Entertainer’s official guide to Planking
Step one: grab a couple friends for an afternoon adventure. Step two: bring a camera to document the travels. Step three: find a unique location, lay face down with your plams pressed against your outer thighs and your toes pointed toward the ground. Step four: have a friend take a picture then upload the picture online for all to see. Step five: repeat steps 1-4 as often as desired in various locations. Congratulations! If you have completed these five steps you have successfully “planked.”
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Planking has grown enormously in popularity around the world due to social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook which allow plankers to upload and share their planks for all to see. According to the official planking facebook page, which is “liked” by more than 566,000 people, there are six official rules to ensure proper planking technique.
- You must always lay face down, ensuring your face remains expressionless for the duration of the Plank.
- Your legs must remain straight, and together with toes pointed.
- Your arms must be placed by your side, held straight and fingers pointed.
- You must make it known that you are Planking. Saying ‘I am Planking’ usually gets this across. Sternly announcing it will ensure a good result.
- Your safety should always be considered. Properly thought through Planking procedures should always go to plan. Never put your self at undue risk.
- Every Plank that is captured must be named.
First known as “The Lying Down Game,” the origins of planking derive from the mid-1990’s. However, as more information surfaces about this lazy-by-nature activity, it’s beginnings are becoming a hotly-contested topic. On July 13, CNN.com posted a story about the new clues in planking origins mystery helping boost the notion that planking has officially become a mainstream activity.
Canadian comedian Tom Green claims to be the “Father of Planking,” which he originally called “dead guy” during a 1994 stunt on his cable TV show in Ottawa, Canada. However, according to an article in The Guardian (UK), planking began in 1997 when two Englishmen, Gary Clarkson, then 15, and his friend Christian Langdon, 12, would perform the plank in public places, amusing one another and baffling onlookers. Rapper Xzibit, on the other hand, has his own explanation for where planking began.
“Planking is THE dumbest shit ever,” Xzibit wrote on his official Twitter page, Twitter.com/xzibit.
“Planking was a way to transport slaves on ships during the slave trade, it’s not funny. Educate yourselves,” he later tweeted, before continuing: “Don’t get it twisted. I care less where your dumb asses lay face down and take pictures of the shit, I’m just telling you where it came from.”
Regardless of the origins of planking, one thing is certain, it wasn’t until recently that planking became a world-wide phenomenon. The rapid gain in popularity is most likely attributed to seven English hospital employees who were suspended for planking while at work in 2009, back then it was still known as the Lying Down Game. It wasn’t until March 2011 when English rugby player David “Wolfman” Williams planked as a celebration that the fad exploded as a mainstream activity. According to an ESPN.com article debating the “sport” of planking, Don Caldwell, the senior reporter for Know Your Meme, which tracks all sorts of Internet trends, pointed to the rugby celebration as the moment planking became a mainstream trend.
As more major news outlets research and report on the new fad, planking’s popularity is sky-rocketing. However, just because it is a popular activity does not mean it is performed without risk. Because plankers can be awarded unofficial “points” for the uniqueness of a plank, plankers are encouraged to plank in risky or highly-unique places. This could then lead to arrests, like a 20-year-old man from Queensland, Australia who was arrested after planking on the roof of a police car, or even death.
On May 16, two months after Williams’ celebratory plank, the planking craze claimed it’s first victim. 20-year-old Australian man Acton Beale fell seven stories from the balcony of a block of flats in Brisbane, Queensland, after he tried to plank on some railings. Witnesses said Beale had been preparing to lie on a balcony rail after a night out partying with friends when he fell to his death.
If you choose to plank you must remember these three key components. First, and foremost, be safe. Second, make sure to document and name your plank and then share for all to see. Third, be unique and have fun. If you can remember these three things you are ready to plank; now go lie face-down somewhere.
Photos courtesy Fiona Shields, Chicks with Guns Magazine and salzburger.land via Flickr. Video courtesy tomgreendotcom via YouTube.