It’s interesting to see someone break a record – most of the time, anyway - and there’s a reason we state it that way. You’ll understand when you learn exactly what records we’re looking at.

(By the way, if you harbor the ambition to be a world record holder you might want to check the Guinness book, since some of the best categories have already been claimed.)

* Leo Bircher of Switzerland is the World Champion of Broom Balancing – on his nose – for two hours and one minute.

* In October, 1987, Jens Seiler of Germany typed 626 keystrokes of actual words in one minute.

No big deal? Think again. He typed them all backwards – with no mistakes!

* David Downes of England got in the holiday spirit when he balanced a seven foot tall Christmas tree on his chin for 56.82 seconds. (No more eggnog for him!)

* In the ever-popular event of Balloon-stuffing, Ralf Schuler of Germany holds two records. He managed to get 23 people crammed into a latex balloon, and then he set the individual record by stuffing himself – unaided - into a balloon in just 37.1 seconds.

* In 1984, American Alan Newbold ate 150 dried plums in just 31 seconds. (No word on the aftereffects.)

- and still in the category of things to do with food, here are a couple more.

* Kerry White of England holds the world record for eating baked beans. He consumed 12,547 baked beans – in sauce – in a timed twenty four hour period ... and in September of 1986, Barry Kirk also of England, sat in a cold bath of baked beans for 100 hours. (Again, no word about the aftereffects - and don’t ask.)

* If you’ve been wondering about the Ear-Wiggling Championship, we are happy to report that Jetendra Kumar of India wrapped up the title by wiggling his ears (no hands) one hundred and forty seven times in one minute.

* The record for just plain persistence was set back in 1976 by Keith Redman, who proposed to his girlfriend Beverly once every day, racking up a total of eight thousand, eight hundred and one until she said yes. (She finally broke down after twenty three years!)

* Since 1968, Gary Duschl has been collecting and folding chewing gum wrappers, and holds the World’s Championship. At last count, his gum wrapper chain was 66,835 feet long (more than 12 miles!), containing over 1,581,159 wrappers! (The gum was recycled – he didn’t say how.)

* In Australia, Roman Schedler set the record for Hula-hooping, at 73 consecutive seconds of wiggles. No big deal? Well, he did it with a 53 pound tractor tire.

* In England, Peter Altman set the record for eating cottage cheese. He devoured three pounds in four minutes. Three years later, he set another record, scarfing down a half pound in 30 seconds.

* When it comes to record-setting, apparently anything goes, since Ken Edwards of England ate 36 cockroaches in one minute, while Travis Fessler didn’t eat them, he held 11 large, live, cockroaches for 10 seconds – in his mouth.

* Let’s hear it for Chu-Tang-Cuong of Viet Nam, who hammered 116 nails into a wooden board in just eleven minutes – with his bare hands.

* If you’re a speed-freak, you’d applaud Tim Waterston, who’s a drummer – a really fast one, In January of 2002, he set the record with 1,407 beats in 60 seconds – with his feet!!

And if you’re really lazy, you might try to beat Jeff Tweiten and John Goth’s record.

* On January 22, 2002, they lined up to see Star Wars, Episode II – Attack Of The Clones, and finally got admitted on May 16th – four and a half months later!

Does all this stir a desire to have your fifteen minutes of fame?

Okay, then; if you’ve got the itch to be World Champion of something, here’s how.

Dream up your own event, (probably the sillier the better) check the book to make sure it hasn’t already been claimed, find yourself a couple of witnesses, then do your thing.

Finally, notify the Guinness folks what you’ve been up to.

The hardest part is yet to come.

You’ll probably have to explain why you did it.



— Newton columnist Mike Morton writes weekly for the Kansan. He can be reached at m24r24fm8445@att[L1] .net