Moonwalk With Me

Chronicling the breaking of the world record for distance moonwalking, for reasons unknown

"No, wait," says Brookhart. "There's 4,280 feet in a mile. What's 4,280 divided by 10?"

"No, it's 5,280 feet," corrects Hall. "What's 5,280 divided by 10?" They stand around thinking for a few moments.

Ummm.

After that staggering calculation, Hall walks to the end of the bridge, then counts 528 steps in to the mainland to establish the start of the 1.6 miles. We surround him anxiously, ready to witness history. Morton gives him a calf rub. A few tourists wander by, confused, alarmed.

On your mark, get set, moonwalk!

As he "dances" down the walkway, it's pretty hard to tell exactly what Hall is doing. I ask a few passers-by, and though everyone can tell that he's trying to break a record of some kind, no one guesses it's for moonwalking. "Walking backwards?" is the common answer. The people at Guinness must be surprisingly lax when it comes to adjudicating these records. Hall needs only to have two witnesses; he tells me this article will probably help, too.

By the time we're three-quarters of the way across the bridge, Hall is dripping sweat and in pain. Distance moonwalking apparently irritates body parts not used to such things. Hall's hip is giving him trouble, as are the balls of his feet, mainly because he's wearing old-school checkered Vans. "My calves are good," he explains, "but the balls of my feet -- that's what's taking the hit. It's like, 'Boom, boom, boom.' Vans don't have much padding. I'm taking one for the team for style points."

As Hall finally crosses the imaginary finish line, there's little fanfare.

When I first heard about his efforts, I expected there to be crowds and judges, maybe a bandstand. But it's just the four of us. And even though I can testify that Hall did indeed complete the 1.6 miles -- in 45 minutes, no less -- that really doesn't feel like much of an accomplishment given his nonchalance. But as we drive away in the silly electric car and Hall talks on the phone to the various individuals involved with the Moonwalk for Earth after-party at Studio Z tonight (which will be attended by about 50 people, and be pretty boring), I begin to marvel at the simplicity of it all. Moonwalking around the world in the name of renewable energy is lame, but it's a hell of a lot better than just a Web site or attending the occasional protest. As Brookhart puts it, "It's something so ludicrous that you have to pay attention."

Especially when someone like Hall moonwalks straight through your family outing, in which case you don't have much choice.

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