As we’ve discussed previously (like, a lot), dedication is a thing that should be admired. Yes, even if that dedication is to something that seems totally ridiculous, like owning every copy of Speed ever released on VHS, or photoshopping Michael Cera’s face onto a random image every day. With that in mind, here are 10 more people who’ve shown what can only be described as a superhuman level of dedication to seemingly mundane or pointless endeavors.
10. Man Reads Entire (Unabridged) Dictionary
We’re guessing that the idea of “reading the entire dictionary” isn’t one that seems all that impressive to many people reading this. Half of you probably spent a sizable chunk of your pre-adolescent years looking up curse words in one. But here’s the thing: the dictionaries you get in schools, or can buy from stores, are merely abridged versions of the real thing. The version you know contains the most relevant words for that particular year. This is why newer versions of the dictionary contain words like “yolo” or “swag”, but not more archaic words like “sabretache”, “vecordious”, or “grammatolatry”. Words like that simply aren’t common enough in today’s lexicon to be worth noting, even if they’re still considered real words.
So how big is the actual dictionary? Well, at last count it was over 22,000 pages and 6 million words long. And astoundingly, a man named Ammon Shea read all of it. The feat, which took over a year, saw Shea reading the equivalent of a full length novel every single day, and nearly cost him his sanity. According to him, the sheer amount of new words he was confronted with while reading the dictionary made him question if he actually spoke English. It had him, in his own words, “near catatonic” towards the end. When asked his opinions on the mammoth tome, Shea answered succinctly, “It’s a good read.” Talk about an understatement.
9. Man Sends a Box of Porn to Congress…for 30 Years
The word “hero” is thrown around a lot. We think everyone can agree that it probably rather aptly describes Larry Flynt, a “porn mogul” who has sent a copy of Hustler magazine to every member of congress, once a month, every month, for the last 30 years. According to Flynt, he started doing this in the ’80s out of a desire to keep congressmen informed about social trends. This was apparently still a time when people insisted they read porno for the articles.
As you can imagine, some of the more conservative congressmen weren’t exactly happy with a giant box of porn arriving in their office each month. They tried to take Flynt to court to make him stop, only to be told by a judge that it’s Flynt’s prerogative under the first amendment to send them as much porn as he wants. Specifically, they said that the monthly delivery isn’t enough to be considered a nuisance. A judge wryly shut down more vocal congressmen by saying “We cannot imagine that Congressional offices all lack wastebaskets.”
Speaking of which, according to anonymous sources, most while most of the magazines end up being thrown straight in the trash or being sent overseas to soldiers serving in Iraq, some end up being collected in a big, special porn cabinet in Congress, so that they can all be thrown away “later.” According to those same anonymous sources, this big porn cabinet is always mysteriously a few Hustlers short when they eventually do empty it. Your tax dollars at work, folks.
8. Guy Spends 10 Years Making an Alphabet Out of Rocks
André Quirinus Zurbriggen is a man who loves him some rocks. In particular, he’s fascinated with the idea of rocks with natural markings that look like they’re man-made. Which is, well, weird, but everyone needs a hobby. Zurbriggen is especially interested in rocks with markings that make them look like letters. Around a decade ago, he found a rock with a marking on it that looked like an “A” while walking around the Swiss Alps. Right then and there, Zurbriggen decided to dedicate the next 10 years of his life creating a rock alphabet, a goal he very recently accomplished.
To share his collection with the world (which features all 26 letters in both upper and lower case, as well as numbers and punctuation), Zurbriggen scanned them and turned them into a font so you can write anything you want using million-year-old letters formed by the power of nature that took a guy 10 years of his life to find. We can only imagine how annoyed Zurbriggen was when he found that 90% of people using his website are only using it to write the word “penis” over and over again.
7. Man Spends Depressing Percentage of Life Hunting Nessie
It’s not going to surprise you that there are people out there who’ve spent a substantial amount of their life hunting down Bigfoot and scouring the land for yeti turds, because we all know there are people like that out there. The thing is, those people all tend to be their own very specific brand of crazy, usually falling in with other like-minded people so their fruitless search for a creature all science says doesn’t exist isn’t that depressing.
