a ridiculous thing to invent and a more ridiculous thing to buy into as any kind of solution for anything back in the day. I mean, were they parachuting in WWI?
Hold on. I’ll google it.
Wow. holy shit. Yes. They were. Okay, so the first airplane flight was in 1903 and that shit was like bunch of popsicle sticks traversing a football field length of beach at a height of like, what? 18 feet? A mere 11 years later people were using government issued muumuus to dive out of planes in the hopes of falling a bit slower. I mean, I GUESS that if you’re in the nascent era of flying machines, the idea of having a way to get the fuck out of this contraption makes sense, but still. I also suppose that taking the “this piece of cloth will lead me back to earth safely” route isn’t that much more risky than just being in a plane at all at that point. So maybe it makes more sense than I’m giving things credit for.
But here’s the deal: I don’t feel like inventing the parachute is a thing that you get a lot of shots at doing. You kinda learn from what happened to that guy who just splattered all over the ground trying to invent the parachute and work from his notes. It’s a crazy fucking idea. I know that now skydiving has become something that grandmas and shit do, but it’s still plummeting out of a plane at a vast rate of speed and counting on essentially a blanket to slow you down enough not to die by the time you get to earth.
You? I love you. If you die skydiving, I’ll be sad. It will not, however, be tragic. I will spend some time thinking about the moments between when you realized your parachute wasn’t fulfilling its end of the deal and when you plowed into the earth. I bet that’s quite a moment. But unfortunately, due to the nature of human bodies, gravity and mortality, no one alive really knows what that’s like. I bet it sucks. Oh, and despite how super fun and spectacular this must be, despite the views and the thrill and the feeling of elation of freefall being trumped by the feeling of elation of the parachute opening properly and yanking you to a safe, peaceful moment of tranquility, if you talk about how you go skydiving, you sound lame. I don’t care how cool it is. I literally was just saying it sounds like it’s cool but you sound like a dildo talking about it. It’s like fucking. Fucking is great. Telling other people about how you fuck makes you a dipshit on the level of someone who is always talking about how they only feel truly one with the universe when they’re skydiving.
This is a placeholder for any of these dumb fucking things that people do on the internet because they’re so hungry for virality that they’re willing to do anything at all to achieve it. The Covid challenge involves licking doorknobs and shit, and guess what? Some of the people who did this very gross and dangerous thing died. Wocka wocka wocka. That’s kinda how it goes, ya dumb dildo. I have zero sympathy for anyone into this shit. If a friend of mine died doing the Covid challenge, I would deny that they had ever been my friend and rewrite the story of our friendship to more closely resemble someone I tangentially knew because of work or something.
As I said, this is a placeholder for any dumb viral internet fame grabs, and none of these annoy me more than….
Those videos where white guys go into rough neighborhoods and act like assholes
This shit is infuriating. It’s always two 22 year old guys going up to a group of huge black dudes and (for example) just grabbing their phone out of their hand and then…
…and then WHAT? Well, if you subscribed you could read on and find out. Thanks for checking this out regardless. If you like what you see, tell someone about it, eh?
Be safe out there, eh?