by Stephen Moles
Right now, in Canada, a boy is lying on a playing field in agony following a failed attempt at a backflip to impress some girls. In China, a man is on his back and groaning in pain after being encouraged by his friends to copy acrobatics they saw in a martial arts movie. A circle of people in a Parisian nightclub has just opened up to reveal a slightly inebriated and seriously injured woman on the dance floor who, a few seconds ago, decided she would be capable of performing a backward somersault despite having never attempted one before.
Countless human beings are currently in horizontal positions right across the globe due to such ill-advised stunts. In the time it has taken you to read this, thousands of spines have been damaged needlessly. The combined noise of the backflippers thudding into the ground is equivalent to that of a Taliban bomb exploding. If aliens were to see a snapshot of life on Earth right now, would they really view humans as superior life forms to insects if they could see an equal number of both stuck on their backs?
It has been such a long time since I last cried, and yet the sad realization of this fact somehow makes the possibility of the floodgates opening even more remote.