Politics Wackiness

Dope on a rope (on a rope): the Nik Wallenda story

Editor’s Note: Other prospective titles for this article, not chosen, included:

  • Turd on a wire
  • Live without a point

Woo hoo! Today’s the big day!! Nik Wallenda will make his “historic” trek across the mighty Niagara Falls on a tightrope. Live, without a net. Without any safety equipment at all other than his wits…

.. Oh! And a safety harness… What?

Don’t miss what happened here: the city of Niagara Falls was talked into letting Wallenda do this stunt without a safety harness; the State of New York was wheedled into allowing him to do it; all of us in NY endured months of drama over the incredibly dangerous, incredibly stupid feat of the Amazing Nik Wallenda; but all it takes is a little pressure from his “partner” ABC and presto! Chango! He’s the soul of caution:

“I don’t think it takes away from the event at all,” Wallenda said at a news conference.  “It’s still an amazing spectacle it will literally be seen around the world. People’s eyes will still be on it. There are just as many naysayers that say I’m a foolish father for risking my life for not wearing one as people that say I’m foolish for wearing one. I don’t think it takes away from the event. It could add ratings.  I respect the fact that my partner ABC and Disney…they want to promise their viewers that Nik Wallenda will not lose his life that evening.”

On the contrary. It takes away from the whole spectacle of the last several months. None of this coverage, none of the attention, none of the hand-wringing around this stunt would have been necessary without the unassisted nature of the stunt. In fact, if you want to see something really scary this summer, why not just wait till the 4th of July when your drunk uncle will attempt to light fireworks within spitting distance of open containers of gasoline while smoking and encouraging the children to help?

By the way, I can’t help noticing that every news segment talking about the “buzz” and the “hundreds gathered” to see Wallenda practice always seems to feature the same group of six kids. Call me skeptical that this thing even turns out to be any big deal in the first place.

To be clear, I’m not at all interested in someone dying on the Falls. Or near them. Or whatever. But how has our time not already been wasted with this whole thing, and he’s not even going to do what he said he was? Thing is: if he’d gone without a harness, one of the better potential outcomes was him surviving a fall, in which case, we’d have ended up with kick-ass video for World’s Dumbest to make fun of. But as it is, when he screws it up, all we’re going to end up with is..

Dope on a rope.. on a rope.

By Tommy Belknap

Owner, developer, editor of DragonFlyEye.Net, Tom Belknap is also a freelance journalist for The 585 lifestyle magazine. He lives in the Rochester area with his wife and son.