News Item: "The Guinness Book of World Records," that mecca of the meritorious and the manic in pursuit of instant fame, is censoring itself of future weirdly dangerous records, such as swallowing swords or bicycles and lying under heavy weights on a bed of nails . . . .
All across America outraged reaction to yesterday's ban on "weirdly dangerous records" is pouring in. The cascade is such that the Postmaster General reportedly called Guinness' home office in London and allegedly said, "I think we may have a record amount of mail here." He was apparently told that a verification team was on its way, but that it would disallow any attempt to do something "weirdly dangerous" with the mail -- like stapling it onto sheep.
"I think this new policy bites," said Lester (The Ingester) Morrison, a 34-year-old mung-bean farmer from Minnesota who got his nickname by eating the bank building in his native Duluth. Morrison was miffed that his planned assault on the bicycle-eating record -- he intended to devour a Schwinn 10-speed with all the trimmings on Thanksgiving Day -- would now go for naught.
"I went into training last month and warmed up by eating my daughter's tricycle. Polished that sucker off in six hours -- even ate the mirrors," Morrison said. "Man, I was really pumped up for the Schwinn. I'm a talented guy. I'm in the prime of my career. So what the hell am I supposed to do now? You can't get your picture in People magazine just by farming mungs."
Morrison has tentatively decided to switch gears and has come up with a new category. It's weird, but it isn't dangerous. It's -- Bologna Riding. "I plan to ride a five-pound roll from Minneapolis to New Orleans. At first I was going to enter in all the luncheon-meat events; I even planned to ride a salami straight down Whiteface Mountain in Lake Placid, but I figure anyone can go for speed. I'm going for distance. And I think a bologna will hold up longer. My wife said I ought to ride a frankfurter, but a frank is so stuffed with cereal and fillers these days, you can't be sure when it'll fall apart on you. I'd sure hate to get down as far as St. Louis and have to drop out because of equipment failure."
A similar hasty switch is being made by a 22-year-old seamstress from Pasadena, Rhonda-Sue Jares, who calls herself "Suzy Swisscheese" and planned to go for a record by having 850 safety pins stuck in her back on New Year's Day. "A lot of people think the pain is excruciating, but I usually pass out after 250, so after that they can just load me up and I couldn't care less," Jares said. "The thing that really bums me is that I was gonna have the pins arranged in a floral pattern, you know, in honor of the Rose Bowl parade. I was gonna be a living float. My parents would have seen me on TV. Damn, that's 50 bucks worth of entry fees shot."
While abusing her body is now closed off from record consideration, Jares still wants desperately to get into the "Guinness Book of World Records," and she thinks she may have found a weird but non-dangerous category. It's -- Mountain Diapering. "It was new to me, too," Jares said. "But the way I understand it, you put a diaper around a mountain. It fits me perfectly, because you can only use cloth diapers, and you know what you need to fasten cloth diapers -- safety pins! I figure with my knowledge of pins and a little mountain-climbing experience, diapering Mount Hood or Mount McKinley will be like taking candy from a baby. I just hope nobody's out there diapering Mount Everest yet. But with all that snow, how could you tell anyway?"
The new rule probably gave the biggest jolt to Ralph I. Frye, the 67-year-old retired chicken plucker from Tuscaloosa who planned to electrocute himself next week on national television. "I was gonna go on 'That's Incredible' -- Cathy Lee Crosby was gonna do me, not those bozos Tarkenton or Davidson -- take 25,000 volts -- and walk away whistling 'Dixie,' " Frye said. "No sweat. Look, 25,000 volts is nothing. Bang. Zoom. You hardly even feel it. Just last week I ate five electric eels and then walked outside into a lightning storm. Only thing I felt was gas. Couple of Rolaids and I was good as new. Now these Limeys tell me I can't do it because it's 'weirdly dangerous.' I'll tell you what's 'weirdly dangerous' -- that kidney pie they sell over there."
But because of the new rule, frying is out and Frye will go with the flow. He, too, has found a new category. It's -- Egg Golfing. "I took it up when I was a kid. My Dad had a hen house, but my Mom was allergic to eggs, so she'd give hers to me and I'd golf with 'em on account of they was cheaper than golf balls," Frye said. "I could get real good loft with a brown egg and a 9-iron. If I put it on the fairway, I put it all over the fairway. But as long as I kept it in the sand traps I was in business. And I had such a soft touch with my putter that I could three-putt with the same egg. I got so I could go a round in less than 90 eggs. The trick is never to use your woods. You may get a lot of distance, but by the third hole you look like something they serve at Denny's. I may not be the best regular golfer in the world, but I'll tell you this -- you put me up against Jack Nicklaus and tell him he's gotta hit eggs instead of those Topflite XLs, and he'll back out of the bet sooner than you can say, 'Over easy and hold the home fries.' "