CPSC: Beware the Dangers of Walking on Water

We here at Abnormal Use work hard to maintain our “street-cred.” We tweet. We use Foursquare. We go to concerts, preferably before you have heard of the band that we are going to see. We watch foreign films that are later (and regrettably) adapted by Hollywood, and we snarl in disdain when anyone mentions the subsequent remakes. However, despite our great efforts to remain hip and relevant, one fad has eluded us, and it was the federal government, of all things, that alerted us to its existence. Yes, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently informed us of something called water walking. Who knew? Certainly not us!

According to this Fox News report, this new trend can be witnessed at amusement parks and carnivals. Water walking is a new recreational activity where individuals roll across the water while encapsulated in large, airtight, plastic balls. While this activity may be entertaining, it doesn’t quite rise to the level of “miraculous,” like that of a certain Biblical figure. Recently, the CPSC warned of the dangers associated with water walking, namely the potential for suffocation. Because the water balls are airtight, the CPSC advises that there is an inadequate air supply within the enclosed spheres required for the activity. In addition, the CPSC expressed concern over the lack of an emergency exit in the event an encapsulated individual becomes distressed. Two incidents of physical injury, both involving children, have already been reported.

It stands to reason that an airtight, plastic ball does not have a limitless supply of oxygen. The CPSC claims that suffocation can occur inside the balls in just a few minutes. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Charles Jones, who claims to have invented the water sphere, disagrees. According to Jones, each 6 1/2 foot water ball contains 90-minutes worth of oxygen. Without empirical evidence as to the oxygen supply, we cannot validate either claim. However, with only two reported incidents despite the numerous participants, it is difficult to envision a scenario where a water walker’s oxygen supply is actually depleted in a matter of minutes. But, hey, don’t ask us; we just heard about water walking the other day, so what do we know?

While the CPSC’s investigation into the safety of water walking continues, they have not resorted to a draconian ban of the water spheres. The CPSC report is a warning. It is merely a lesson that, despite how much fun walking on water may be, the oxygen supply inside your vehicle will eventually be exhausted. If you really want to walk on water without the fear of suffocation, we here at Abnormal Use recommend you start studying the anatomy of the basilisk (aka “Jesus Lizard”). In the meantime, enjoy your rides – albeit short ones – inside the water balls.

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