Monday, June 29, 2015

People Fell Down... So I Laughed at Them.

Spoiler Alert:  If you are in more of a mood to see people fall down than you are to read, just skip ahead and click the first video link and the last two video links in this post.  I promise you they’re worth the click.  For those of you who haven’t completely given way to the intellectual laziness and attention atrophy promoted by hyperlinks, continue reading this highly unintellectual and relatively short post dedicated to adults who act like children. #childlikestupidity

This is a video of a friend of mine attempting to jump and hang from a tree branch.  She fell down... so I laughed at her.  

Why do we laugh every time someone falls down?  The life span of the show America’s Funniest Home Videos is proof that we are completely entertained by watching our fellow human beings take a good tumble.  Here are a few examples right off the AFV Youtube channel

Treadmill Falls.  I laughed so hard while watching this I may or may not have peed a little.  Then I watched it again.


Skateboard Falls.  Serves them right… rebels! 

Skater punks have it coming…

And finally, a montage of swing related falls.

Well, this blog isn’t afraid to join the likes of AFV (and by extension post-Full-House-era Bob Saget) and capitalize on our extremely unempathetic desire to laugh when otherwise able-bodied people unintentionally leave their feet.

What happens when this strange desire and the inability to resist a dare collide?   The answer is obvious… Someone will fall down and everyone watching will laugh at him.

While camping a couple of weekends ago with a group of fans of this blog, I was privileged to witness some truly comical behavior as people fully embraced the culture of ‘daring.’  Over the course of the weekend several dares had been thrown down and attempted to various degrees of success.  In full disclosure, I will admit that these fans are my cousins, and as such they are all genetically obligated to be fans of this blog.  After I finish telling you about their ‘playground zipline dare’ I will let you decide if I should be proud or mortified that I share DNA with these guys. 


Terms of the Dare (if you would rather skip this video, go ahead. There’s a summary below.  This video isn't super exciting but you do get introduced to the participants.): 

Video Summary:  One grown man is going to push another grown man as hard as he can on the zipline (approximately 2/3 of the way).  If the ‘pushee’ can hang on to the zipline handle when it hits the end of the line and abruptly jerks after stopping, the pushee has successfully completed the dare. 

Many things about this dare seemed sketchy:
·      A group of grown men completely take over the most popular piece of equipment on a playground designed for small children.
·      This dare could have been more dangerous than the guys thought.
·      The guys kept upping the stakes of the dare until they achieved failure.
·      They kept going after they achieved failure.

In spite of the sketchy nature of this dare and the risk of injury, I couldn’t resist the urge to pull out my phone when they told me what they were doing.  I recorded the outcome of their dare in a series of videos for all of you to see. 

Tony’s First Attempt:

Boring!  As you can see, Tony easily survives the first attempt.  Giving in to their need to see someone fall, the guys renegotiate the terms of the dare and determine that two grown men should push so that greater momentum is placed on the pushee.  Please note that the pushee changes in this next video.  After watching Tony succeed, Ken decided he wanted in on the dare.  I’m not sure that Ken realized they had renegotiated the terms of the dare when he signed on for this.  I don’t think the guys cared. 

Ken’s Attempt:

Ken totally knocked the wind out of himself, but he was fine in the long run.  We all laughed longer than it took him to start breathing normally again.  #humaninstinctismean

Tony decided that he wanted to try again despite the fact that he just watched Ken take a hard fall.  Why?  I have no idea.  I wouldn’t sign up for that!

Tony’s Second Attempt.  Sorry the video is dark.  Turn up your screen brightness for this one.  Before starting this dare the guys actually waited until the park was cleared so they wouldn’t show kids (other their own… they are all fathers) how to be dangerous on the playground.  We were losing light quickly at this point.

A very athletic 'dismount'!

My assessment of this dare:  I wouldn’t do it, but then again my doctor told me to stop hitting my head.  Apparently a 4th concussion really puts a doctor on edge.  Who knew? 

Funny Factor: 3/5
Creativity: 2.5/5
Family Bonding: 5/5
Danger: 4/5

Send me videos of your dares (naty.severson [at]!  I might just share them on this blog!  As a warning, I won’t encourage danger, so anything more dangerous than this won’t be considered for this blog! 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Oven Mitt Dare - My 24 hours wearing oven mitts.

The Face of Oven-Mitt Empathy

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to wear oven mitts on your hands for 24 hours straight?  Yeah, neither had I.  Apparently @balski78 has wondered this (I’m currently concerned about her mental health), because she dared me to do just that.

