t was The Bicentennial Year: 1976 (and all that entails)! The Country was turning 200! Our school, Huntington Beach High School was turning 70! We were graduating! And we wanted to leave our mark on the world! What better way that to set a world recorded! Recorded for all eternity in THE Guinness Book of World Records!
And so the launch to find a record to break began. As this was one of those last minute Brilliant Ideas, there were limitations to our record-breaking abilities. Any record we broke had to be:
- Fast (It was the next-to-the-last, if not the last day of school)
We had one thing going for us: Bodies! Our graduating class of more than 1500, was one of the largest, if not the largest, in HBHS history.
It took some doing, but someone (s), somehow came up with a record to break: Lap Sitting
I haven't thought about that day for well, pert near 2 score years (2 score is so much less painful than the alternatives). And if not for Jumpstart’s Read for the Record® campaign featuring Not Norman, I probably wouldn't be confessing now. (BTW: If you haven’t signed up to read Not Norman on 10-22 please do. Everyone can. All you need to do is gather a group of folks to read to and register. Click over to www.readfortherecord.org for all the info.)
That day was hot, hot, HOT! (A rare occurrence in Huntington Beach, California, even in June). I remember me and my girlfriends—Valerie, Michelle, Theresa, Cathy, Lori, Myrna, —glossed up for the occasion (Bonnie Bell “Lip Smackers”) in hopes TV News camera really did come out for the event, and hope of hopes, snapped a photo of us!!!
In an effort to look like Farrah, I’d permed my hair. (We all wanted to look like Farrah…or Kate or Jaclyn, the other of Charlie’s Angels) Big mistake—judging from photos through the years, just the first of too many “hair disasters”—so instead looked more like Barbara.
Everyone gathered on the track to break the Lap-Sitting record.
The P.E. Coaches, whistles drawn, corralled us into one single file line winding around the track.Then came the question: How exactly are we supposed to achieve this Group Lap Sit? (Remember this is way before the Internet; there were no How-To videos to Google)
What I recall were many hilarious starts to the Lap Sit which definitely resulted in sever leg muscle strain. In these early attempts “Starting Sitters” (I’ll call them, for lack of a better term) would hunker down then a classmate would sit on his/her lap. Another classmate would sit on that persons’ lap, and another on that persons, one-by-one-by one back up and sit.
By the time the 3rd person sat, the “Starting Sitters” legs were trembling. By the time the 4th or 5th person sat, the “Starter Sitter” would collapse and the “chair” would come tumbling down…Tumbling Tumbling
And in the midst of our “serious efforts” some boy would “just happen” to sneak into line behind one of us so we ended up sitting—Cue the Squeal track—his lap!
Finally, someone devised a plan: In all seriousness, we circled the track single file, spaced ourselves lap-distance apart (several test-sits were required to make sure each of us had the spacing correct, of course). Then, on the signal, with complete confidence and trust in the person behind us, we all sat down thus setting the 1976 world record for Lap Sitting!
Don't bother looking in the '76 edition. We're not in it. (I have a vague recollection that a day or so after we set the record, another group in Japan broke it. Still, for one brief shining moment, We were the champions, my friends!