You’re walking down a street when you suddenly catch a glimpse of a man lying motionless on the street. His body is rigid, with his arms by his sides, and cars are swerving to avoid him. Another man is grinning and recording the event with his iPhone.
The good Samaritan that you are, you waste no seconds in rushing to the man’s aid. You are a foot from the scene when the man leaps up, grinning.
“Did you get it?” he asks the man with the iPhone.
They laugh. “Let’s post it on YouTube!”
You just witnessed planking.
“Planking,” or the “Lying Down Game,” is an activity that has recently become a worldwide popular fad. In it, people lie face down in unusual locations, while someone takes a picture or records it.
The competition is on to plank in the most bizarre and impossible places, whether it be on a car, a pole, or on the roof. Supposedly invented as early as 1994 by Tom Green, a Canadian comedian, only in recent years has it spread to the rest of the world like wildfire, spawning additional weird activities, such as “owling,” “teapotting,” “horsemanning,” and “batmanning.”
Crazy as planking may seem, there are always those select few who take it to entirely new levels of lunacy. Here are some examples: A teenager planking on two camels, a woman planking on bags of ice, a man planking on a buoy in the middle of the ocean, and a woman planking on a police car.
No country, no region, is free of this all-pervading trend. The basketball player Dwight Howard and 100 of his fans planked together on September 2, 2011 in Beijing.
Max Key, son of the prime minister of New Zealand, John Key, uploaded a picture on Facebook on May 29, 2011 of himself planking on a lounge suite with his father standing behind him. That caused quite a political uproar.
Even Ivy League universities aren’t safe anymore, as demonstrated by a planking event at Princeton University earlier this year.
Planking may be, I admit, hilarious and wild, but it has already led to numerous injuries and at least one confirmed death. So, please, plank all you want; there are some benefits, if you think you’re getting exercise by doing it, but be careful.
Don’t plank on the roof of a seven-story building, or on top of a flag pole. And please, for you non-plankers, watch out for plankers in the streets.
Certainly people will soon tire of planking, and it is anybody’s guess what the next wacky activity will be. My prediction is… “coneing.”
Amanda Glatt, 14, attends Livingston High School and is a member of Nu’s teen board.