I can't remember exactly how I came across planking, but I'm 100 percent sure it was via the Internet.
And it's something that synched up with my warped sense of humor immediately.
People laying down like planks of wood in the middle of the road, in front of well-known monuments, or on top of office furniture, on railings or on top of a TV console and then snapping photos of their petrified poses and posting them on online.
How is that not funny?
Perhaps a waste of time - but still humorous.
Honestly, it seems like something my fraternity brothers and I would have done in my college daze - if there were computers and digital cameras back then. Only slightly kidding; we did have a communal computer lab for writing term papers and such and a message system that was the forerunner to e-mail, but the Internet was still being invented by Al Gore.
Anyhow, back to 2011...
It could be described as the Year of the Plank, so far.
It's better than talking about the still crappy economy.
But I digress.
I had my chuckles with planking and did a little bit of Internet research to find out that the practice was becoming controversial in Australia and was being banned in the workplace Down Under due in part to an extreme planker that plummeted to his death trying to plank on a multi-story building's stairwell.
You know when something is banned it's starting to gain some major traction.
Then I saw one of my local "friends" on Facebook post some planking photos and figured it must be catching on here too, sometimes the last outpost for trends to develop, but improving with the proliferation of Facebook and other social media.
One day I told our art director Abby Sink about the phenomenon of planking because I knew she likes silly random things, and I demonstrated by hopping up on a waist-high filing cabinet, which made a nice clanging sound when my bulky frame landed on it, eliciting a few raised eyebrows from others working nearby.
We agreed then and there that Surge must do a story on planking.
But, time marched on and planking sort of got pushed on the backburner.
Yet in the interim, planking began to spread in the realm of pop culture. There were popular athletes and celebrities jumping on the planking bandwagon...even Playboy mogul Hugh Hefner was recently persuaded by one of his girlfriends to try planking (insert wood joke, here).
And then some more controversy arose as rapper Xhibit unleashed some criticism about African-American rappers and athletes participating in planking, as he tweeted that it mocks the way that slaves were brought to our shores, stacked side by side like boards in the hulls of ships.
At Abby's urging, I put the planking story back on our docket and enlisted intrepid contributor Derrick Bracey to find out what's fueling this planking phenomenon, to take a look at its origins, and to see if it is spreading like wildfire at the beach. It would seem our area provides plenty of planking opportunities with its abundance of plankable attractions - both natural and man-made.
To get started walking the plank, turn to page 14 for Bracey's report.
I know some of you will say, "why are you devoting time, space and energy to such a trivial matter when there are so many more pressing and serious issues going on?"
And I say: that's exactly why. We need a break from the depressing state of affairs and we need something to make us laugh.
We've covered some serious and thoughtful topics this summer - from the Palmetto State's lack of hate crimes laws to the crowded GOP presidential field to the slashing of public arts funding - and I felt it was a good time for something on the lighter side.
If you don't agree, go plank yourself.
You may notice (if you don't, I'm telling you now) that our regular sports column, GameFace, is missing from this issue.
That's because its author, WBTW Sports Director Jeff Zell, is off getting hitched and honeymooning.
GameFace will return next week with a ring on its finger.