My Blogger-blogger friend Betsy -- the one who "immortalized" me in the acrostic printed below my blog posts -- writes a blog called My Five Men. (And if you're unfamiliar with it, don't be thrown off by the blog's title. It's not what you're thinking! She's a lady!) In a recent post, she included the following quote from the Guinness Book of World Records, on the subject of sneezing:
"The longest recorded sneezing fit is that of Donna Griffiths (UK). She began sneezing on January 13, 1981 and sneezed an estimated one million times in the first 365 days. Her first sneeze-free day came 978 days later on September 16, 1983."
Hm. I wonder. That entry -- Guinness's, not Betsy's quoting of same -- is a bit suspect. I've always heard that the Guinness people do everything possible to authenticate their entries. How the hell did they manage this one?
"Hi, is this the 'Guinness' bunch? Well, this is The Silver Fox."
"Not The Silver Fox?!? Oh, my! What an honor! All of us here at Guinness love your blogs!"
"Thanks, I get that a lot. Anyway, I've been sneezing for 982 days in a row, and haven't stopped yet! I think my name should replace Donna Griffiths' name in your book."
"Oh, dear. We're so sorry, Mr. Fox, but we can't just take anyone's word on that... Even yours, I'm afraid. We have to verify everything!"
"Crap. Okay, good-bye."
So, how did Ms. Griffiths do it?
"Hi, Guinness? This is Donna Griffiths."
"Never heard of you."
"Of course not, silly! This is 1981, and blogging hasn't even been invented yet."
"What hasn't been invented yet? Plogging? Blarging? Speak up, will you?"
"Never mind! Anyway, I've been sneezing all blasted morning, and something tells me this could last for years! I think I could qualify as a candidate for sneezing champion -- or whatever you'd list me as -- in your book, whenever this spell finally ends."
"You may be right, Ms. Griffin!"
"Whatever. Well, look, we can't count your sneezes up until now, of course, but we're going to send a man... or a woman, if you prefer, depending on your home situation, whether you're married, single, and all that..."
"He or she will stay with you and document the number of your sneezes and the duration of this bout of sneezing, until you have a completely sneeze-free day."
"Wonderful! So, I should set an extra place for dinner, then?"
"Yes, of course. And... Do you have a spare room?"
"No, but I have a very comfortable couch."
"Well, that's a start. And do you allow smoking in your home, in case our representative is a smoker?"
"Sure. This is 1981. Who doesn't smoke?"
"Excellent. Would you mind holding while I get a secretary to iron out the finer details, and get your address, and so on?"
"Of course not. And thank you so much."
Update: It has been rumored that Donna Griffiths married the Guinness representative in 1986 (or maybe 1987), but since I wasn't able to authenticate that last bit, let's just pretend I didn't write it.
Thanks for your time. And thanks for the inspiration, Betsy!