There are very few things in this world that anybody, and I mean ANYBODY can do without any training, talent or skills of any kind what-so-ever. Even talking and eating take some kind of talent and coordination. But eating with finesse will not get you noticed by people all that often and while eloquent public speaking will, the actual act of simply talking is not all that remarkable.
So what do people who have absolutely no talent for sport, art or music do to get noticed? They Plank.
Planking, if you have not heard of it, is an activity consisting of lying face down in an unusual (or sometimes normal) location. The hands must touch the sides of the body and having a photograph of the participant taken and posted on the internet is an integral part of the activity. (Look at me!! Look at me!!)
As dumb as it sounds, it has become popular with a whole slew of talentless people worldwide as a “sport” which they can compete in and never actually lose (although they still appear to be complete losers). The actual name of this “sport” does not even really describe what it is. In fact, it makes people who do it look even stupider. So what is planking? Well, to explain this let’s onsider the three words listed below;
Noun: A continuous period of being seated, esp. when engaged in a particular activity: “the whole roast was eaten at one sitting”.
Adjective: Denoting a person who has sat down or the position of such a person.
Noun: Position, status, or reputation: “their standing in the community”; “a man of high social standing”.
Adjective: (of a jump or a start in a running race) Performed from rest or an upright position, without a run-up or the use of starting blocks
1. Planks collectively, esp. when used for flooring or as part of a boat.
2. The act or process of laying planks.
As you can see, the first two are both nouns and adjectives describing an action, while planking is a noun used to describe, well, planks. But a Planker in this sense, could very easily be confused with a *Plonker. There is no talent involved in planking. Most of the staff at Last Exit to Reality and in fact the entire planet do it at night while going to sleep (although perhaps not in the stiff-as-a-board position plankers use). You simply need to be dumb enough to lay down in a public place, have some one take your picture and then again be dumb enough to upload it on the internet for all the world to see. Most of these Plankers do not even realize that this is going to follow them around for life and one day rear its ugly head when they try to run for public office, get a real job or become a parent. As it is a relatively new phenomenon, we are only just starting to see people crash and burn from the after effect of their irresponsible plank, but rest assured, many more will happen.
But could it be that Planking really is an extreme sport? Could it be more than just dull, bored people with meaningless lives and a “look at me ” complex laying down? In the interest of fairness and truth, Last Exit spent a month undercover with plankers around the globe in order to get a clearer picture of what is really going on. It was a very long month.
First a bit of history; A comedian named Tom Green claims to have invented planking as early as 1994, while Gary Clarkson and Christian Langdon (both little kids) claim to have invented planking in 2000. The “game” spread to the rest of the world, where it has also been known as 시체놀이 or playing dead in South Korea, à plat ventre which means “on one’s belly” in France and extreme lying down in Australia. The planking fad spread like a dirty virus across social media sites and infected those with very little or nothing to do. (And no talent or skills.)
Plankers come from all walks of life. They have one thing in common, and that is the desire to do the ultimate plank. Players compete to find the most unusual and original location in which to play yet there are no winners or losers.
We flew to Australia and caught up with Gary, 27, a seasoned planker from Melbourne, Australia, who gained international recognition in the sport when he planked on a Quantas flight in 2007. “I may be thick as a plank mate, but I have all the Shiela’s (Australian/Kiwi slang for a female) chasing me now”. Gary is now the head of Extreme Plank Australia which allows tourists to have a go at planking on their 500 sq meter plank park in the gold-mining town of Ballarat. He beams at the mention of his famous plank even though it earned him a place on the worlds “no-fly” list and bans him from taking a flight anywhere on the planet. Gary says he will plank for the rest of his life and even wants to be buried in plank position when he dies.
Our next stop was to meet Tawny, 19, who is a dancer at Godfathers strip club in Wheeling, West Virginia. She discovered planking 3 years ago when she met her first boyfriend who took her on a plank trip across the South-East of the United States. “After my first plank, I was like, totally dude, like, this is so cool and it’s really me”. After she became a dancer last year she started incorporating planking into her routine because, she says “My customers love when I do the plank, and like umm, it’s so sexy”. She wants to go to the finals and hopes to be a plank cheerleader one day. (We didn’t have the heart to tell her that they don’t exist.)
We spent thousands of pounds on travel and met several other plankers around the world, each pretty much as unremarkable and stupid as the next but at least we enjoyed our trip. We spent the final week of our month of research delving into the darker and more dangerous side of planking. While most of the Plank magazines and websites play down any danger, there are some glaring examples of planks-gone-wrong.
In July 2009, Laurie Satter was killed in Upstate New York by a train moments after she had her photo taken planking on a railroad track. And in September 2009, seven doctors and nurses working at the Great Western Hospital in Swindon, England were suspended for planking while on duty and 3 patients died. In 2010, Calvin Thomas, 22, was jailed for 10 years in Memphis, Tennessee after planking on his best friends 11-year-old sister. While he claimed it was just a plank, the jury disagreed. On 15 May 2011, Acton Beale, 20, plunged to his death after reportedly planking on a seventh-floor balcony in Brisbane, Australia. However, this has had almost no effect on Extreme Plank Australia’s business as they claim to have the safest plank areas in the world.
So what is the verdict on planking? Is planking really stupid or is it an extreme sport? After our extensive research, Last Exit has concluded that it is indeed an extreme sport, but one that is reserved for those that are extremely stupid. Planking is not to be confused with Plumbking which is even stupider but indeed is just one of the other extreme/extremely stupid sports related to planking that are on the increase also. Check the internet if you really want to get involved. But if you are going to do this, at least wear a plank helmet.
Teapotting is one of the many variations of planking that consists of bending the arms in a shape of a teapot in reference to the children’s song “I’m a Little Teapot”. This variation was created by teachers in Mortlake College as an attempt to create a new ‘craze’ after viewing the amount of attention planking received.
Owling is a variation on planking in which a person squats “like an owl”. It was first documented on 11 July 2011 in a post on a social news website .
Batmanning involves hanging upside down by your feet.
You don’t even want to know about this one as it combines double silliness but you can find out about Cosplay here.
*Plonker Slang term of British origin whose meaning has evolved over time. It was once a slang for penis, later became a word for a fool or a man who sanctions sexual relationships between his girlfriend and his male friends but today is just another word for calling someone an idiot.
In yet more related stupidity – Eight Plankers Lose Their Jobs in Australia Read their meaningless story (soon to be a major motion picture).
The latest stupid trend – porn stars are planking
Here you can see an actual idiot doing an epic fail plank ::