Several years ago, watching multiple episodes of a TV show was a bit of an ordeal. You would have no choice but to watch them whenever the TV networks decided it was time to watch that show. If you were lucky, there might be a channel offering a marathon of one of your favorite shows, allowing you hours of brain-mushing entertainment.
DVD sets made this marathon viewing a bit easier, but you were still required to go to the store, locate that DVD set, carry it all the way up to the checkout line, wonder how you always end up in the checkout line behind the person who insists that they have the exact change “somewhere in this purse,” then pay your hard-earned money for that DVD set. It was a real drag.
Finally, though, streaming via Netflix came into being. Suddenly I was able to obsessively watch TV show after TV show. It’s great to have that much media available at any given moment. There are downsides, of course. The first would be the giant time-suck this turns out to be. The bigger issue, though, is the effect is has on your everyday life.
I have more than once felt the impact of a television program drifting into my life. When I am watching BBC programming, I find myself describing things as “bloody awful.” I constantly relate things to whatever sitcom I am currently watching.
My latest obsession has been the television program Mythbusters. That is how I found myself sprinting across a yard yesterday afternoon.
For those unfamiliar with Mythbusters, the concept is simple. A team takes a myth that they have heard, then they try to determine if it is possible based on scientific research and, usually, some sort of explosion. They blow a lot of things up, usually filming it with a high-speed camera because the only thing more fun than an explosion is a slow motion explosion.
About a week prior to the beginning of my Mythbusters binge, I had ordered a pair of shoes online. It was a pair of P.F. Flyers. I was particularly excited because this was the type of shoe worn by Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez in the classic film The Sandlot. These shoes were worn in a pivotal scene when Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez was forced to outrun a giant dog that the neighborhood children called “The Beast,” chosen for their ability to allow Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez to run faster and jump higher.
When the package arrived, I opened it up like any other package and tried them on. They fit like a glove and it was easily the best $25.00 I have ever spent on footwear strictly based on a movie’s recommendation. It got me wondering, though, if these really would allow me to run faster and jump higher. There was only one way to really find out. I would do my best to make Mythbusters’ Jamie and Adam proud.
I would test this myth myself.
To prepare, I did what anyone else would do. I gathered up my new shoes, an older pair of Converse All-Stars, and headed to have lunch at a Mexican buffet with my parents. It is important to have energy when performing mythbusting tasks, so loading up on all-you-can eat fajitas and guacamole is a great start. Feeling bloated and full of cheese dip, I was ready to once and for all decide if P.F. Flyers were the superior footwear.
The first step was to figure out how to test the myths. Obviously the “faster” part of the myth is easy. All that is required is running while timing it. The trickier test would be to figure out which shoes allow me to jump higher. I suddenly realized that somehow I gone through life without ever owning a piece of equipment that measures how high I can jump. I spent a fair amount of time dreaming up bad idea after bad idea. Eventually, I decided on a bad idea involving a tree and dirt clods. I would jump up and slap the dirt clod against the tree, comparing the height of each clod. It was one of the best dirt clod/tree ideas I have ever had.
When comparing the jumping, the results were surprising: dirt clods do not stick to trees well. Also, it turns out that no matter what type of shoe I wear, I cannot jump high. The P.F. Flyers did not make me jump higher. I seriously question whether a trampoline would get me very high. The dirt clods were right on top of each other on that tree.
That left one test for the P.F. Flyers to prove themselves superior. I carefully measured out the distance I needed to run. It was from one tree to another. I do not want to bore you with a bunch of statistics, so for the sake of simplicity, we will just round it up to the nearest mile. With the Converse All-Stars, the time was 4.2 seconds, a fairly good time for the mile (rounded up of course) if I do say so myself.
I laced up my trusty red P.F. Flyers and headed to the start line. That’s when I felt something special happening. It was like I was becoming one with the shoes. No longer could I tell where I began and my shoes ended. My wife, holding the timer, gave the signal to go and we were off. My legs pumped and my feet, cushioned by the patented Posture Foundation insole technology, hit the ground and propelled me harder than I ever could have imagined. I was certain I was about to break a land-speed record. I crossed the finish line and…
“4.1” said my wife. 4.1! The P.F. Flyers had allowed me to run a predetermined distance that we are going to continue to refer to as a mile in a full tenth of a second less than the Converse All-Stars.
So what did we learn here? It’s simple. P.F. Flyers may allow you to run faster, but they do not allow you to jump higher in any way, particularly when jumping is not a particular skill you possess to begin with.
Also, do not eat buffet fajitas before running. It is not pleasant.