7 Examples of Urban Entertainment That Could End in Disaster

Posted on September 09, 2010
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If you've read the article about examples of rural entertainment that could end in disaster, then you already know that living in the country can be a lot more dangerous than you might think at first. But you city folk shouldn't get too comfortable; there's just as much chance of pratfalls and precariousness in the things people do to ward off boredom in urban environments as in rural ones.

That's not to say that you should let worrying about what you or someone else does for fun in the city keep you safe at home with the windows barred and the doors locked; in the case of some of these types of entertainment, that would actually be worse for your health and well-being. Just keep these facts in mind next time you say that you're bored and there's nothing to do, and don't look so harshly on relatively tame activities like watching a movie and drinking yourself into a stupor in your living room.

1.

Parkour

parkour

Running on a treadmill can get kind of boring. Even running around your neighborhood isn't the most exciting thing in the world after the 70th or 80th time. So why not turn your city into an ever-changing adult jungle gym? Parkour, also known as free running, is the art of running, bouncing, tumbling, and leaping around pretty much every surface (horizontal or not) in your city.

It looks super-fantastic awesome when you see other people do it. And in the videos they also make it look pretty easy. Therein lies the problem: the crack in the façade of the activity that makes the whole thing fall apart. Parkour looks easy in the videos because these people have spent years perfecting their techniques. Not only is the average person likely to break bones when jumping off a ledge 15 feet above the ground or faceplant when trying to run up a wall; there's also a high likelihood of harming innocent bystanders. Basically, anyone's body becomes a weapon when it's flying uncontrolled through the air at several miles an hour. Just imagine how bad you'd feel if you tried this out and a stranger ended up breaking your fall with his or her neck. Less injured, perhaps, but guilty nonetheless.

2.

Flash Mobs

flash mobs

Real mobs form when a bunch of people get really angry about something, and in general aren't a lot of fun, though you can sometimes get a free, smash-and-grab stereo out of the deal. Flash mobs take all the anger out of the equation and replace it with fun, giggles, and oddness. Flash mobs have been known to sing, dance, and pretend like they've been cryogenically frozen (in time!)

But here's the thing: a mob is a mob. Get enough people together doing and thinking the same thing, and it's a recipe for disaster. Sure, in videos like this

and this

they make the activity look light-hearted and fun, reinforcing our belief in the joy inherent in the human spirit. But how long will it be until someone decides to make a flash mob that actually performs some of the more traditional "mob" activities, such as carrying torches and pitchforks and ravaging the countryside?

3.

Filmed Pranks

filmed pranks

Pranks are great fun, but usually only for the people not getting pranked. And even though, in some cases, they ruin a perfectly good relationship by making false statements on the Jumbotron at a Yankees game, they tend to result in little less than permanent mental scarring and broken hearts.

Here's where it can go really, really wrong. Some people get really, really mad when they're pranked. Shooting mad, even. And some of those people have guns. Like the delightful fellow in this video clip.

You might think that you're safe outside of post-communist Russia. You might also want to think twice before you torment strangers.

4.

Outdoor Movies

outdoor movies

What could be better than seeing a first-run movie or one of your old favorites surrounded by the sounds of nature (or at least, as close as you can get to nature in a park in the middle of the city) and other people making out?

Well, for one thing, watching movies outdoors is just plain uncomfortable. Our bodies aren't made for spending a long time hunched over in the grass, even with baguettes and warm brie to sustain us. And what happens if the movie is terrible? It gives a perfect excuse for forming a mob, and not one of those happy-go-lucky ones mentioned above. Because when you've got a field packed full of college students and bums with no money to do something better than get eaten by bugs while trying to make out during a movie on a screen obscured by ambient light, you've got a group just waiting to get into a fight.

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