That guy just jumped from orbit. Everybody’s calling him a professional daredevil. I guess I have to give some credit where it’s due; I would never even jump out of a plane, so imagining this guy riding a balloon up into outer space and then just jumping off. Well, it’s causing me to have a physical reaction. But daredevil. Without detracting from his accomplishment, I think the word daredevil is being completely manhandled here. I’ve always considered myself a daredevil of sorts, but now all I’m reading about is how this guy is a daredevil, and it’s making me feel like less of a daredevil knowing that I’d never put on a spacesuit and do what he did.
But there are a lot of things that I’ve done that I bet you Mr. Professional Daredevil would never consider. Like one time last summer, I went to a bar with my friends. After a few drinks we went out to their patio out back to enjoy the afternoon weather. The table we sat at was made of planks of wood nailed together. One of my friends said, “Ew gross,” and pointed to a gap in between two of the planks. A single french-fry was wedged right in the crack. It looked like it had been there forever. And it was a really hot summer, so this thing looked double-fried by the sun. So I picked up out of the crack and ate it. And I didn’t even get sick. I’d love to see the jumping Joe or whatever his name is try something like that. He’d probably make one of those fake gag-reflex sounds and then insist on finding a new table.
But try telling that to Red Bull, to CNN. There’s no way anybody over there is paying attention to any of my emails. The whole world thinks that this guy is a daredevil. And so I guess I lost. It just kind of sucks because I always thought that while professional basketball player, Mr. Senator, and Your Excellency were all titles that would be forever out of my reach, I could always take comfort in the fact that I had my own title, that I could always look in the mirror and say to my reflection, “Looking good daredevil.”
I’ve pulled off plenty of stunts that could have warranted their own Internet specials. Like one time I ran across a highway. Or another time I ate thirty dogs in an hour and a half. Or this other time I … I can’t remember everything right now. There’s too much stuff that I’ve done. And besides, I feel like if I’m forced to list everything off, like a list, it just sounds too cheap, like I’m trying too hard to prove how much of a daredevil I really am.
All I’m saying is, I used to call myself a daredevil. And now I can’t because this guy totally upstaged me. It’s just how I used to call myself an artist. One time I did this painting. It took me forever. I thought it was pretty good. But then a few weeks later this rich mega couple draped the entirety of Central Park in curtains. “Oh that?” they told the news media, “We’re artists.”
But really, I have no idea how that guy floated up there. One time I was at this college upstate and there was this really weird looking building. On one side there was a dent in one of the walls. It was a planned dent; it wasn’t a defect or anything. I’m just having trouble describing it. It was an indent in the wall, maybe three feet in and four feet across and it ran all the way straight up. Anyway, I pressed my body in there and pushed my arms and legs to both sides to the point where I was off the ground, just pressed in between this indent. And I started climbing up, really slowly. And I got up to like fifteen feet and I just got freaked out, just imagining the possibility of me climbing all the way up to the top, and then getting even more freaked out, to the point where I couldn’t even move, where I couldn’t come down, and everybody on the ground would eventually call campus security, and they’d have to call the fire department, and what if while I was waiting up there to be rescued, what if I ran out of strength and slipped? Because I don’t think I could maintain a position like that indefinitely. And this was all in my head. In reality I was only maybe twelve feet off the ground, and I started freaking out, and I couldn’t come down. I was stuck.
But I felt pretty dangerous there. Kind of like a daredevil.