Groucho Marx once said “any club that would have me as a member, I wouldn’t want to join”. Whether he was trying to be witty or simply covering up for a socially crippling flatulence problem is lost to history but whatever he meant, there are some societies that you definitely wouldn’t want to set out and become a member of.
“Another Friday night alone. Curse these ill winds of mine.”
The Shuttlecock Club
The Shuttlecock club is an exclusive society for anyone who has crashed on the Cresta Run in Switzerland. And survived. That second part of the membership criteria might sound like an obvious one but the Cresta Run is one of the most dangerous things a human being can do short of actually committing suicide. At times the gradient of the course is 1:2.8, which is nearly a 45° slope and riders can reach an average speed of around 50 mph as they hurtle face first off the side of a mountain.
Of the 206 bones in the human body, 205 have been broken on the Cresta Run.
Members of the Shuttlecock Club describes going over the top of the embankment as being “more like falling out of an aircraft than anything else.” Bearing in mind the Cresta Run is operated by the Cresta Club, which if largely formed from the officers of the Army, Royal Navy and R.A.F, so if anybody can give an accurate description of falling out of a plane, it’s them.
Speaking of which…
The Ejection Tie Club
Not to be outdone by a bunch of toboganners Air Force Pilots around the world who have ejected from a fighter jet, and therefore actually did fall out of a plane, have their own exclusive club. Founded by Sir James Martin of ejector seat manufacturers Martin-Baker the Ejection Tie Club rewards pilots from air forces around the world who have looked death in the face then blasted off in a chair with… a tie. While this may sound to be quite a simple membership rule, just remember the figures involved in this action. When ejecting from a plane a pilot is literally seconds from becoming a smooth paste on the ground, which is terrifying enough but the sheer force of the seat itself firing is enough to break your neck if you look down, exerting nearly 30Gs on the pilot as he takes off. Then there’s the landing to worry about. Pilots routinely break their ankles landing from an ejection, and even in these practice runs the pilots make a less than gentle return to Earth.
Whoever chose ‘Song 2’ by Blur as the music is clichÃ©d, but a genius nonetheless.
All just to get a tie and a lapel pin.
No thanks, I’ll just undo my top button if that’s okay with you.
The Association of Dead People
In 1976 Indian man Lal Bihari applied for a bank loan but was turned down due to the fact that he was dead. Despite Mr. Bihari’s repeated cries to the contrary, and also despite being very much NOT DEAD, he had been declared deceased by his Uncle, who did so in order to gain ownership of his nephew’s land. Discovering around 100 people in the same boat as himself he founded the Association of Dead People in order to campaign for an easier process of reversing a death certificate.
This of course being the boat they were all in.
Unfortunately this process did not come and Lal Bihari was not declared alive again until 1994, 5 years after he ran for the General Election and was accepted as a candidate and 18 years after he was originally informed of his death.
Despite his resurrection, Lal carries on the good fight. In 2004 the Association of Dead People had around 20,000 members. Four of which had been successfully declared alive by that time.
The World Association of Ugly People
The membership criteria of the other three clubs in this list are either completely avoidable or (eventually) reversible but not this one. As terrible rapper and prolific pimper of rides Xzibit once said; “Beauty is only skin deep but ugly goes right to the bone” and the World Association of Ugly People would only agree.
Theres no need for that Xzibit, I didn’t mean to make you feel bad, but someone had to say something eventually.
The WAUP, or Club dei Brutti in its native Italy see ugliness as a disability and campaign against the discrimination of ugly people in the workplace. Furthermore they also help ugly people accept their ugliness, get over their fears and even find love for the most hideously afflicted.
I was going to put a picture of an ugly person here but this was much, much funnier.
So if you don’t fancy the closest thing to falling out of a plane, actually falling out of a plane, being declared dead for two decades or being so ugly you’re considered disabled, better give these clubs a miss.