If the Guinness Book of World Records has taught us anything, it is that the parameters of greatness are obscure. A person can gain notoriety and attain world record status for being superlatively ridiculous—as long as no one else has documented it first. No talent to speak of? No repulsive physical attributes? Don’t have 1,000 friends willing to dress up as Minions and stand in a banana-shaped formation on an open stretch of interstate? No problem. Keep thinking; you’ll come up with something. As the book says, “Record-breaking is free and open to everyone.”
Determined, as I am, for my family to go down in history for more than championing the two-second fruit rinse (so it’s safe to eat), I recently compiled a list of entries for record-setting stardom that just might earn us a place in The Book:
- Longest time wearing unlaundered jeans by an adult. (Some woman in our family—okay, me—went an entire winter without washing her only pair of jeans for fear they would shrink and not fit her “cold weather curves.”)
- Most ignored texts by a husband when his wife is at the doctor and needs his social security number and insurance information.
- Largest gathering of adults with subclinical or full-blown eating disorders at Thanksgiving dinner.
- Most frequent attempts and subsequent fails to successfully install iTunes.
- Loosest interpretation of the phrase, “Homemade treats only.”
- Most vacation days ever used to assemble a trampoline.
- Greatest number of custom electrical cords replaced for a massage chair, after being chewed in half by a puppy.
- Loudest screams ever recorded after being grounded from electronic devises.
- Longest running consecutive streak of overreacting by answering the phone, “What’s wrong?!” when nothing was wrong. (My mother)
- Greatest number of fights started by a husband when he repeatedly reminded his wife what time it was—every five minutes—in an attempt to get her to hurry.
- Highest percentage of clothes found in the dirty laundry basket that were both still clean and turned inside-out.
- Severest punishment ever issued for deleting 57 episodes of Breaking Bad on the DVR to make room for the My Little Pony marathon.
- Most frequent use of the excuse, “My Fitbit needs charging,” to skip a workout.
- Most copies of the book The Good Earth, by Pearl S. Buck found in one house. (Our last count was seven—two belonging to the library.)
- Shortest time between opening a gift and losing it. (It took my daughter just 4 minutes, 35 seconds to lose the beautiful hand-knit sweater her aunt made her for Christmas.) Nothing says thank you like complete disregard.
- Greatest number of popsicles eaten in one day while repeating, “I’m bored. You’re never fair. Why do I always have to do everything!?”
- Most book clubs formed but never attended. (Between the years 2007-2014, I was a member of nine book clubs, none of which existed long enough to meet, let alone discuss any books.)
- Highest percentage of ruined diets blamed on the person who buys Oreos, by the person who ate said Oreos.
- Most collective Stratego wins by one family. (Putting our hiding-things-from-others skills to good use.)
- Most printer ink wasted on full-size, colored pictures of the gang from Scooby Doo.
- Highest volume of tears cried over being lost and alone in an unknown place…oh wait, that was in Minecraft.
- Most time spent arguing about which TV series is better, Downton Abbey or Pokémon: Black & White.
- Longest time taken to unpack moving boxes. (Obviously containing precious treasures we can’t live without.)
- Farthest distance travelled by chocolate milk splatter from a “phantom” spill, which was mysteriously neither witnessed nor caused by anyone in the vicinity.
Save the applause, pick up your jaws—Guinness Book, here we come.