Which brings us to Steve Feltham, a man who spent 24 years hunting the Loch Ness monster only to come to the conclusion that it probably doesn’t exist. This, in of itself, would be pretty sad. But it gets worse, because along with sacrificing nearly a quarter of a century, Feltham sold his house, gave up his job, broke up with his girlfriend, and then spent all his life savings funding research missions to find Nessie. Feltham would literally have been better off spending 20 years of his life slowly throwing his money into a fire, because at least then he’d still be having sex with his girlfriend in his house while also being four years younger.
Weirdly, Feltham insists that he doesn’t regret the time he spent hunting the Loch Ness monster, even though it left him homeless, penniless, and a total laughing stock in the eyes of both scientists and all those people who believe in Nessie. Which is impressive, because that’s a Venn diagram we can’t imagine has a lot of overlap. But it’s still kind of sad.
6. Woman Creates Mannequin Family, Lives with Them for 14 Years
We live in a world where traditional gender norms are slowly being phased out in favor of letting people adopt the Bart Simpson philosophy of doing what you feel like. This is no better demonstrated than by the growing trend of women who, for one reason or another, are consciously deciding they don’t want kids, often to the annoyance of their families, who probably just want another potential kidney donor running around, or something.
Artist Suzanne Heintz is one such woman. She got sick of her mother insisting that she needed to settle down and start a family, when she already had an awesome life that could in no way be improved by a bunch of screaming crotch spawn. One day, Suzanne snapped and simply bought herself a family in the form of a bunch of mannequins, intending to pose with them for a generic family photo that she was going to send to her family as a Christmas card in protest. Suzanne quickly realized, though, that this idea was simply too good to waste on one sarcastic joke. She decided to turn the entire thing into a sprawling art project, which spanned 14 years.
During that time, Suzanne travelled the world with her “perfect” mannequin family, taking photos everywhere she went for a project she’s since dubbed “Life Once Removed.” Judging by her blog, which was last updated in December 2015, the project has either ended or Suzanne has decided to take some time off from art to raise her mannequin daughter. Which makes sense. She probably needs a break after dropping a mic that huge.
5. Man Patrols Cliffs Every Day to Stop Suicides, Saves 500 Lives
Because we’re contractually obligated by the listacle gods who govern all list websites to include at least one “feel good” entry, we’re going to be serious for a moment. Still with us? Okay, awesome. Let’s talk about a man who has saved around 500 lives due to his dedication to lowering Japan’s abnormally high suicide rate.
According to a profile in Japan Today, Yukio Shige, a retired police officer and eternal champion of our hearts, has spent the last few years of his life patrolling the Tojinbo cliffs, talking people out of taking their own life. After having a close friend end his life, Shige decided that he would personally seek out and punch suicide to death, with words. Shige’s dogged determination has earned him the sobriquet “Chotto matte man”, which roughly translates to “Hold on, wait man”, the words he uses to stop people from jumping. While we’ll admit that “Hold on, wait man” isn’t exactly a great name for a hero, the power to stop people committing suicide with a few words is a pretty baller power.
Shige’s dedication is such that he will often keep in touch with a person long after he stops them from jumping. He offers whatever help he can, whether they need money, food, or just someone to ask how they’re doing.
Okay, we’ll get back to making silly jokes now, before our eyes leak all over our keyboards.
4. Lots of People Wear the Same Outfit to Work Every Day Just to See Who’d Notice
As approximately 100% of women will tell you, there’s a weird gender double standard when it comes to what you wear at work. While men can get away with wearing basically the outfit every day, women will be subject to scrutiny or mockery for doing the same. But you don’t have to take the word of literally every working woman on Earth for it. Just ask one of the men who wore the exact same outfit to work every day for a year to highlight this absurd double standard.
