I watched with fascination when Adam Savage lay down on a bed of nails and had a cinder block smashed on his stomach. I cringed when I saw footage of his previous injuries and heard about the 40 stitches he’d had in his hand. I cheered when an audience member put on a suit of armour and got shot multiple times with paintball guns and emerged unscathed. I was thoroughly entertained.
Then, I started to think about why this show attracts so many people, especially parents and kids. I came to several conclusions. First, it makes science look cool. Blowing stuff up is chemistry. Hitting the high striker with the right amount of force and the right size hammer is physics. Other than biology class, which I enjoyed due to a morbid fascination with dissection, science was something I just tried to get through in school. I never saw it through the eyes of Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman. Also, Mythbusters makes you ask questions about questions. For example, “How tall is the mountain?” The Mythbusters pointed out that the answer all depends on the answers to other questions, “Where do you start measuring? From the Earth’s core? From sea level?” Making these inquiries helps propel us on journeys of discovery. Instead of sitting in the cave, we’re exploring the valley. Rather than staring at the TV screen, we’re becoming something worth watching. Finally, Hyneman told us never to underestimate the importance of play. I found this a profound and almost radical statement in a world that applauds us for crossing items off our to do lists and nods understandingly at us for our sedentary pastimes, but raises an eyebrow at any other activity that doesn’t fall into either of those two categories.
All in all, a fun and memorable evening that gave me some deeper things to think about than I expected. So now I’m off to test the myth that bodies decompose more slowly because we eat preserved foods. I’ll need two mice. One will eat only preserved foods and the other healthy food. Then, I’ll have to kill them…just kidding! Mice are cute and they scare elephants-really! The Mythbusters told me so.
Note: For those of you who have been following my contest odyssey, I will give you two quick updates:
2. This year, I am entering contests on my own and have won two already – a 200K Canucks T-shirt from @VanCanucks and entrance to the premiere of Arctic Air, which sadly I was not able to attend.