He talked about a several records he had personally seen broken, and some of the weird and wonderful things that this job had allowed him to experience. There were two in particular that stood out for me: a fully functional, road-approved 3-seater sofa that could reach up to 140km/hour *Bang, bang! Chitty, chitty bang, bang!*… and the most snails you could fit on a face.
Yes, you read that correctly. Snails-on-a-face.
What I found interesting about this was not the feat in itself (I thought it was silly and gross), but Chris’ comments about this task. He said (I’m paraphrasing here) the task, in fact, is far more serious than one might originally think.
The snail handlers have to know exactly what they’re doing, as they need to be able to judge the direction the snails would move so as to fit the most possible on. And it can’t be easy having 43 snails on your face.
This is where the mood of the interview changed somewhat. In a more sombre tone, he expressed the loss of imagination in grown-ups, which I (obviously) completely agree with. His view really made me think about what that actually means, though. You see, he claimed it is because children take everything seriously, that they can be imaginative and, well, silly. On the other hand, grown-ups are only silly when marketers tell us we should be. The example he used was the rugby – this is something that a lot of kiwis take uber-seriously, and will go to great lengths to show their seriousness… but it’s really just “a bunch of big guys running at each other as hard as they can” (his words, not mine – I always feel like I’ll be exiled from NZ on admitting I don’t like rugby).
Santa Claus is another example. Why do we shun other traditions that have arguably become null in the contemporary world, but keep Santa Claus alive? A fat, old man travelling the world in one night on flying reindeer, with a sack of presents for every single child in the first world. You don’t believe in water-to-wine, but you uphold this?
Children take everything seriously – or, at least, they choose what to take seriously and what they shun, whereas grown-ups will only be silly when people who can make a bunch of money out of it tell us that it’s okay. So I leave you with this:
- If you’re a child, pause for a moment and remember exactly what life is like now, what you’re feeling, and what’s special to you, so when you grow up (which I hope you never do), you can remember what’s really important.
- If you’re an adult, take silliness seriously.