Terms of the dare:  Wear oven mitts on your hands for 24 consecutive hours.  You may remove one mitt while in the bathroom.  After some brief negotiation, I convinced her that allowing me to remove two gloves would make for better overall hygiene.  She agreed to my revised terms, and the dare was set. 

Knowing that I was going to begin this dare at 8 am Thursday morning I did some planning on Wednesday that mostly consisted of me thinking through things that would be difficult with oven mitts and taking a trip to Target. 

Preparation Shopping List:
  • New oven mitts – I only have two.  One is completely disgusting and the other is made of silicon and the chaffing would have been epic.
  • A stylus – iPhones don’t play nice with oven mitts.
  • Spray sunscreen – My kids and I still intended to be outside, and sunburn isn’t cool…nor is wearing oven mitts saturated in lotion.  I can imagine greasy paw prints on everything I touched.

I never thought oven mitts would intimidate me, but when I closely examined the selection at Target, I started to get worried.  They were all massive and completely inflexible. I’m sure they would have completely protected my hands from heat, but it’s almost as if the manufacturers didn’t consider their continuous wearability factor in 80 degree heat. 

Like anyone looking for lower quality oven mitts, I made my way to the Dollar Tree.  It didn’t disappoint!  I walked away with two low quality oven mitts perfect for this challenge.

I woke up yesterday morning ready for this challenge.  I got myself ready and put the oven mitts on my hands at 8:09 am. 

It didn’t take me long to realize what I couldn’t do:
  • Online shopping – I couldn’t get my credit card out of my wallet
  • Cracking eggs – I’m confident that I could’ve done this, but I elected to ask for help rather than have raw eggs on my ‘hands’ for 23 hours
  • Cut strawberries – See Above
  • Open soda cans – There’s no chance I was going to risk breaking my teeth for a Diet Coke
  • Use the key remote for my car – Those buttons are smaller than you think!
  • Eat puff corn from a bag – I found a work around for this.  See video below.

My kids really got behind this dare.  They had their different reasons.  My oldest son and daughter made numerous attempts to get me to try to do things.  As any child of a prankster mom would be, they were totally bummed out when I succeed at anything and didn’t make a fool of myself.  My middle child, being the most empathetic person in our family, attempted to relate with my struggle by wearing potholders on his hands. He even played X-Box in them!  He gave up when he couldn’t turn the pages of his new book.  Nerd. 

I also decided to try and a hang poster in my daughter’s rooms.  Who would try to make tape balls while wearing oven mitts?  Here is a 3 part video series if you are interested. After the extremely successful poster hanging venture, I announced to my friend “I’m too good at wearing oven mitts!” so fair warning that the videos might not be as epic as one might hope. 

Before it got too hot outside for oven mitts (#ironicstatement), I took my daughter and her two friends to the park.  Yes, the friends’ parents did know I’d be wearing oven mitts and they still let me take their children (#questionableparentingchoice). 

This panda was begging for an oven-mitt-high-five

After setting up some American Ninja Warrior obstacles for the girls, I took a seat on a shaded park bench where I could feel a cool breeze blowing into my potholders. It was glorious.  All in all, it was a decent morning for oven mitts in a Minnesota summer.  Sadly, I realized I had left my stylus in the car, so I resorted to using my nose to swipe the screen and open my phone.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.  It turns out that I have a surprising knack for nose to screen interaction!  However, my enthusiasm for this newfound talent died as I quickly succumbed to motion sickness due to keeping my face 2 inches from the phone. 

Sensing my frustration at not being able to use my phone at full speed, my ever-supportive husband joined my children in trying to sabotage my day by posting on Facebook that people should call and text to wish me a ‘Happy Oven Mitts Day!’  Who knew a post could be so effective?  My phone lit up like crazy before I ever saw the post.  Turns out there is a surprising lack of oven mitt emoji.  What’s up with that, Apple? 

Life goes on, regardless of whether you are wearing oven mitts or not.  Things on my calendar for the rest of the afternoon included:
  • Driving a friend to the airport
  • Coaching my daughter’s softball team 
  • Celebrating a friend’s birthday

Airport Run:  When I picked my friend up wearing oven mitts she just rolled her eyes at me.  It’s as if my friends expect this crap now!  I’m totally losing the element of surprise.  After I assured her that driving in oven mitts was just like driving in regular mittens she agreed to get in my car.  I mean, what was she going to do?  She could ride with me or miss her flight.  Rest assured, we arrived at the airport without incident. I did pass a state trooper and held my hands very, very low on the wheel so he wouldn't pull me over for being crazy. 

