Worlds Tallest Man Weds, Scours Earth With Cobalt Bomb

National Geographic reports on the wedding of the world’s tallest man, Bao Xishun, to Xia Shujuan, in the north Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China:

Xishun, 56, is a herdsman who towers 7 feet, 9 inches (2.4 meters). He is listed as Earth’s tallest man in the Guinness World Records and won fame in 2006 when his long arms saved a dolphin’s life.

In his global search for a wife, Xishun ended up marrying a woman from his hometown—who was nearly half his age and more than two feet shorter, Reuters reported.

(…she’d almost have to be more than two feet shorter than him, wouldn’t she?) — I remember reading about Xishun’s saving the dolphins late last year and remembering how fascinated I was by the Guinness Book of World Records as a kid. I liked everything about the human “oddities,” that is to say, people who didn’t fit the template. I also loved the weird science. I loved the biggest things, especially the biggest weapons, the biggest horrors, the greatest and most terrifying disasters.

That made me remember (and this story made me remember again) how profoundly disturbed I was, at a very young age, when I read in the Guinness Book about the most destructive weapon ever proposed, the cobalt-salted bomb designed by the Soviets, capable of destroying life on Earth with a single detonation. I was even more disappointed when years later I looked through Guinness and found nothing — nothing! — not a single mention of the doomsday bomb. I even went so far as to dig up a 1977 edition at a used bookstore, and there it was: Escape from the Planet of the Apes, for real, or at least for planned-out, Soviet style.

I don’t know if it was in the Reagan years or after, but apparently Guinness decided it was too disturbing to have unreal doomsday bombs in the book, sort of like having unicorns in the science museum, only with more cobalty goodness. “Who knows?” they must have thought; “It might give little kids nightmares.” Ya think?

Thanks a lot for considering that in 1984, fuckfaces, I’ve got a heap of sleepless nights between 1972 and now to thank you for, you and the Pentagon and the Kremlin and General Electric; thank God we won the Cold War, or things might really suck.

Now, my 1977 edition of Guiness seems to have vanished under the bed, behind the desk, who the fuck knows? Luckily there’s Wikipedia, and all its freaky disturbing shit about WMDs, especially the whole Nerve Agent Series, which made me think for some time last fall that reading Wikipedia alone could prevent me from ever sleeping again.

It’s 2:23am, incidentally, and Wikipedia is not to blame on this particular sleepless night; au contraire, this time I blame WordPress.

Congratulations to Bao Xishun and Xia Shujuan, and everyone who didn’t get killed by a cobalt bomb in the eighties. Sometimes it’s the little things.

Photos: Robert Wadlow, the tallest man on record, and his brother, from Wikipedia. Robert Wadlow died 67 years ago this past Sunday. And Fat Man, top, the fattest man on record.

Cold War kids were hard to kill, under our desks in air raid drills.

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