"I'm a National Failure" - David Blaine
(photo courtesy of G. Paul Burnett/The New York Times)
David Blaine had a two hour television special on ABC last night. Just so you know, two (2) hours is one hundred and twenty (120) minutes or seven thousand and two hundred (7,200) seconds. I've watched feature length films that have taken less time and thoroughly enjoyed myself.
The premise of David Blaine's special was that he has been submerged in a spherical water tank for over seven (7) days or one hundred and sixty eight (168) hours, or ten thousand and eighty minutes (10,080), or six hundred and four thousand eight hundred (604,800) seconds -- if you're keeping score at home. The water was 96 degrees and apparently Mr. Blaine, a "magician" who has developed a forte of just doing stupid shit for an extended period of time and expecting people to be impressed and give him attention, had been feeling serious pain. ABC was sure to show us his horrifyingly wrinkled feet and hands to let us know that this wasn't "magic," rather it was an attention starved dope's attempt to further his reputation and career as, well, an attention starved dope.
The event was hosted by none other than ESPN's Stuart Scott, or the guy who has beaten his own catch phrases (that were never particularly clever to being with) to the same dead state as his right eye.
Anyway, the "stunt" that Blaine was performing was that more water would be added to the sphere that he's been living in, drowning him while he's handcuffed. Blaine would then remove the handcuffs from both his wrists and ankles and remain submerged under the water for nine (9) minutes, breaking the world record of 8:58 by two (2) seconds.
I should take this moment to point out that I don't usually care what Blaine does, and I usually assume his stunts to be both an illusion -- like much of his magic tricks -- and something that nobody would think of doing anyway because they're just not very interesting. I didn't think much else about this particular stunt, however the possibility of Blaine dying or getting seriously injured was present, so I sat through the grueling flashbacks of Blaine's training and Scott's grating commentary.
Well, Blaine did something abnormal, alright. He failed.
After about six and a half (6.5) minutes, Blaine began to struggle with his handcuffs and looked as though he were straining for air. Soon thereafter, emergency help jumped into the tank and helped Blaine undo his leg cuffs and escape from the drowning at 7:08, nearly two (2) minutes short of his goal and the record.
Now this was great, I saw this dope who nearly killed himself on live television fail at his mission and then completely break down and tell the pathetic crowd of what looked like thousands (1000s) that he "loved them" for their support.
After watching Blaine (a man who probably knew he wouldn't get the money to perform another one of these unnecessary spectacles) break down and struggle, the night was highlighted by Stuart Scott's attempted recovery. The following is a quote by Mr. Scott several minutes after Blaine's failing:
"While Blaine did not achieve what he had set out to do, people watched him."
That's right, Stu, people watched him. He can tell his grandkids about how he failed at something he had trained for months, wasted and wrinkled away in water for seven days to do, but people watched him.
The next time something bad happens to you in life, just think about what Lil' Stuey would say. A new mantra could be WWSSS? (What Would Stuart Scott Say?). If you fail a test, tell your parents that you may have failed but at least your teacher graded it. If you lose your job, tell your wife that you may have been fired but you do know how to breathe. If you rob a bank and get caught, tell the police that you may have broken the law but at least other people have money.
Perhaps Scott couldn't think of what to say because he's usually reading off a teleprompter at Sportscenter, but he wasn't done. As the credits rolled and the spectacle's coverage drew to a close, Scott left us with one final thought. Perhaps questioning his own role in covering the event, or maybe his very presence in the world, Scott muttered frustratingly, "Seven-OOO-Eight (7:08)."
And then "Grey's Anatomy" came on and life could go on.