Oven mitts are hot no matter how cold the temperature in the car is.  I think this move made my passenger nervous. 

Softball Practice: Yes, we had practice... and yes, it was at the field directly adjacent to where our city carnival, Height's Jamboree, is being held.  I’m so glad that more people were around to witness the spectacle I made of myself attempting to throw a softball with oven mitt hands.  You wouldn’t expect it, but thankfully oven mitts are surprisingly similar to batting gloves. 

Excuses I devised for wearing oven mitts in public that are a total pack of lies:
  • I have a contagious skin condition.  It’s for your safety.
  • I’m a professional hand model and I just can’t risk an injury.  I have a huge gig tomorrow.
  • I hate your germs.  They frighten me.  (This one is kind of true, but fear has never driven me to wear gloves, much less potholders.)
  • You never know when someone might hand you a hot cookie sheet.  I want to be ready this time!

Birthday Dinner: I capped the night off by going out to celebrate a friend’s birthday.  Two words: People. Stare. 

When I got home my daughter was just climbing into bed.  She looked up at me and said, "Mommy, if you didn't have those oven mitts on I would fall asleep faster because you could scratch my back.”  #sad

Questions for readers:
  1.  If you had to wear something ridiculous for 24 hours, what would you choose?
  2. As always, if you have a good dare for me, post it in the comments, maybe I will give it a try… or maybe I will dare you back!

As with every good dare, there has to be a revenge dare, so here goes.  @balski78, I triple dog dare you to wear flippers on your feet for 24 consecutive hours.  Your one exception will be while driving.  Flippers can be removed for the sole purpose of safety, but must be placed back on your feet before exiting the vehicle. 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

I Triple Dog Dare You, Naty!

What would you do on a dare?  The answer to this probably depends on who you ask.  Watch cable television long enough and you will find that some people will do completely inane things simple because they are dared.  Compare this to people like my husband, who, when dared, are actually repelled from whatever the dare involves. (I’d like to publicly ‘thank’ him for passing this trait on to our daughter, who won’t do anything she is asked to do.)  What’s it like to pass through adolescence virtually immune to peer pressure? 

I, Naty Severson, seem to have an extreme weakness when it comes to being dared.  If the dare is not morally questionable and will not hurt others, I have a hard time saying no. 

Small Dares… Last night while camping, my cousin, after stating it was impossible to evenly roast a rectangular marshmallow, dared me to do it.  In his defense, I had just finished a six-minute soliloquy that basically implied that I was the best marshmallow roaster that the world has ever seen.  Naturally, I accepted his dare. 



This particular dare had very low stakes and a very short time frame.

Crazy Big Dares… Late one night last summer at a cabin in Northern Minnesota I, as I like to do, began shooting off my over-active mouth claiming that anyone who put their mind to it could write a novel.  Sensing an opportunity for a legendary dare, my friends capitalized on my inability to decline a dare and challenged me to write my own novel. 

The terms of the dare:
  • Write a fiction Trilogy
  • The novel must have a modern day setting (i.e. no dystopian or supernatural elements)
  • The story must center around a love triangle
  • Include 22 specific and totally ridiculous plot points (example: the main character has to be a peanut butter heiress who is allergic to peanuts) 

With the terms of the dare set, I started putting plot points together, created an outline, and eventually wrote the first several chapters.  To my surprise, my friends not only liked my first chapters… they wanted more.

Well, I wrote a book. To be more accurate a 87,000 word novel. 

Before you ask... 
  • No it's not published... Yet. 
  • No, it's really unlikely that I would let you read it as it is. But feel free to make a case for yourself as an exception. 
  • Yes, it's a legit good book. 

Why this post? 

I like a good challenge, and I need some fresh ideas.  I’m looking for your suggestions! 


Let's keep this all above board. This is not an excuse to be...
  • Moronic
  • Dangerous
  • Hurtful

This is a chance to be...
  • Clever
  • Creative
  • Innovative
  • Funny

Fine Print:  Like peanut butter and jelly are meant to go together, some dares were just meant for particular people.  Therefore, I reserve the right to pass dares on to others for whom they are perfectly suited.  

So what do you have for me?  Leave a comment below and I might just take you up on your dare… as long as it’s wholesome and good-natured.