By The Menzoid
Poor Nik Wallenda.
The highwire daredevil will face many hurdles when he crosses over the mighty Niagara Falls later today, going from New York State to the Province of Ontario.
There’s the sheer height of the gambit; there’s perilous rocks and currents below; there are even concerns that nesting birds of prey may decide to give Wallenda a peck or two as they protect their turf.
But who would’ve guessed that it is the Nanny State and all her useful idiots that would really give Wallenda fits?
You see, as Wallenda crosses the gorge, he will be forced to wear a safety harness.
Yep. The “dare” part has been removed from “daredevil.”
Nik doesn’t want to wear the harness and even feels it may impede his balance. Too bad: the safety freaks running the American Broadcasting Corporation are demanding a bubble-wrap highwire act.
Wait a second! The Menzoid knows what you’re saying. You’re asking, “How can this be? Surely this is not the same ABC that used to run that iconic introduction to its Wide World of Sports program back in the seventies?
Hey, no “participation awards” back then, my friends, because there really was some agony of defeat to go around in those days: the skier going for a tumble; the motorcyclist spinning out. Ouch! Pass the Advil and the Rub A535… talk about Truth or Consequences for the jockstrap set.
But ABC in 2012 seems to be more like the Children’s Television Network. We want thrills and chills; ABC is giving us “Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?”
Forgive the Menzoid for being a nitpicker, but a harness completely negates the stunt Mr. Wallenda wants to do later today. If he makes it across, he won’t be doing so in defiance of death. After all, should he slip, Wallenda will just dangle from the line and await a ride back to terra firma via helicopter.
Be still my beating heart…
That makes Nik Wallenda as much of a daredevil as the rube who visits the CN Tower and does the EdgeWalk. That’s where you can walk around the outside section of the tower’s observation deck. You’ll be high in the sky to be sure; but you won’t be at risk as you’re physically tethered to the tower. Oh, and you’ll have to fork over $175 plus HST.
How sad that the architects of our increasingly bubble-wrapped, peanut-free, helmet-clad society have turned their sights trained on the daredevil community. In fact, the nattering nabobs of nannyism at the Niagara Parks Commission almost didn’t give permission for Wallenda to do his highwire act in the first place, citing a 19th-century crackdown on stunts.
Indeed, Ontario’s idea of “risky behaviour” in Niagara today is confined to the rubes doubling down at the government-run blackjack table. That way, nobody gets physically hurt – and better yet, the taxman makes out like a bandit.
Indeed, this is what Janice Thomson of the Niagara Parks Commission had to say earlier this year: “Doing something for one day doesn’t seem like, to us, sustainable tourism. It’s not a good direction to be going in. It harkens back to those early days when Niagara Falls was a carnival-like atmosphere. We have come so far away from that.”
Good grief! Has Janice Thomson ever take a drive up Clifton Hill? Home to House of Frankenstein, Castle Dracula, and Ripley`s Believe it or Not Museum. Janice, that ain`t exactly Vienna on the Rhine. It`s a “carnival-like atmosphere” on steroids. And it`s more cheesy than a bucket of Bulgarian feta.
But beyond this, is it not somewhat disheartening that in our sissified culture the safety mavens have even turned their sights on daredevils? Then again, we are talking about a province that has a head honcho, Dalton McGuinty, who is referred to unaffectionately as “Premier Dad.” (Rumour has it that as a newborn, Dalton actually had to don a helmet prior to being breastfed.)
Ah, God Bless the Nanny State, which so diligently endeavours to keep us safe. And sound. And secure. And, well, bored out of our freakin’ minds.
The Menzoid wishes Nik Wallenda well; but unless he can somehow jettison his safety harness, what he shall be doing today in Niagara Falls isn’t a death-defying stunt. It’s the CN Tower EdgeWalk with some waterfalls in the background.
In the great hereafter, Evel Knievel is weeping…