took to world record-breaking in
2004 after being inspired by a record-setting rally
driver in Kenya. What began as a hobby soon escalated
into an active publicity pursuit. Today, he promotes the
work of social and environmental causes. For these
purposes, the most fitting game plans are chosen; then
world titles are attempted and frequently created.
Wall Street Journal:
Shaking On It in Times Square
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Behind every world record attempt is the expertise of professionals in their field.
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Fastest time to butter 10 slices of bread: 52.42
This is the story behind my Guinness World Record™ for the Fastest time to butter 10 slices of bread.
I bet every person reading this can butter a
slice of bread. I won't congratulate you even if you can butter 10, 20
or 100 slices. So what? But if you can do this in the context of a
world record attempt, then you could be a force to be reckoned with.
Well, that's my opinion. I feel so strongly about this that I went out
of my way to demonstrate my personal ability when it comes to buttering
bread. You'd be right if you thought I had something to prove. And not
only prove myself to those I knew, but to the entire world. Look at me,
look at me, look at me buttering bread. That could sound strange to you
reading this, perhaps, but its part of history already.
Let me explain how this world record attempt came
about. I love the taste of butter. Feeling its creaminess sliding down
my throat is a pleasure I can't do without on a regular basis. As for
bread – tempt me with a good quality loaf and I'll consume the entire
thing in one sitting. Yes, that's right. I can eat a loaf of bread in
under half an hour, but only if it is very good. So, put those two
together and one has a potential world record. Not sure if that's how
you see things, but that was my perception. So on my next visit to the
local shop, I began what ended up being a period of over-buying fresh
bread and bricks of butter.
I arrived home with more bread than I could
possibly eat without feeling sick, and 2 blocks of good quality salted
butter. I'd practise and eat what I could of the remains. What I
couldn't eat would go straight into my compost bin. Of course you
follow the sense in all of this, I know. My time and money was about to
be directed at another world record attempt first, and my body's need
for food would be made to wait. But I couldn't resist; there was no way
I'd sleep in peace unless I knew I could succeed at this. So I
prioritised my next world record attempt ahead of my stomach's needs.
kitchen bench, I stacked all utensils in
one corner, leaving me a large space on which to play. I liked the
thought of playing with my food for a world record attempt, and I got
going straight away with a blunt knife. I positioned the stopwatch on
the windowsill but knew I'd be hard-pressed to keep an accurate eye on
it as well as butter bread to perfection. The least I could do was try.
When the seconds ticked over, I was away as if in
a race. Scoop butter, onto the knife, straight to the bread; back to
the butter, onto the knife again and then the next slice. So it went.
The semi-solid butter was breaking apart the bread and I dropped lumps
of butter on several occasions. By the time I'd timed myself for
spreading 10 slices, I think the stopwatch had forgotten about me – its
time had run away completely. That simply wasn't good enough. I ate
until my stomach was distended, then prepared for the next run.
Over time, I got better at it. When I felt my
skills were of a sufficient standard, I asked a friend if his family
would like to see how fast I can butter bread. “Ye-e-es you can; do you
think you can show us all the world's best buttered bread?” he
responded. Actually I can, I said with surprise. We had a date it
seemed. Having gathered my assistants, we headed to the house near the
beach. In the front yard, I laid out all I needed and paced around
nervously. There would only be a single chance, since the quantity of
room temperature butter I had was limited and I'd only brought one
loaf. But I knew this could be a success, and I'd have the pleasure of
eating the remains. Fancy that!
The resident family members were all wanting to
be a part of this. They brought out a table and placed it right inside
the front gate under the spreading cherry tree, laden with
deep-coloured flowers – anyone driving up the street could see there
was something about to take place. I was handed a dish towel and
received plenty of good wishes. Every person in the house came to watch
the event at one bedroom window. I found that somewhat amusing, but
really? I just wanted to eat. And soon I would; there was just a little
buttering in between me and my meal.
The timekeeper lurked alongside me, checking that
I was laying each slice out neatly. I positioned the knife exactly
where I wanted it. Then I made sure the others present were fully aware
of everything expected of them. They were. Great. So was I. We could
proceed. Three, two, one, go! I scrambled for the knife, a hunk of
butter and the closest slice. Smear. Another smear. Then I flipped a
run of oozing butter back onto the bread and spread it across the slice
with great speed. Done! I reached out to cut off the next blob of
butter and the next and the next, each slapped onto a consecutive
awaiting slice. I couldn't help thinking the faster I went, the quicker
I could get the stuff down my throat. But, that wasn't the objective
here, I knew. I continued to concentrate while coordinating a flurry of
arm movement. A very brief flurry it was.
For all the intense effort and energy that went
into making this world record attempt possible, it was over far too
soon. That also meant snack time had arrived. But not so fast, I had to
remind myself. There was a little admin to be completed, to be sent to
the judges. To ensure this got done speedily, I asked the witnesses to
inspect my handiwork, which they did with interest. What an unusual
thing for them to have to do: look carefully over someone else's
buttered bread, done at the greatest speed they could produce. Yet,
both of them did it. And they nodded approval for several seconds,
commenting on how I'd managed to smear the butter onto the edges of
each slice, as stated in the rules. It was as if we were all caught up
in some food preparation competition in a summer garden under the
blooming cherry tree. I was being evaluated, and got immediate informal
approval. I liked that – it meant I could wrap my jaws around the
spread bread quicker. As soon as the admin was completed, I once again
reached out to the table, but this time for a bite. Delicious. Even
more delicious, I thought, because what I had in my mouth could be
world famous very soon.
I was satisfied. So were the spectators in the
room overlooking us. I remembered having recently bought far more bread
than I usually do, and the shopkeeper having commented. Although my
pleasure was coming from looking forward to another possible world
record, I bet the shopkeeper's came from the extra spend I'd been
making. Nevertheless, everyone seemed happy and that made me feel good!