by Erik Deckers
American Reporter Humor Writer
April 24, 2005
SYRACUSE, Ind. -- The news was enough to make any self-respecting, beer-swilling Guy clap his hands and squeal like a 12-year-old girl at a Britney Spears concert.
Burping is considered a serious activity. There's actually a world record burp, a world's loudest burper, and even scientific instruments and impartial judges to monitor these events and confirm a new world record.
And to the chagrin of wives and girlfriends everywhere, all of these factors were brought to bear on the London Science Museum on Friday, August 2nd. That's when world record burper Paul Hunn (no relation to my friend Jeff Hunn) attempted to beat his own earth-shattering record of 118.1 decibels, which he set in 2000. To give you an idea of how loud that is, if you stood 100 yards away from a jumbo jet taking off, you'd experience 120 decibels.
Unfortunately, Hunn's efforts fell short when he developed a sore throat after three attempts. Although his burps did get louder with each try, his final one only reached a disappointing 110.5 decibels, which is comparable to sandblasting, sitting in the stands at a NASCAR race, or that stupid kid driving past my office blasting his stereo.
"Sadly, he didn't break the record and had to stop after a few tries because his throat was getting too sore," an unnamed spokeswoman at London's Science Museum told Reuters. "But when he heals up, he's determined to set a new record."
Naturally, Hunn was a little disappointed at his efforts, but promised to return when he felt better.
Another unnamed spokeswoman (or possibly the same one, it's hard to tell them apart) told Ananova: "He's going to try another day, but he's a bit winded at the moment. Plus everyone in the room has passed out from the odor." (She really didn't say that last part.)
Guys everywhere were heartened by Hunn's optimistic, never-give-up attitude, and voiced their own support.
"Braap! I think he'll make it next time." said one bystander.
"You can do it - blurg! - Paul!" another cheered.
"Phaugh! What's everyone talking about?" asked a third.
Representative Della Howes, Senior Records Researcher for Guinness Book of World Records was on hand with sound level meters and recording equipment to monitor and confirm Hunn's attempt. She waved her hand frantically in front of her nose as she explained Hunn's shortfall. "He was under a lot of pressure with everyone watching. But I suppose it's like the athletes at the Commonwealth Games at the moment -- you have to train hard for it and just go for it."
Interestingly, Howes seems to be the go-to gal when it comes to measuring uncommonly loud sound. In 2001, she helped measure the record for "loudest group of people in a single location" for the English band Hear'Say. On September 6th of that year, at Wembly Arena in London, approximately 10,000 screaming fans set the world record by generating 128.8 decibels of sound.
They beat the previous record of 128.7, set on October 1, 2000 by Denver Broncos fans in Mile High Stadium. Howes was present for that record as well.
"It was louder than a jumbo jet," she said of the Hear'Say record. "The noise was the loudest we have ever recorded for a single group of people in one location."
To put Hunn's accomplishment into perspective, his world record burp measured only 10.7 decibels less than the screaming of 10,000 young teenagers.
Hunn chugged an unspecified carbonated beverage and gulped mouthfuls of air, which any eight-year-old kid will tell you is the secret of successful burping. There was no word whether any of the soft drink companies are considering underwriting any future attempts, although they're being short-sighted if they miss this opportunity. Imagine the publicity that could come from being known as the Official Carbonation Supplier to the World's Loudest Burper.
Announcer: When quenching your thirst isn't the only thing you need, try Belchy-Fizz Cola for the loudest, longest belches. Whether you're trying to amaze your friends, impress a date, or when you just want to clear a room, take a big swig of Belchy-Fizz Cola. World's Loudest Burper Paul Hunn swears by it.
Hunn: Hey kids, for world class belching, turn to Belchy-Fizz. It's a big part of my training regimen. Braaap!
Believe it or not, Hunn actually does have a training routine, including spicy food and exercises to force air into his stomach. These include deep breathing, cardiovascular workouts, and riding on top of a car with his mouth open.
Hunn's attempt was part of the London Science Museum's current "Grossology" exhibit (sciencemuseum.org.uk), which overcomes a child's lack of interest in science by appealing to their fascination with the sick and disgusting, and teach visitors more about how the human body works. Features include snot trivia, a display on which foods create the most gas, and even a Rube Goldberg-type device that " ... explores the many different causes of vomiting."
So remember Guys, after you let fly with a particularly loud and satisfying belch, and your wife or girlfriend gripes about the noise and/or odor, don't mumble excuses. Look her right in the eye, tell her you're learning science. Or better yet, tell her you're training to break the world's loudest burp, and then challenge her to do better.
Just don't come crying to me if she can.
Erik is out of the office this week, so we are reprinting a column from 2002 about his favorite subject: loud bodily functions.