Scott Hollifield: Sacred book always sets the record straight

From the Guinness World Records press release

The latest edition of Guinness World Records hit the shelves – if you still have a bookstore in your town – on Sept. 7 and as always it is packed from cover to cover with the kind of oddities that make many of us say, “Do what now?”

To children growing up in the pre-internet dark ages, Guinness World Records – known at the time as The Guinness Book of World Records or to that kid who was held back a grade as The Genius Book of World Records – was either the greatest book ever written or the second-greatest book ever written depending on whether maw-maw was in listening distance and could take a switch to your hind-end for blaspheming.

Within its pages were the extremes of human achievement and nature’s strangest concoctions, providing hours of entertainment and spirited schoolroom discussions. One of the happiest moments of my childhood came in a cramped school gym one town over when professional wrestlers The McGuire Twins – listed in the holy book as “World’s Heaviest Twins” and pictured riding Honda minibikes – fought two guys decked out in stereotypical “wild islander” costumes who poked at their ample girth with spears but eventually fell victim to 700-plus pounds of turnbuckle splash.

There in front of me, live and in person, were two guys listed in Guinness World Records, celebrities on par with the likes of the world’s tallest man and the fellow who could hold the most drinking straws in his mouth. A-listers, in my book (even if that book belonged to the library and was three weeks overdue).

So, what new marvels appear within the pages of Guinness World Records 2018, the 63 rd edition of the greatest (or second-greatest, maw-maw) book ever written? According to a news release, those include:

Longest fingernails on a pair of hands (female) – That distinction belongs to 60-year-old Houston, Texas resident Ayanna Williams who “was inspired to grow her fingernails nearly 23 years ago, which now reach an incredible total measurement of 576.4 cm (18 ft. 10.9 in).”

It’s fairly certain Ayanna Williams will not be wrestling any wild islanders in a small-town school gym anytime soon.

“Ayanna stays away from washing the dishes and uses anti-bacterial soap and a nail brush to clean them daily, followed by regular applications of nail hardener and a thin layer of acrylic (which can take up to one week to paint),” reads the release. “She doesn’t come across too much difficulty doing everyday tasks, except for pulling up her trousers!”

That means another member of Williams’ household could someday be in contention for the world record of pulling up someone else’s trousers.

Largest collection of teddy bears – Back in 2000, Jackie Miley, 68, of Rapid City South Dakota, had just one teddy bear and normal fingernails. Now, she has normal fingernails and 8,025 teddy bears in a house called Teddy Bear Town.

“Though she doesn’t have any favourites, her most sentimental is a bear from her elementary school that includes the only school picture (at age 7) that she currently owns,” Guinness officials said, confirming that she now holds the record for most teddy bears and can still pull up her own trousers with no problem.

Longest tail on a domestic cat (living) – Cygnus, a Silver Maine Coon cat currently residing in Ferndale, Michigan, holds the record with a tail stretching 17.58 inches. Cygnus comes from an accomplished family. His brother, Arcturus Aldebaran, also holds the title for tallest domestic cat (living), at 19.05 inches.

In theory, if Ayanna Williams adopted both cats, she could scratch Cygnus behind the ears each morning from the other room while Arcturus Aldebaran pulls up her trousers.

I bet maw-maw and The McGuire Twins would have paid money to see that.

Scott Hollifield is editor/GM of The McDowell News in Marion, N.C, and a humor columnist. Contact him at

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