Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Anyone up for a little streaking?

We Americans love historical feats. We can’t get enough of those who dabble in the rarified air of an unprecedented accomplishment.

We love streaks.

The sports world is a prime breeding ground for records and streaks; nothing goes unmeasured, untimed, unnoticed. Cal Ripken owns Major League Baseball’s consecutive games played mark at 2,632. John Wooden’s UCLA Bruin basketball teams won an amazing 88 games in a row.

And on Monday night, another impressive run met its end: Brett Favre, quarterback of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings, broke his chain of 297 consecutive starts due to a shoulder injury. Favre had been under center for the first snap of every contest since September 27, 1992—a stretch of time, which would allow a child to progress from birth all the way to high school graduation.

Playing through broken bones, torn muscles and brain trauma begs two questions about Mr. Favre: Tough? Definitely. Smart? Hmm. Let’s just look at some of his recent text messages to ascertain that one.

Since the sporting arena commands so much of America’s attention when it comes to streaks and records, I’ve listed a few numbers below which relate to other areas of endeavor. In my opinion, these figures are equally or more impressive than those accomplished playing games.

19,346—Consecutive days George W. Bush has mispronounced at least one word (i.e. “unceptable,” “ hispanically” or “subliminable”) since learning to speak at age eleven.

84—Consecutive prostitutes who have parted ways with Charlie Sheen while wearing one shoe.

273—Consecutive days someone at my workplace has finished a sentence with the words, “That would be great.” As it turned out, none of those 273 results were even that good.

842—Days since 2008 Miss Flesh Eating Bacteria, Sarah Palin, burst onto the scene, necrotizing the brains of her minions and slaughtering thousands of native Alaskan moose with her voice alone. “Todd! Bring me the baby! Now! The reporters are here! Todd!”

11—Consecutive days I was able to extract shampoo from a seemingly empty Herbal Essence bottle. Although my hair is extremely short and only requires a thimble full, I take enormous pride in this.

732,588—Number of cheddar goldfish I’ve packed into zip lock bags, while stepping on and crushing approximately six percent on the kitchen floor.

5,471—Consecutive days I’ve said to a smaller person, “If you’re not going to eat that, I’ll take it.” (This excludes days spent nursing or bottle feeding.)

So let’s celebrate life’s streaks, its untarnished runs of excellence. And while we’re at it, how about recognizing the biggest one of all:

Consecutive heartbeats.

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