Anniversary Post: Karl Wallenda

Karl WallendaOn this day in 1905, the amazing high wire artist Karl Wallenda was born. He is best known as the founder of the The Flying Wallendas. Whatever. I hate this kind of stuff. I admire it, but I do wish people wouldn’t do it. Isn’t there enough to worry about? People die just walking down the street, or getting out of bed, or because someone left a loaded gun in a sock. Life doesn’t need to be made more dangerous! Just the same, how can I not admire people who are so foreign to me?

Wallenda was born into the business. He began performing with his family at the age of six. The act appears to have always been pretty much the same: they create human pyramids on the tightrope. And they’ve only made the act more and more dangerous and ridiculous over the years. You can see a video of them doing a seven person pyramid. It’s amazing stuff, but I want to scream, “Wouldn’t it just be easier to open up a nice hot dog stand?!”

Probably the only reason I’m writing about Karl Wallenda today is because of his death. At the age of 73, he performed on a wire stretched between two ten story buildings in Puerto Rico. There were high winds as is often the case when these stunts are performed. And he lost his balance and fell. You can watch it on YouTube if you want, but I’m not going to provide a link because it is extremely upsetting. Instead, watch him four years earlier, doing a head stand on a wire — also with high winds and rain:

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