The time of your life

Stoomstrijkijzer

What is this strange object? (Image via Wikipedia)

So, the other day, over my morning coffee, I figured out the root cause of all of humanity’s problems.

Politics? Nope. Religion? Nuh-uh. The increasing influence of Jupiter as it enters the fifth house through the left window in the Year of the Ox?

Sadly not. The problem is that we have far, far too much time on our hands. And we get bored easily.

Your average rabbit, for instance, has three main activities in life, which occupy about 25% of its time: eating, sleeping, and making more rabbits. The other 75% is spent staring off into the distance, doing nothing. Humans seem to need something far more challenging. This naturally excludes corporate CEOs, who have also been known to spend 75% of their time staring off into the distance, doing nothing.

I came to my conclusion after reading about the latest extreme sport. For those of you who don’t know what extreme sports are, some examples:

Heli-skiing – This is where a helicopter crew, in flight, throws a skier out onto a part of a mountain so inaccessible and dangerous that even the mountain goats have posted warning signs. You slide down a slope on two sticks you have carefully waxed to eliminate all possibility of speed control. There are only two ways to stop: A) Hit a tree, and B) Hit a rock.

Bungee jumping – This is where you tie yourself to a rope and throw yourself off a high bridge, for the express purpose of turning your stomach inside out when you come to a sudden stop. I strongly suspect that this sport was invented by a manufacturer who had to quickly find a market for a bad batch of rope that had gone all sproingy.

Snowboarding – Enthusiasts strap both feet to a single piece of board and slide down a mountain in the most awkward position possible: half sideways. Snowboarder dexterity is greatly enhanced by the fashionable clothes (dropped-crotch pants, toques pulled over the eyes), and ‘performance drugs’ (the stuff that Clinton didn’t inhale.)

Now the latest entry in this type of sporting activity is… extreme ironing.

The object of this, erm, ‘sport’ is to do the best ironing job on five items of clothing while, say, being suspended off the side of a mountain, floating on water, or sitting on the roof of a moving car.

Personally, I always thought ‘normal ironing’ was challenging enough. There are all kinds of potential injuries, including a steamed face, hot flattened fingers, sudden ironing board collapse and railroad track creases down your pants.

Or so I’ve heard. My own technique for wrinkle removal is just to throw my clothes in the ‘ironing basket.’ Over time, heat and pressure (as the pile gets higher) slowly change the structure of clothing fibres in the lower layers, resulting in “petrified pants” which are now permanently wrinkle free. The average time for petrification is 20 years, which, happily, is the same length of time it takes fashion makers to bring back retro styles. I’ll continue using this method until we finally get the “smart” clothes we’ve been promised. By that I mean shirts that know better than to wrinkle in the first place.

But I digress. The other new (poisonous!) extreme sport is “scorpion (poisonous!) sitting” wherein people lock themselves in small cells with 3000 (poisonous!) scorpions for roommates. The idea is to break world records for endurance and is currently standing at 32 days (in case you’re thinking of having a go).

Actually, this is a sport in which I could compete. In my house, there are no fewer than 5,478 spiders, some of which look like they could be poisonous. Some of the species are quite large too, with a leg span of about four inches if you squish them properly.

This means there are webs everywhere – so many that I think that for Christmas, we will simply disguise the Christmas lights as flies and let the spiders string them up. In fact, we could hold a neighbourhood competition for extreme spider decor-

See? Humans are easily bored. We need better causes. I need a cause.

Just don’t ask me to save the scorpions. Or iron.

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