Slavery, Death, and Three Other Reasons You Should Never Plank Again

Face down, butt up. That's the way we like to... plank? Yeah, plank. In case you live IRL (in real life, as opposed to online), planking is a recent Internet meme where folks lie down -- stiff as a board -- in random/usual places and share the photos online.

The trend (reportedly) began in England in 1997 under the much less meme-friendly name "Lying Down Game." Now the meme is at its peak, with every kind of celebrity from Katy Perry to Flava Flav tweeting planking photos. So irreverent! So fun! Right? Wrong. According to some critics, planking is not only a little distasteful but also hella dangerous. (And yes, before you say anything, we were indeed that kid on the playground warning folks not to climb on the monkey bars. But who's the fool whose elbow bone came piercing out of his flesh? Not us.)

5. Slavery. That's right. Some people believe the planking trend's

roots go back to how slaves were packed in ships during the Middle Passage. On

Wednesday, BET's Danielle Wright discussed how slaves were collared to

planks beneath the deck of slave ships. The chained men and women

assumed the same position as today's plankers -- completely flat with

palms at thighs -- so that the captain could pack in more bodies. Check

the below image to see if it doesn't shed new light on folks like

Katy Perry planking across their yachts.

4. Death. What's the worse that can happen? Well, you could die. A

20-year-old Aussie fell seven stories while planking on a high-rise

balcony in May. The Planking Facebook page, which is credited with starting the meme and has 450,000-plus followers, explicitly promotes

safe planking with rule number 5: "Your safety should always be

considered. Properly thought through Planking procedures should always

go to plan. Never put your self at undue risk." Which brings us to our next point.

3. Oneupmanship. "Oh, you planked on top of a cement mixer? Yeah, well I

planked with my face in a toilet!" Congratulations. Now you have an E.

coli infection in your ojos and have to walk around with oozing eye

patches. What's worse is that you have to keep explaining that you put your face in a toilet to make the

Internet laugh.

2. Conformity. You were too late with your butterfly tramp stamp and

that feather in your hair too. And if you start planking now, well,

you're one of the sad people out there. Because when entire offices

start planking together, you know the meme has jumped the virtual shark.

1. Bieber Did It.
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