Capitalizing on Tragedy
Titanic II sounds like a bad movie sequel. Unfortunately, we’re not that lucky. Titanic II is actually a bad real-life sequel, a replica of the notorious iceberg hunter, RMS Titanic, that was responsible for the deaths of over 1500 people and a movie that people only watch the last half-hour of. Would I go on Australian billionaire Clive Palmer’s titanic joke of a horrifying PR stunt? Absolutely.
But what activities could be planned to truly replicate this historic disaster? This is the question that has kept my evil mind up at night, and has led me to another, darker question: What other disasters could be replicated for the amusement of anyone not directly involved? Glad you asked, evil minds.
Chernobyl Bed & Breakfast
Nothing can be more relaxing than holing up in a quaint bed and breakfast cottage off the beaten path, having your breakfast and coffee ready for you when you wake up for a day of hiking, swimming, and overall lounging out. Unless, of course, that bed and breakfast was anywhere near the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Pant in Ukraine.
Since the 1986 explosion in Reactor 4 that led to the evacuation of a 19 mile radius around the plant, traveling to Chernobyl and the nearby city of Pripyat has been relatively cheap. It became even cheaper when Chernobyl was finally fully closed down in 2000. Luckily, the evacuation zone was re-opened in 2011 for tourism. We can only guess what some of the activities could be.
Sight-seeing is an obvious activity. A walk around the area would allow you to view the ancient, crumbling ruins of 1986 architecture. Who knows, you might spy a mutated wild boar with 2 heads or a flying squirrel…with bat wings.
Any sight-seeing hike could leave you sweaty and slightly irradiated. I recommend a dip into Chernobyl’s cooling pond. Don’t worry, radioiodine levels in the water were found acceptable a year after the incident. Pay no attention to the fact that the acceptable level of radioiodine in water was raised after the incident.
Chilean Miner Adventure
Everyone knows of the reality game series Survivor where average people play to stay alive in some unpopulated corner of the globe. Why not schedule a season in a Chilean mine? A group of miners from Chile were trapped in a mine for 69 days in 2010, and all 33 of them survived just fine. The question is not how did they stay healthy and alive by way of nutrition, but how did they survive being in close quarters with each other for so long without getting bored, or worse, going crazy.
One activity could have been the “Echo Game”, where players time each others’ voices as they echo through the caverns of the mine. Not only does it take time to yell, but it takes up plenty of time counting off the seconds that the echo can be heard.
Another game to be played in the dark is, “Do You Know What You’re Touching” where players offer mystery items to others to get them to (SURPRISE!) guess what they’re touching. Unfortunately, such a game may need to get a bit vulgar after answering, “It’s a rock!” a hundred or so times.
Richmond Hill Bumper Trains
Amusement parks are always looking for that new ride that hooks people. Roller-coaster cars have operated right-side up, upside-down, underneath, sideways, and backwards. Unfortunately, bumper-cars haven’t been updated quite so much. Now is the time, while honoring the Long Island Rail Road train crash in 1950 that killed 78 people and left 363 injured.
Instead of multiple cars barreling into each other, there would be only two trains that thrill-seekers would populate. One train would sit idle while the other rushed at it, going 30 mph. With a plexi-glass top, riders would be able to enjoy a thrill that the original passengers never had a chance to enjoy, since no one but the moving train’s conductor could see what was happening. Think of it as a horizontal version of the Freefall ride.
Hindenburg Air Show
To continue the spirit invested in replicating the floating disaster of the RMS Titanic, why not replicate another floating disaster? Whereas Titanic traveled by sea, this one would travel by air. Yes, I’m speaking of the airship Hindenburg, aka that big blimp that exploded.
Today’s blimps are filled with helium and do not have the potential to be the floating fireballs that the word “Hindenburg” makes you imagine. Yes, Sterling Archer was wrong. However, replicas must have every minute detail copied. So, for our Hindenburg replica we will be using hydrogen.
The airshow would consist of an unmanned (hey, I’m not a total jerk) replica of the airship LZ 129 Hindenburg floating above Lakehurst, New Jersey. This spectacle will actually double as a fact-finding mission to uncovering what could have happened to the Hindenburg. The audience present will be urged to fire weapons at the blimp as it is flying through the air, ranging from BB guns to arrows to assault rifles, to see if all those cartoons I watched where a blimp is deflated were true.
In the event that the blimp does not explode but merely deflates a bit, a select few will be allowed to try and inhale the blimp’s gases in order to see just how high a voice can go.
I like boats. In fact, I like boats so much that, the last time I went on a cruise, I didn’t leave the boat for a week due to sea sickness. This led to plenty of time reading in my cabin to see what cruise ships have to offer, but what activities will Titanic II have to do besides the usual eating, drinking, gambling, and other overseas debauchery?
One potential activity would be to hold survivor races from the lower decks to the life boats. Contestants would weave through an obstacle course of water blasts, abandoned luggage, and screaming people to replicate the rush for survival by the original Titanic’s passengers. The winner receives a free drink at the bar to dispel the emotions involved with knocking over small children and old ladies.
Not enough fun? After the race, go find a string quartet on the top deck and have them play “Nearer, My God, To Thee” over and over again, and see how random people react. Be sure to bring a big roll of bills to tip the quartet to keep it up. A cheap alternative would be to bring a violin yourself if you know how to play.
By this time, you will probably have been brought before the captain of the ship and charged with some vague maritime crime like “causing a panic” or “disturbing the peace.” Before they jettison you into the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, try to get the captain to play a game of “I Spy” with you from the bridge. Be ready for victory when you state, “I spy with my little eye something that begins with an ‘I’,” since the captain probably won’t have an answer for you, except maybe “isolation.”
*DISCLAIMER: None of these activities are actually recommended due to obvious health and safety reasons, unless you are a professional stuntman and/or Johnny Knoxville.
Patrick Emmel has been the suject of many nervous laughs, but has yet to be committed or labelled an enemy of the state . You can see more of his work at www.theineptowl.com or heckle him on Twitter @Patrick_AE.