The most famous example is probably Australian TV presenter Karl Stefanovic, who wore the same blue suit every day for a year after noticing his female colleague got abusive messages and tweets when she, similarly, wore the same outfit two days in a row. In Stefanovic’s own words after the year-long experiment “No one has noticed. No one gives a [crap].” After hearing about this, a Canadian mayor named Richard Stewart tried the same thing after noticing that, like Stefanovic, his female co-workers were often mocked or subject to horrific abuse for daring to wear the same outfit twice. Again, nobody noticed in the 15 months he walked into every meeting wearing the same “boring, dark blue suit.”
Both Stefanovic and Stewart had to tip their hats to Matilda Kahl, though. This woman who has worn the same conservative shirt, pants, and blazer combo to work every day for the last four years in protest of the same ridiculous double standard. Kahl’s dedication is such that she refused to change even after she switched jobs from being an art director to creative manager of Sony Music. Unsurprisingly, the comments on articles about this decision are inevitably awful, because they talk about a woman making her own decision, which the internet apparently hates.
3. Guy Visits Every Country on Earth, has Countless Adventures
There are many people who can claim to have travelled to every country on Earth, and we’ll admit it takes a special kind of dedication to do something like that. But today, we’re only here to talk about Gunnar Garfors. Because unlike all those other posers, he travelled to every country on Earth as a hobby.
Yep, Garfors has travelled to 198 countries in just over a decade, including totalitarian countries like North Korea and Eritrea…as a hobby. What’s more, Garfor only considers a trip to a country to be legitimate if he speaks to at least one native and comes back with a story to tell, setting him apart from members of those loser travelling clubs, where they count layovers as a visit to a country.
During his decade long globetrotting adventure, Garfors has gone jogging alone in North Korea after getting his state assigned tour guide drunk, watched porno at 8:00 a.m. in an African bar while eating breakfast, and had wedding photos taken with a South Korean girl he dated for a while. After visiting every country on Earth, Garfors wrote a book about his adventures, which features a picture of him dunking the Earth like a basketball on the cover. Because of course it does.
2. Lowcost Cosplay Man is a National Treasure
Cosplay is one of those weird hobbies where, to be really good at it, you simultaneously need the kind of free time only someone without a job has, and the kind of money only someone with all the jobs has. Anucha Saengchart didn’t agree with that, and started a Facebook page called Lowcost Cosplay to show that you can dress up as almost anyone from fiction using things lying around your house…provided everyone who looks at you squints a bit.
While running the page, Saengchart has cosplayed as characters from nearly every facet of fiction, from comics to commercials, and has accrued himself a well-earned 600,000 (and counting) likes on the website. What makes Saengchart’s success so impressive, though, is that he only runs the page in his spare time. He spends most of his days looking after old people as part of his job as a care worker. This means that after a long day of being an inhumanly productive member of society, Saengchart comes home and throws flour at his face for five minutes to cosplay as Frieza from Dragon Ball Z just to make people he’s never met laugh. Say what you want, that takes commitment.
1. Man Spends £1000 Visiting Every Nando’s in the UK for a Competition, Finds Out the Competition is Over
Nando’s is the place you take a girl on a first date if you don’t want to spend a lot of money, but also don’t want to look cheap. It’s a place that sells chicken, but doesn’t put it in buckets, so you feel like less of a fat sack of crap. For a while, they had a rather curious offer. Essentially, at one point the “restaurant” had a standing offer that anyone who ate a meal in every Nando’s in the world would be given a special black card that lets you eat at Nando’s for free, forever. Supposedly, several celebrities own such a card, and it’s considered the “holy grail” for Nando’s fans (who we’re slowly growing to hate).
In an effort to get the mythical black card, a man named Christopher Poole spent a year and £1000 pounds of his own money to eat at every Nando’s in the UK, putting on 15 pounds in the process. It was only after eating in literally every Nando’s in the UK, though, that Poole bothered to check the rules of the competition. He discovered that it had ended…two years earlier.
To their credit, in acknowledgement of the sheer amount of time Poole had wasted, Nando’s did offer to honor the original promotion if he ate in the other 900 Nando’s locations around the world. Upon hearing this, Poole was quoted as saying “I’m more determined than ever to complete the challenge.” Judging by the Facebook page Poole created to document his progress, which hasn’t been updated since September 2015 and still says he’s in the UK, we’re assuming he’s doing pretty well.