I'm sitting at the bar top of Molly McGee's, enjoying the "Boardwalk Burger." You know, the one with pineapple and bacon. Man, I love pineapple. Tastes good on everything.
Anyway, I look up into the mirror behind the bar, and I see the reflection of what's on the big-screen TV. Some kids are doing skateboard tricks. I figure to be on TV, it must be an awfully good trick, so I watch. The kid jumps off a stairway and glides halfway down a rail with his skateboard sideways. So far, I'm impressed.
Suddenly, he spills, and falls face first. He gets up, and his arm swings where it isn't supposed to swing. One of the kids goes, "Dude, you just dislocated it." Another more enlightened skater says, "Man, you can't dislocate the middle of your forearm!"
The pineapple in my mouth doesn't taste as good anymore. And the bacon ... I don't like the crunch.
It just so happens I was dining while one of my favorite programs was on FoxSports. It's called "You Gotta See This." The format of the show is simple: video footage of sporting accidents that are so awful they make your stomach turn. Sadly, the program is now playing at 12:30 a.m. on channel 50, so if I want to get grossed out, I can no longer do it at dinner time. But it makes for fun viewing if you're out at a bar.
Essentially, the show is a more medieval version of "America's Funniest Home Videos." That series was great too, for a while. There were a lot of funny scenes of dads getting hit in the groin with stray baseball bat swings. But the show lost its appeal when Bob Saget became way too annoying as host. The only thing viewers wanted to see was Saget getting hit in the junk with a barrage of baseball bats. To my knowledge, that never happened, and the series died.
I contacted Jeff Yarbrough, the supervising producer of "You Gotta See This." Part of his job is to screen all the videos that are sent to Fox's studio in Santa Monica, Calif. Not an easy task the company received 13,000 submissions last year.
"The video I'm most sick of seeing," Yarbrough says, "is roller bladers without helmets on, bashing their heads into the concrete. I see that daily."
And I thought I had a good job. Yarbrough gets paid to watch people fracture their own skulls. He also has to judge what is suitable for the viewing audience.
"A lot of the stuff we get is too violent to air," he says. "The injury will be incredibly grotesque, like, we'll have a guy with his bone sticking out of his leg, or there will be an eye put out. Heck, I've seen entire limbs severed.
"The show isn't meant to gross people out, we just want to make people jump."
Reminds me of something House of Pain used to sing. I asked what he does with the material that's too disturbing for the general viewing public. Yarbrough currently is working on a video called "Too Hot For Fox." He claims it will include all the stuff that's good video but too rough for the show. Oh, and lots of nudity. Nudity?
"I don't know what it is, but we get a lot of stuff sent to us that has people participating in just about every sport naked," he explains. "We get it all, from naked base jumping to naked tackle football."
I'm hoping this video will be available by Christmas and my Mom reads this column.
Meanwhile, if you have the misfortune of having your awful sports injury caught on tape, you can send it to the show. For more information, call (877) YGST-FOX. You might recoup some of the money lost on medical bills. The show pays as low as $50 for bad footage shaky camerawork, poor audio quality, etc. to a couple thousand for the well-shot accidents.
"One thing that has blown me away is the younger community, the skate rats, the BMXers," Yarbrough says. "They live their lives on camera. They're like Madonna. They videotape everything they do. They get so good at it that they know good angles versus bad angles. For example, if a 35-year-old happens to videotape a car explosion, he'll immediately jump, shake the camera around in panic and then remember he's filming and steady out. If a young guy sees the same explosion, he'll not only stay right on it, he'll slowly zoom in."
"You Gotta See This" has been picked up for a third season by FoxSports. Fans that e-mail the show have said the best part is the funny clips. Audiences also enjoy the follow-up stories to the people involved in the mishaps. The producers plan on giving the viewers more of what they want. Yarbrough will continue delving through stacks of videotapes to find the best footage for the show. Don't worry about him, though, he's desensitized by now.
"The only thing that allows me to see what is good and what is bad is my professionalism," he says. "Now, every time I see a guy with a bone sticking out of his leg, I just say, 'Wow, another guy with a bone sticking out of his leg. Oh well.'"