Thor Kronwit was an extreme man.  He had extreme, shaved hair, and extreme chiseled cheekbones.  Every day he got up and he rode his extremely light bike an extreme distance of 100 miles, most of it uphill.  He would come home and take a cold shower and eat 15 eggs, raw (extreme) and then go to work writing extremely exciting novels about all his extreme experiences.  His first book, Into the Killer Whale, described his (intentional) journey into the belly of a killer whale, including pictures of what it looked like in there, and transcripts of his blog from inside the belly of the whale.  His second book, Look Ma, No Chute, was an account of his 2-year habit of jumping out of planes without knowing, exactly, whether or not he had a workable chute attached to his back.  If he pulled the cord and it turned out that a raw turkey flew out the back, which actually happened once, then he would just swim his way through the air over to the other guy, who WOULD have a pack on, and he would hook himself up to that guy (strong clips and velcro attachments) and they would sail to the ground.  No problem.

The third book was called Bat Suit Man, when he became one of those guys who puts on the weird bat suit and flies along the sides of cliffs for thrills at very, very high speeds.  But Thor Kronwit was not content to simply fly along the mountainside, no—for there were also OTHER guys in bat suits flying along with him, any one of whom could ALSO be Bat Suit Man.  So while he was flying he would also eat an artichoke, which, as most people know, is very difficult to eat.  Eating an artichoke takes patience and focus, and until you get to the heart, people eating artichokes often hear that small still voice in their heads saying, “why am I doing this?” or “at what point will this become rewarding?”  Well.  Thor Kronwit could tell a person like that that the point at which eating an artichoke becomes rewarding is the point at which you are doing it mid-air in a bat suit flying 97 mph along the sheer rock face of a mountain.  Then artichokes become way more exciting indeed.

Thor was not content to limit his book-signings to regular places like the Barnes and Noble in Winona, WI.  Oh no.  Rather, he would arrange for book-signings on a glacier in Norway, or on the lip of an active volcano in Central America, or on a raft crossing the Atlantic with four of his biggest fans.  It was a long trip.  And only four books, each of which he signed over 275 times.  A shark visited them for a while and he signed its dorsal fin and threw a copy of Bat Suit Man into its gaping, toothy maw.  He was that extreme.

Then one morning Thor tripped on the edge of his area rug and fell face-first into a bowl of fruit and died.  He didn’t hit his head or anything.  Because he could have withstood that.  But you know those martial arts moves where, if they press you in one specific place for a fraction of a second, you die?  Well.  Thor fell on a banana just exactly like that.  Thor Kronwit, Mr. Extreme, Bat Suit Man, Look Ma, No Chute, Mr. Belly-Of-The-Whale, tripped on an area rug and was killed by a banana.   And now, forever, that is how people will remember him.  As the man who was killed by a banana.

There is a lesson in there for all of us, if we could only figure out what it is.

Advertisements