Sunday, June 11, 2017

Paranoia paranoia everybody's coming to get me

My quick Wikipedia review of Harvey Danger's classic 'Flagpole Sitta' – a song that stands out to me as easily the best track on 1997's Now Volume 1 – initiated my deep dive into the song's origin which led me to the ancient form of asceticism known as stylitoe, Latin for "pillar-hermits."

A summary: 
To impress God or to look cool in front of his monastery peers or something, St. Simeon Stylites the Elder – an ancient David Blaine regarded as the preeminent pillar hermit – fasted/pretended to fast for an entire Lent in the 4th Century. Naturally, his monastery classmates considered him a freak who tried too hard to fit in so St. Simeon – oblivious to social law which dictates that anyone who goes out of their way to seem cool will, in fact, seem like a pathetic dorkus malorkus – decided to try a new neat trick: Standing for a long time. 

But when plain old standing didn't work, Sim went even bigger: He chilled on top of column in the desert for 36 years. 

He sat, he ate, he prayed. 

But something funny happened: People began building ladders to visit him and get answers to life's big questions.

And Sim's persistence paid off. While most of monk antagonists probably died of diarrhea or the flu, Sim stayed on that pedestal. Artists started painting him, normal Romans started worshipping him and an emperor sought this dorky guru's counsel. In an early-Christian era where basically anyone could become a saint, St. Sim really distinguished himself through unwavering determination and tolerance for pain. He'd be such a sick Crossfitter. 

1,600 years later, a new pillar-hermit inspired craze known as pole-sitting went viral in the U.S. Thrill-seekers climbed flagpoles and sat up there for as long as possible. Some guy in Iowa set a record by sitting on a pole for 51 days until a thunderstorm scared him.

Many historians now posit that pole-sitting influenced a generation of Instagrammable feats of endurance and patience such as Tebowing, Planking and the Mannequin Challenge.

Pros: Get your own Wikipedia page.

Become a saint.

Become a social media star.

See who salutes . . .

Cons: But no one ever does.

It's lonely at the top.

No sex

'Cept with that pole yer sittin on

Stability - 4/5 Poles, pillars, yeah, sturdy. sure. whatever.

Cool Factor - 3/5 Bitter irony: The attention you receive for sitting on a pole for an extended period of time could get you laid, but your celebrity – and, thus, your desirability – ends as soon as you leave the pole.

Difficulty - 4/5 Yeah definitely. Boring. 

Perilousness -  4/5 Lightning. Angry nationalists who are like, "hey, wehre's are flag? what did ya do with are flag?"

Added bonus - 3/5 Excellent way for boring people to fake enlightenment, depth and eccentricity. 

Overall rating - 18/25 Not sick, not well. So hot, in hell. Not sick, not well. Sin to live well. 

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