I am going to go out on a very short sporting limb and say that Urban Kayaking will not be admitted as a new event in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Not that I am surprised, nor that I care, but what does concern me is this: In the first installment of Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring, did or did not Frodo affectionately stroke Sam's cheek in the canoe after that fat Astin nearly drowned himself at the end of the flick during its original theatrical run? Because in all the DVD versions I have since watched this scene is nowhere to be seen.
My wife and one other dearly departed friend that was with us that night claim to have witnessed Frodo's questionably ticklish "cheek stroke" as well, so I know I'm not entirely crazy and alone in this—unless, of course, it was a cinemacabre event of mass hysteria isolated to one theater in Burbank, California, on the film's opening weekend. Stranger things have happened, I suppose, two of which I'll now mention, because they too would have been on my hit list of pop-culture events that may or may not have actually occurred had they not been later confirmed.
The first: Did I really witness "athletes" in the very first Extreme Games of 1995—before the word "extreme" was deemed to be incredibly annoying and overused, much like "fail" and "epic" are now (and actually have been for some time)—competing in an interpretive bungee jumping event that included one fellow plunging and springing about while seated in a kayak? The answer, astoudingly, is yes, and verified not long ago by Erik Roner. Up until then I was convinced I'd completely imagined it while trying to tune out the lot of street luge boobs who were busy driving as many last nails as possible into the EXTREME! coffin.
The other, another seemingly impossible occurrence in a galaxy far, far way (though much easier to validate since the arrival of the Interweb, much to George Lucas's dismay I'm sure), was the Great Star Wars Thanksgiving Holiday Debacle of 1978. This special aired one time and one time only and was so obscenely bad it almost has to be seen to be believed if it just wasn't so goddamned unbearable to watch. For the sake of comparison, let's just say it makes Hayden Christensen's Anakin look like Sir Laurence Olivier's Hamlet (sadly, not even the power of 3D will be able to add any iota of dimension to that boy's poorformance).
This concludes our impromptu and relatively sad ruminations of a middle-aged nerd.
(Photo by Sean Cliver; Portland, Oregon 2000)