Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Finally Funny Slapstick

I've never really been a fan of "slapstick" comedy. Three Stooges were often mean spirited, intentional violence - some warranted, much of it not. Old silent films with people being intentionally injured on film for comedic effect were the pre-cursors to Tosh.O's documentum of modern day video buffoons - most of it lackluster, but some of it cringe worthy. Chevy Chase falling through tables or walls on SNL was just plain old dumb, and never made me laugh or even grin. But then came parkour...

Parkour, or parcour, or "urban surfing", "extreme jumping and climbing" LOOKS pretty incredible at first glance. Wow, Cirque du Soleil acrobats, dressed like guys from Stomp!, doing Neo and Morpheus jumps from building to building, stair case-to-wall-to-ground... appears to be cool, even "super human". But like the gazelle who tries jumping higher and taller to show the hungry cheetahs "Don't eat me! I'm strong and fast! See me jump!" ...sometimes, that gazelle plants his hooves in a slippery pile of elephant dung, or a termite tunneled hollowed patch of earth, and then he stumbles and doesn't launch himself quite so high. Not everyone in the Parkour world can be the strong gazelle, just like not every kid who plays basketball can be Michael Jordan, no matter how much they want or try to be.

So I found myself captivated this afternoon, laughing hysterically at face plants and nutshots, of stupid, testosterone driven young men attempting Parkour, and failing miserably. These aren't the slick video productions that show amazing, graceful leaps and landings. No, these are the real thing, where faces meet pavement, testicles are crushed, cartilage gets damaged, teeth are shattered - and it's not some accidental cute stunt of a little kid or a dad getting hurt unexpectedly. These Parkour devotees are often hurting themselves As They Practice to do these insane gymnastics.
Links to a few examples:
here ... park bench nutshot
here ... parking bollard nutshot
here ... one story landing face plant
here ... concrete parking face plant
here ... face into pallet
here ... triple failure
here ... clueless "look at me" has no idea how shoddy the wall is he's aiming for
here ... or launching from
here ... or how little load old galvanized corrugated roofing can hold
here ... gooooooal!
here ... silly French boy tests his intestines impact strength
here ... silly school kid flips of camera he himself set up after miserably failing
here ... dumb high school kid incurs a head injury
here ... Bobby Hill from King of the Hill attempts Parkour
here ... Russian Parkour compilation where many hurt themselves

They're not lemurs, orangutans, or howler monkeys... nor are they Peter Parker, Matt Murdoch, Steve Rogers, Kurt Wagner, Neo, or Morpheus. They're dumb young men. I used to be one once, 30 years ago, before Parkour was invented, I launched my banana seat Schwinn bike off a 3 foot ramp and failed to keep my feet on the pedals - assuming they would somehow magically stay adhered to the pedals while flying through the air. The testicular and perianal impact as I landed on the FRAME in front of the seat was intense, and I learned at that point, that boys are not supposed to fly through the air.

I think it's great that there's guys who can climb buildings and jump from roof to roof without injuring themselves, but they are rare entities, the Michael Jordans and Tony Hawks of their genre. The "common guy" who tries to Parkour is going to end up in a neck brace, wheel chair, dentist's chair, or dead, if he's not extremely, extremely careful. This is not falling off a skate board, this is falling off a multi-story building. The adrenalin rush might be amazing, but it's not worth the risk of having to take the ADA ramp the rest of your life.

I enjoy watching Parkour failures, for the simple fact that no one is making these dolts do this, except themselves. It's intentional, superfluous, completely unnecessary, blatantly dangerous while also being extremely difficult, so when they fail, they've earned what's coming to them.

I wonder how many dentists and orthopedists endorse Parkour as a means of job security, as well as for entertainment purposes?

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