Strength Stunts: Ripping Phone Books

Posted: January 15, 2011 in Strength Stunts

If you’ve watched any of my videos, you may have seen me do some silly stuff.  Bending nails and spikes.  Throwing and catching cinderblocks.  You know, doing things that most people find, at best, to be a bizarre curiosity.  Well, I’ve been working on a new one of late, and that’s ripping phone books.  Oh, yeah.  Hide ’em if you want to keep them safe from me.  I have a new insane obsession.

Now, I think phone books are altogether outmoded.  I find people’s numbers using this thing they call the Internet.  That said, I was once indignant when one would be left in front of my door.  Not so today.  Today, when I see a phone book, I see a challenge, a moment’s fun.  I WANT the phone company to lavish me with their previously unwanted attentions.

Up to, let’s say, two months ago, I would generally protest that, though I was able to bend nails and do some other wild stuff, I was no good at ripping things.  Well, I kept at it, and by the by, I’ve become a bit more skilled.  The smaller books, the ones with only three or four hundred pages, are quite easy for me now.  I have, on three occasions, been able to rip the bit 1240 page Salt Lake City yellow pages.  The last one, which happened yesterday, was the easiest.  There was no thumb pain, no aching shoulder, and no sudden sweat involved.

What changed?  Well, technique, for one thing.  Turns out, there’s a few tricks involved.  Is it super easy?  No, not with the big books.  With the smaller ones, most people with reasonable hand/wrist strength could do it, though.  Is it a trick?  Well, that depends on who you ask.  It is not, insofar as I do rip the phone books with just my hands, and they’re not tampered with in any way.  It is, in terms of the fact that it’s a little bit more than simply grabbing the books and ripping, like you might do with your junk mail.  I don’t consider the fact that there’s technique involved in doing it should immediately cause it to be dismissed.  Is it as “true” a test as bending a 60D nail?  Maybe not.  Steel don’t lie.  Is it fun, and a great tool to test your pinching grip?  Oh, you betcha.  Besides, you didn’t need that phone book, anyway.  Oh, you did?  Er…sorry.

Anyway, I’ll probably be making a video of ripping when I get a little more confident with the big books.  If you want to see something before then, there’s a lot of videos on the net already.  My advice is to start with a skinny white pages and slowly work up.  As with all the other strength stunts, it can hurt at first.  Take it slow and let your body recover for  a few days between rips.  If you’re only finding big phone books, pull them into two or three parts along the binding and rip them piece by piece.  Gradually work up to trying the whole thing at once.  It’s a pretty fun stunt to pull at a party, or during your fifteen minute break at work.

Stunt Well, and Stunt Safely!

Update: I just managed to rip a 1600 page phone book last night.  I also managed to rip the remainder across the spine, or “quarter” the phone book, which was pretty darned neat!   Caveman Jim 1/19/11


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