Thursday 21 June 2007

Guinness Book of Rotten Records

Breaking wind

Last weekend had a brother and sister deprive themselves of breath for as long as they could hold out under water in the quest for a record. They both lasted 11:07 (sister) and 15:58 (brother) minutes, putting Lithuania on the world news for most of the weekend and having to be hospitalised afterwards. They are both now doing fine.

Last year, is was a little 4 year old boy doing marathons in India, he entered in Indian Limca Book of Records having done 65 kilometres in 7:02 hours, he is supposed to be gunning for a place in the Guinness Book of Records, if he has not already been taken into care.

Breaking the body

It would appear there is some sort of craze to break records in the sub-continent; where in Europe, the youth just want to be famous for the sake of being famous; their counterparts want to be famous for some endurance, outrageous or stupidity feat, hoping that the crass publicity machine of the Guinness Book of Records finds a place for them.

So we see things like dancing non-stop for 85 hours - my feet; singing non-stop for 130 hours - my vocal chords; creating an almighty cacophony in marathon drumming for 16 hours - my hands and ears; basically, things of no particular value to society apart from attracting gasps of horror or something friendlier, have become talk of the town.

Breaking out desperately

Underpinning these quests are parents who seek to live their dreams through their growing kids, the worst part of this situation can only be exemplified in the now common practice of selling off kidneys to pay off debt, as covered in a BBC World documentary a few weeks ago, where one parent said he would also sell off the kidneys of his children when they are old enough to donate, having sold his and still remaining deep in debt - they, the children, unfortunately have been born into a world to bear the wrongs, the ills and the poverty of their forebears and would have no say in what is essentially their well-being.

I am thankful that though I had very ambitious and successful parents in an accountant and a school principal, he knew I was not a break-even analysis and she knew I was not the curriculum personified - they never impressed on me what to do as I vacillated and hesitated about what to do for a career - I always had their support even when I was impossible.

Breaking trust

Where this inordinate quest to be listed in the Guinness Book of Records gets mad, irresponsible and outrageous is depicted in the filming of a 15-year-old performing a Caesarean Section under the supervision of his parents, to become the world youngest surgeon.

I think not; a surgeon has to be suitable qualified and certified by the relevant medical authorities else a scalpel in the hands of a child performing a delicate, risky and life-threatening incision because you have watched by rote is a butchering to put it mildly. We already have too many of those in our streets, teenagers stabbing each other.

This is as unethical as it can get and no surer penalty can be visited on those parents than to be struck off the register of medical practitioners, the only danger being the child would be under more pressure to be the youngest doctor, fastest surgeon or worst still, most dexterous murderer.

Breaking records of records

It was only in January that I lamented the fact that the world's oldest people were dropping off with such regularity that we are approaching a new record, the oldest person to have held the record for the shortest time ever.

I feel I am going to break a record, the one for being the most unimpressed by all these antics of rank stupidity and reckless ambition for useless recognition.

I should have called the Guinness Book of Records for that, now I have to officially break that record again - How to excel, believe me.

PS: Since 2000, it is now known as the Guinness World Records - would that be longest period of time elapsed before realising a world renowned book had a name change?

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