According to Wikipedia, 'Planking' or the 'lying down game' is an activity consisting of lying face down in an unusual or incongruous location. The hands must touch the sides of the body and having a photograph of the participant taken and posted on the internet is an integral part of the game. Players compete to find the most unusual and original location in which to play. The term planking refers to mimicking a wooden plank. Rigidity of the body must be maintained to constitute good planking.
Here is a video of planking pictures to give you a better idea.
As you can see, the concept of this fad is very simple. Lay stiff as a board in an unusual place and take a picture to post on the Internet. Despite the simplicity of the idea, I felt that I should go out and experience this new phenomenon before trying to tackle the topic. On Tuesday afternoon, Christian (my son) and I picked Kirsten (my daughter) up from school to go planking. Kirsten's friend, Taylor, called her mother to come along with us. The four of us then headed out onto the town to locate interesting places to get our pictures.
As we were driving around, we began talking about why people started planking to begin with. It is so pointless. A person lays down on something and then someone takes a picture of it. Why? I had to ask them why we do anything. Why did every kid in the world have to own tons of Silly Bands? Why did hula hoops ever become popular? Millions of people all over the country bought a large plastic ring so they could swivel it around on their hips? REALLY? The same goes for tossing a plastic disc around. If you think about it, the only reason frisbees still exist today was because of the frisbee fad they created years ago. Let's be honest, unless you have a frisbee-catching dog, they get boring real fast.
|Does this look like fun?|
People from older generations who say planking is stupid may have participated in their own fads during their youth. In the 1950's, youth flocked to the local town square to see how many people they could cram into a phone booth. Why did they do this? I don't know, but I do want to ask this question. Why not? It was just something to do. It was harmless and young people tend to come up with crazy ideas. In the 20's, flag-pole sitting became popular. Then, dance marathons became the activity of the 30's, and in the 40's goldfish swallowing became the new fad of the youth. During the disco years of the 1970's, when everyone's wardrobe drastically changed, streaking became a common occurrence. The 50's saw the birth of panty raids, which were born out of protests against curfew rules at co-ed colleges. Just a few years ago people started extreme ironing, which is simply ironing your clothes in the most incredible places you can manage.
|I don't like to iron in my play time.|
Regardless of someone's opinion of planking or any of these other activities, they are just something goofy to do. Is it stupid? Maybe, but it is not pointless. I spent an afternoon having fun with my kids and did not spend a penny other than the gas involved driving around. It's a harmless activity. Actually, I can't really say that, but I will explain that in a moment.
|The rail hurt my chest|
|Once again, in the chest|
|Captain D's drive thru|
|Over water at Mitchell Museum|
After getting several pictures at various places around town, we went to the Mitchell Museum to walk the grounds behind the building. We thought the museum would have many great picture opportunities we could try to plank on. In this picture, I used an old diving board platform that went over the water. It was one of the few things we found back there. There were plenty of things to look at, but not much built for laying on. We were determined to find something for a great picture. After walking around and being disappointed at the lack of planking opportunities, we came across a park bench. After some of the pictures we had already taken, I figured laying on a park bench would be rather uneventful, but I had an idea. If it worked that way it looked in my head, it would be a great picture.
The back of the bench only came up to about halfway between my knee and my waist. So I was going to rest the front of my thighs across the back of the bench and then fall forward in position. If Christian could snap the picture at the right moment, it would look like I was balancing on that bench in an impossible way. However, as I got into position to try this and was telling Christian where I wanted him to stand and what I wanted him to do, the bench shifted. I realized that it was just sitting on the ground and was not secured. I quickly reconsidered my idea. I approached Christian to further explain what I had in mind and we were discussing where we may be able to pull off this shot. However, I had not really explained to everyone why I had walked away from that bench.
|Taylor on a children's swing|
|The results of non-professional planking|
Despite the blood, we did have a good time that afternoon and I now have a valid opinion about planking. I say that my opinion is now valid because I have participated. Is planking stupid? Yes, it is. However, one of my favorite movies is Airplane and it is pretty stupid as well. There is nothing wrong about planking. It can be fun, it is cheap, and despite our little mishap, it is (usually) safe.
To the people who look at pictures of planking on the Internet and decide it is stupid and pointless, I understand. However, you need to understand this. Planking is not really for the people who are looking at the pictures. It is for the participants. We had a blast. It was so much fun. What is the difference between spending an afternoon playing catch, talking a walk through the park, or going planking? It was fun. Who cares that it is just a passing fad? If you have ever bought a pet rock, expected to be entertained by a Slinky, owned an insanely overpriced Cabbage Patch Doll, collected Beanie Babies or worn a Swatch, then you really can't say anything against planking.