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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Most dried peas moved in one minute using a straw: 48
This is the story behind my Guinness World Record™ for the Most dried peas moved in one minute with a straw.
It’s pea time! As you’d have gathered by now, I enjoy
using straws to play with things. Mostly, I choose to
play with food – but not always. On occasion, I chew straws to savour the
very little taste they hold, I tie them into stalk-like animals and I like
picking them into slivers of curling plastic. So, it’s clear that I like straws,
whether you call it an addiction or simply a love of tubular plastic mouldings.
I’d been searching for a world record to try which would
allow me to use a straw once again. Frustratingly, I had to do a lot of research
before I chose to move peas. There was much to consider, from my own abilities
to what rules I’d be constrained by. But after considerable thought, my decision
was to suck and spit dried peas. What a choice.
fact, it was another career choice for me. Whenever I can, I do these things.
It’s a way of advancing my status as a world record breaker. You might not see
the logic in this, but I certainly do. If I could succeed at this, I wondered,
how much more recognition would I receive from those who admire world record
achievements? I wasn’t sure, but because I’m obsessed with world
record-breaking, I began to plan my one-man event anyhow.
I needed dried peas. I needed a terracotta pot with a hole
in the bottom. I also needed a plate and, of course, I needed a straw. The
latter would be no issue at all. There are always straws at arm’s length from me
in my house. The plate? That was simply a matter of reaching across the kitchen
area and selecting one. I scouted around my garden and in several of the
neighbours’ for pots. With a little effort, I found one, saw nobody watching,
and turned it upside-down to empty it of earth. Once I’d washed the pot out, I
set off on an investigative journey to that jungle-like storehouse full of
edible goods: my local supermarket.
That made me think what a pity it is that where I get my food is not a true jungle – full of pristine nature, free of litter and industry. The man-made jungle I was in, lined with aisles of preserved foods, is made possible by bad processes like stealing things from the few natural jungles which survive. In business, that’s called using natural resources; to me, it is killing beautiful forests to replace wild places with buildings like stores that aren’t natural at all.
I thought of that in an instant, before zig-zagging my way
to the shelves stacked with an array of dried peas for sale. There were packs of
tiny ones, large ones, packets of mixed pea sizes, some bags containing 5 types
of dried vegetables, and more choice. It was somewhat bewildering to me at first
glance. But after asking a staff member, I learned that all dried peas can be
picked up with a straw.
As the middle-aged lady walked away, having answered my
questions about the suitability of her employer’s selection of dehydrated peas
for world record attempts, I sensed she was definitely not impressed by me as a
customer. Oh dear. Why couldn’t the lady see how important this was to me?
Sadly, she hadn’t, and probably never would. I shrugged my shoulders, pursed my
lips and continued running my fingers over dozens of packets of peas, searching
for the perfect batch.
The intercom crackled and customers were notified that the
store would soon be closing. So I was forced to stop caressing packs of dry peas
and buy one. I grabbed the closest packet and speed walked over to pay for it,
hoping it was the right one for me.
I was horrified when the man at the till snatched the
packet, scanned it and tossed it onto the despatch area without showing any
emotion. I cringed but the employee looked straight into my eyes and gestured
for me to pay. My heart sank. I stared at that man opposite me. Was I about to
find a packet full of broken peas? How would I ever convey my disappointment to
this till operator?
A mother in line behind me made it clear I was holding up the queue. Suddenly, I sprang into action, paid and raced out with my bag of peas clutched tenderly in my hand. I was so worried that all I’d find were chipped and broken peas, I tried to cushion the packet as I walked.
But there had been no reason to worry. The little green spheres were hard as ever, and after sorting the few broken peas from the rest, I felt energetic enough to give the pea-moving a good try. Or, should I say, the peas were about to give my patience a good try.
They were so light, when I poured the peas onto my plate, many flew right off the other side. Even breathing heavily immediately above the peas scattered many of them. I spent a great deal of my time that night searching for, and picking up, little green peas off my carpet. I was quick to learn that working with dry peas was a rather delicate act. And so it was all night.
With the terracotta pot upturned and the plate the required distance away, I was ready to begin. I set my timer, checked there were no stray peas under the pot, and laid the straw on the surface alongside the plate which was brimming with green balls. I plucked the straw from its horizontal position the instant the timer allowed me to, poked its one end into the mass of peas and sucked. I had one on the end! With swift neck muscle movements, I transferred that pea to above the pot and breathed out, into the straw. The green bead shot off the straw and into the hole at the bottom of the pot.
Again. Again and again I did it. And when the timer
signalled for me to halt, there were peas all over. Some of the light balls
had fallen into the upturned pot, but just as many had come to rest on the
surface, on my lap, on the underside rim of the pot, on the floor and even
on my printer. This was no good. If I were to succeed, it would need much
more concentration and focus.
I sat up straight and thought for a few seconds. Once I’d collected all the peas, I tried again. Fail! Well, all I could do was try once more. And this continued deep into the night until, without warning, I packed 48 peas into that pot and was left with a spinning head. I’d refused to surrender to some lightweight peas. I would not have let that happen, I had vowed. So my only option had been to keep trying my best. It paid off. I tidied up the area and submitted my claim, hoping I’d receive a world record for playing with peas.
To my satisfaction, that is just the result I got a short while later. And I loved it. That’s always my reaction to being crowned with one more world record: it is like extreme satisfaction I can feel in my bones. So great, so great, so great it is. But. There’s no time to waste… I’m off on another world record venture now.