Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Project 365 (83/365): The Danger Creep Factor

.:83/365: The Danger Creep Factor:.

You know, escapology is already dangerous enough on its own in a good number of cases. Despite that, when someone manages to do something successfully, there seems to be this insatiable desire to top the previous act, whether by making it more amazing, more fast-paced, or... more dangerous.

First, we had the straightjacket escape. That wasn’t terribly dangerous, but it was certainly a challenging escape, and we’ve seen how someone like Harry Houdini, in order to really escape faster than normal, would actually dislocate his shoulder and the like just to gain enough slack to wriggle his way out of it. Even without any other factors, the straightjacket is already a revered and powerful tool in the escapologist’s arsenal.

Then, they decided to up the ante by making it an upside down escape. It’s still a straightjacket escape, but it’s more dangerous because you can legitimately pass out if it takes you too long to get out of the contraption. There’s also the added danger of the jacket, buckles and all, landing on someone’s face as it plummets down from where you’re hoisted up, not to mention the off-chance that whatever is holding you up malfunctions and you fall to your death.

But no, that wasn’t enough. They decided to put you in a box, submerge you into the cold river, and let you break out of that after you’ve gotten out of your straightjacket. Now, you have to deal with hypothermia or drowning, and plain finding yourself too far out from the shore or the dock by the time you liberate yourself.

And with this particular performance, you now have to escape from a straightjacket, then catch your parachute, then hope to make it to the ground safely, and pray that the jacket doesn’t hit anything valuable, let alone anyone, on its way down at terminal velocity.

Escapology is dangerous. We can’t stress that enough. Unfortunately, the more people see it all, the more performers feel the need to up the ante and make it more and more dangerous than it ever has been. Personally, I find this trend very alarming. Why are we invalidating our insurance policies for a few thousand bucks again?

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