Nik Wallenda’s Grand Canyon Walk: A Dream That Should Have Been Deferred

I’ll never really understand people like Nik Wallenda, the man who crossed the Grand Canyon on live TV several nights ago without any sort of safety measures in the event that things should go wrong. Part of me is and will always be astounded by the feats that Wallenda and others who make the career decision to become a “daredevil” — like Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner — pull off. But another part of me is amazed at the selfishness of those same actions.

To be specific, I suppose I only associate selfishness to those daredevils with families. On the off chance that there is a daredevil out there whose parents are deceased and who is an only child with no other living relatives, by all means: do what you do. This is an important distinction to make. Those without families don’t have any responsibility to anyone but themselves. If they choose to risk their life for 15 minutes of fame, then that’s up to them.

To those who might argue that it’s more than 15 minutes of fame, how many stuntmen can you name beside Evil Knievel and his son Robbie Knievel (if you can even name them)? How many of you remember Robbie Maddison who jumped a motorcycle 10 stories onto a replica of the Arc de Triomphe for Red Bull’s New Year No Limits in 2008? I’m guessing not many of you. The fame that comes from these stunts is fleeting.

So if a family-less daredevil wants to risk his life for that 15 minutes, go for it. For those with families, it’s hard not to wonder how these stuntmen can even consider performing feats like Wallenda’s Grand Canyon walk. In every quantifiable way, Wallenda’s walk was meaningless. He didn’t get enough money to set his family up for life. In fact, he actually LOST money on a similar stunt over Niagara Falls. The walk didn’t cure cancer or benefit society in any way, except in giving Twitter something to discuss for an hour before it moved on to its next mass topic. It really didn’t benefit anyone or anything except Wallenda’s ego.

To put his family — his wife and children sat at the finish line watching — in a position where they could watch their husband or father fall to his death is an unbelievably selfish decision. By all accounts, Wallenda did this for himself as a tribute to his great-grandfather, who himself fell to his death while performing a similar stunt in Puerto Rico. Placing your family, especially your children, in a position where they could see something so traumatic over something so meaningless defies explanation.

Of course, you could argue that people should be allowed to pursue their lifelong dreams, including daredevilish feats. In almost every case, I would have to agree. Yet even though this had been a life-long dream, it should have been a dream that died the day he decided to have a family.

Instead, Wallenda and others like him will continue to chase their time in the sun. Some will succeed at their stunts. Some will not.

We, as you know, will continue to cheer on their selfish actions because they entertain us. Until, that is, we find the next topic on Twitter to occupy us for the next 30 minutes.


CharlieCharlie Crespo (@Little_Utopia) is the editor-in-chief of Little Utopia.

Previously from Charlie Crespo:
Viral Video of the Day: LeBron James Keeps His Head
Beertopia: Blue Point Brewing Company’s Hoptical Illusion
Taiwan Says Goodbye to Manny Ramirez
Forget About Ever Winning an Air Hockey Game Again
For Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat, Defense Leads to Offense

2 responses to “Nik Wallenda’s Grand Canyon Walk: A Dream That Should Have Been Deferred

  1. Damn, bro never thought of it that way. But unfortunately one of the most popular Twitter hash tags is #YOLO so maybe Wallenda is only doing what is trending. This is a time where you gotta take your shots where you can because, like you state, impressions only last half an hour three days. And sadly people have to put best talents “on the line” (haha sorry) just to receive some sense of being and achievement. It’s definitely selfish but in a world where risking your life for a thrill today leaves you forgotten tomorrow will still leave a legacy of over a million views on collective media devices. At least it’s not a story with a sad ending, and hopefully Wallenda’s family can live with a sense of relief.

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