How To Set A World Record: Here's What To Do (VIDEO)
Andy Warhol once said that in the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes, but he didn't actually ever offer a plan that would make that possible.
Perhaps Dan Rollman and Corey Henderson have: Their website, recordsetter.com gives everyone a chance to be a world record holder in something, no matter how wacky, bizarre or far-fetched.
In fact, the wackier, more bizarre or far-fetched the record is, the better.
For instance, Thomas McGinniss currently owns the record for "Most Trivial Pursuit Questions Incorrectly Answered in One Minute" (24), while Zachary Reidell of MInneapolis has the world's longest active email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rollman, a former ad man who wrote and produced Justin Timberlake's Pepsi commercial, and Henderson, a technology guru, have set aside their successful careers in order to fullfill a higher purpose: making it possible for everyone to be a world champion in something.
The two have collected more than 10,000 weird records from nearly 60 countries since 2004, and have been posting them on the RecordSetter website since 2008. Now some of the wackier records have been compiled in "The RecordSetter Book Of World Records," which is the first of what they expect to be a series.
After all, if the folks who make it into "Guinness World Records" represent the world record "1 percent," than RecordSetter is for the "99 percent" who have no chance of being great at something ... unless the bar is set really low.
Rollman said he is okay with being the equivalent of a "world record" participant trophy of sorts.
"We believe that everyone can be the world's best at something, so our sphere is democratic, participatory," Rollman told HuffPost Weird News. "We want to make world records not just something you're reading about, but something where you're saying, 'You know what? I am the world's best at something and I'm going to start getting world records myself.'"
Admittedly, the bar for establishing a new record can be low, but Henderson said that actually promotes participation.
"There is an element of the participant trophy aspect," he admitted. "People will set records in categories that begin sort of low bar, but then we'll see competition that drives these things over and over again."
Take for instance, the neck-and-neck competition between America and Australia over the coveted "Most Giraffe Tattoos On A Shoulder" category.
Rollman said the battle began when Aussie citizen Daniel Fowler inked his way into the record books by getting exactly one giraffe tattooed onto his shoulder.
"He clearly accepted our open philosophy that a feat has to be quantifiable and breakable and include evidence," Rollman said. "He sent a photo with one giraffe tattoo, but then a man in San Diego went on a local radio show and got three giraffe tattoos, thus raising the bar in this category."
A few months later, Henderson and Rollman got a big surprise.
"We were stunned when we were looking at the submissions that came in overnight," Rollman said. "Daniel Fowler in Australia had reclaimed his world record. He now has four giraffe tattoos."
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Giving someone a world record for, say, saying "Shhhhh" the longest -- congrats to Jovah Seigel of Portland, Ore., who did it for 1 minute and 44 seconds -- may sound dubious and silly, but Rollman and Henderson say that opinion is short-sighted.
"We like to talk about the evolution of pole vaulting," Rollman said. "It probably began with a couple of guys who probably had a stick, saw a shrub and said, 'Let's see who can vault over the highest shrub.' They weren't thinking that it was going to be this big Olympic sport. We look at these low records as starting a whole bunch of new global competitions."
Of course, as the founders, Rollman and Henderson have taken the opportunity to grab a bit of world record immortality of their own.
For instance, Henderson has a folding bicycle so he has set the record for "Fastest Time Folder And Unfolding A Brompton Bicycle."
"It was under a minute," he said. "I don't remember exactly how long."
For Rollman, greatness was a fleeting feeling.
"All of mine have been broken," he lamented. "Since I'm the president of the company, people like to take me down. I used to hold the record for bananas in a pair of pants while wearing them. I had 60.
"I'm 6 foot, 7 inches, so it's a good category for me to be holding, but that got beaten by a radio dj in Australia."
But that spirit of competition that Henderson and Rollman seek to inspire doesn't extend to Guinness.
Rollman said he doesn't feel that RecordSetter.com is competing with Guinness at all.
"People say we're the Wikipedia to Guinness' Encyclopedia Britannica," Rollman said. "We're much more open and we're based on the Internet and much more inclusive. We are huge fans and they obviously inspired this company and project that we're building, but we have a spirit that is more community-oriented."
Granted, Guinness is still the big dog in the world of world records, but having a world record, no matter who adjudicates, can still have some positive effect. At least if you're a shih tzu.
During a recent promotional visit that Rollman and Henderson made to a San Diego TV station, John Van Zante, the PR director at the Rancho Coastal Human Society, tried to help a shih tzu named "Wicked" get in the record books by bench pressing him 35 times in 30 seconds.
"I'm proud to say I shattered the previous record of 30," Van Zante said. "But, the best part is that by the time I got back to the office, he had been adopted.
"Honestly, I don't think it was because he set a world record, but being bench pressed is not a normal thing for a dog and I think the fact that he let me do it even though he wasn't familiar with me -- and he didn't pee -- was enough to convince people he was a good dog."