Planking is an activity where the person lies on the ground or across an object, arms straight at their side with palms flat and facing inward, toes pointed, and body as stiff as a wooden board and facing downward. It is typically done in a funny or unusual place to create a unique photograph of the planking. A picture is taken and posted online.
It began in the 1930’s, a fad so bizarre; some mistakenly believe it to be an urban legend. Goldfish swallowing, where a live goldfish is swallowed, started in the mid 1939 and sizzled out a few months later. Few fads can be traced back to one person but the origination of goldfish swallowing is well documented. It began with a single man.
On July 5, 1799, a Friday evening at 7 o’clock, a naked man was arrested at the Mansion House in London. He was promptly arrested and upon questioning, admitted to authorities that he had accepted a wager of 10 guineas to run naked from Cornhill to Cheapside. Streaking was by no means a novel idea when it became a fad in the 1970’s.
In the spring of 1935, the United States was caught up in a chain letter frenzy. The chain letter craze clogged up postal offices nearly shutting down operations in several locations. Denver restaurant owner A. McVittle received 2,363 copies of the letter in just two days – April 26 and April 27. Public officials were enraged and vowed to catch the originator of the chain letter scheme and prosecute them in federal court.
The Roaring Twenties saw an odd but not new spectacle of “flagpole sitting”. Pole sitting is the act of sitting on a pole, typically a flagpole, for as long as possible. Sometimes a small platform is placed at the top of the pole but often the pole sitter rests upon the pole unassisted.