took to world record-breaking in
2004 after being inspired by a record-setting rally
driver in Kenya. What began as a hobby soon escalated
into an active publicity pursuit. Today, he promotes the
work of social and environmental causes. For these
purposes, the most fitting game plans are chosen; then
world titles are attempted and frequently created.
Wall Street Journal:
Shaking On It in Times Square
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Most dice stacked into a tower in one minute using the mouth: 15
This is the story behind my Guinness World Record™ for the Most dice stacked into a tower in one minute using the mouth.
So you’re good at playing with dice? Great. But I’m sure you use your hands. Try using your mouth. I did, I bled from my gums, but I also landed another world record. I practised furiously at my office desk, but could not satisfy myself with a reasonable score.
I borrowed dice from several neighbours, changed the position of my chair again and again, and I even checked the table was completely level with a spirit level. Yet, I could not stack the dice fast enough. The tower kept toppling, no matter what I tried. I realised my efforts were in need of a little innovating.
If you think that checking my office table with a spirit level was extreme, wait for what I did next. I travelled nearly 50km to where a young man with Down syndrome lives. Scott is locally famous, and he’s popular with families around town. He tends to be gifted things constantly, and he’s got plenty of dice. I was there to look after him for a few days and instead of doing nothing, I asked Scott to help me figure out a way of breaking this world record.
Scott is an intelligent fellow. He listened in silence and then took a keen interest in what I wanted to achieve – stacking the highest tower of dice in the world. Scott pointed to a number of items around his home, suggesting that they could be of use to me. I noted a mirror on a wall as we walked down the passage together, picked it off the hook, and placed it on the dining room table. Scott watched with concentration. He loves timing things, and writing down scores. So I handed him these jobs when I began practising.
We spent an entire morning sitting opposite one another, working with dice. Scott loved the action, he was dedicated to his timing duties, and he made meticulous notes of my scores: 3, 11, 6, 12, 9… But none of those scores would do. The existing world record was 11 dice stacked in a minute. I was going to stop at nothing but the best score I could manage. And that wasn’t 12.
Like a bird, I plucked each of the laid out dice into my mouth, one by one, and transferred them to where I wanted them. I never quite got the result I was hoping for, before each tower would fall amid a rapping noise as each dice hit the glass.
Every few hours, we took a break and I watched the videos of myself to see where I could improve. Watching my manner of plucking dice off the mirror with my lips, one by one, and stacking them with precision, reminded me of ground hornbills. Those huge birds look so thoughtful when waddling through grasslands, picking up very carefully chosen morsels to enjoy. The main difference between ground hornbills and me is they’re threatened by people destroying grasslands in Africa; I’m not. But even if that’s how I thought I looked in the video, I’d keep doing it until I succeeded.
Scott and I resumed the challenge again and again, until – quite by mistake – I stacked 15. We were both astonished, because I’d got nowhere close all day. I know how I managed that. The mirror had helped me align the dice vertically, speeding up my cycle time. I was pleased. Scott nearly burst with excitement, and exclaimed “fifteen” as soon as I made it that far.
I could taste blood. Yes, I’d stacked the tallest tower of dice around, but I’d also damaged my teeth. The first time I’d sat down with Scott to practise, I was in a hurry to succeed. I had pinched the second dice in between my lips and slammed it into the first dice lying on the mirror. Thrust by the 4-odd kg weight of my head, the dice jarred into one of my canine teeth. Pain spiked into my cheek and a dribble of blood ran down onto my tongue. My gum was still bleeding now, as I looked at the impressive tower.
But there wasn’t time to worry about a possibly cracked tooth – or even several. Scott and I had dice to count. I disassembled the stack one dice by one, counting as I went. Scott counted out loud too. He was such a good companion, and I thoroughly enjoyed his company. We’d counted, timed, documented and succeeded at my dice-stacking. And I know it’s good to engage folks like Scott in practical learning activities instead of just letting them watch TV all day.
I sent the evidence off to the world record judges and bang! The result was speedy. It was successful, and it’s published online already. Cool stuff. Thanks a million for everything you contributed Scottie; you’re awesome.
But what’s not so awesome is the state of my smile. About a week after this attempt, I noticed that a cap on one of my incisors was missing. It had been smacked right out of my face. By the time I called in to search for the tiny cap, the dining room had been vacuumed. I was too late!