The Origins of the “Planking” Fad

As I rapidly approach my 30th birthday, I’m certain of two things. Kids are beyond moronic nowadays and that the Darwin Awards are probably the greatest summation of people’s stupidity. Case in point “planking”.

If you’re not familiar with the current sensation here’s a brief description. People, mainly the youth of the world, lay face down with their hands to their sides like, well, a wooden plank. What makes this fad intriguing to people is that they do this in unique and peculiar locations. That’s it.

The origins of planking are debatable. Some believe that it’s origins stem from a scene in 1993’s The Program, where quarterback Joe Kane lies down in the middle of a road. Needless to say, people tried the same thing and some were obviously run over by cars. Tom Green also claims that he invented the game back in 1994 on his Canadian public access show. However, a pair of Brits named Gary Clarkson and Christian Langdon claim that they invented it in 2000, when it was dubbed the “lying down game”. Seven years later their friend Daniel Hoppin put planking on the net. But, it was in Australia where the game became known as planking and gained popularity.

While the game is seemingly harmless, yet utterly stupid, there have been a few incidents where it gained notoriety. In September of 2009, seven nurses and doctors in England were suspended for playing the game while on duty. On May 13, 2011, a twenty-year-old man was arrested for planking on a police vehicle in Australia. Then there was the May 15 incident when another twenty-year-old man fell to his death after attempting to plank on his seventh story roof in Brisbane, Australia.

Since that event, police, and the media, have been giving planking extra attention. Police are concerned that people will try to out plank each other. The media, on the other hand, just loves to scare people. Regardless if you believe planking is actually dangerous, of just outright stupid, it’s a fad with a huge following. Planking’s official Facebook page has over 180,000 fans. Then there are the numerous planking pictures on Twitter, videos on YouTube and websites dedicated to the game. Even 85-year-old Hugh Hefner recently gave it a try.

So, is planking worth all the hoopla? Or, are people making a big deal out of nothing? There’s no denying that a lot of people are into this whole thing. But, I guess only time will tell if it’s something that will last or fade away. Regardless, we would love to hear your opinions on the phenomenon.

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