An example of plankingActon Beale fell to his death after lying on a balcony seven stories high while attempting the Facebook craze planking. Planking is the practice of lying down on strange or dangerous things (a paint can, a street) and snapping a photo of it for all 900 of your Facebook friends to enjoy. Sound stupid?
Since the beginning of time, man has attempted idiotic things in order to garner a laugh or a "holy s**t" from his friends. And out of these stunts, dumber, more dangerous stunts are born by those who want to one-up the other. A few childhood instances that come to mind are friends of mine pushing each other down a hill (that dovetailed into a busy street) in an empty grocery cart; a handstand contest that took place on a roof; and a "cannonball off," which entailed jumping into a pool from various places (a deck, a tree). Sure, "oohs" and "ahhs" were bred from these acts of lunacy, but what everyone always forgets is one wrong move and it's lights out.
And that was way back when. That was when people had to actually get together and have the now-defunct face-time with other human beings. Now, with Facebook and Twitter and Tumblr, the floodgates are open for all sorts of bad ideas to breed all sorts of other bad ideas. It's a one-upmanship online, and it's way more dangerous than the old-school handstand contests of my youth.
See, because with social media sites, the pool of people is much bigger. And one published photo of yourself doing something crazy makes you sort of a celebrity. No one "had to be there to see it," everyone just ... sees it.
So, in the case of planking, that's exactly what it was -- a proverbial "my balls are bigger than yours" contest. Oh, you're going to plank on a highway? I'm going to plank on a billboard. You're going to plank on a billboard? I'm going to plank on a seven-story balcony.
The Planking Australia Facebook page has more than 55,000 members and photos show people planking on a McDonald's sign, an office desk, railway tracks, a brick wall, and a chair lift. According to the Queensland Police, "The potential for disaster increases as more and more risks are taken to get the ultimate photo."
It was bad enough when we were just trying to outdo our fellow classmates, but now, with things like "Planking Pages," there are too many people to show up. Hopefully, no one is dumb enough to try to one-up planking on a balcony, though. Hopefully, that will be the end.
What do you think of planking?
Image via sunshinecity/Flickr