4 Inspiring Stories Of Weirdos Who Just Wouldn't Stop
By Alex Hanton & RG Jordan
There's nothing more inspiring than a tale of human perseverance -- people who dedicate their lives to climbing every mountain, learning every language, winning a morally questionable reality show, etc. These are not their stories. These are the ones about weirdos whose low-stakes zealotry impresses even as it disappoints. For example...
4 The Man Who Has Eaten Big Macs Every Day Of His Life
Donald Gorske, a former prison guard from Pond du Lac, Wisconsin, is all about that BM life. Big Macs, that is. At the age of 18, while his classmates were losing their virginity at prom, Gorske ate his first Big Mac at a local McDonald's. He then proceeded to eat a thousand more of the towering burgers the following year, which averages to about three burgers and two horrible stomachaches a day. Now addicted, Gorkse embarked upon an epic quest to eat Big Macs every day for the rest of his life. He got his first car so he could drive to the restaurant. He got married under the McDonald's golden arches (and we'll assume registered there as well). He only ever ate another fast food burger once -- a Whopper, and that was on a bet so he could afford to buy more Big Macs.
How many smooshed patties does that devotion add up to? In 2016 it was 28,788 Big Macs, the number he needed to beat the Guinness World record for most McDonald's bathrooms ruined. Since then, Gorske has broken the meaty barrier of 30,000, adding that "approximately 90% of my solid diet is probably Big Macs." Even more impressive is that in the nearly 50 years of his adult life, he reckons there have been only eight days that he hasn't set foot in a Mickey D's. One time it was because a blizzard had shut down the town and closed the restaurant (he still drove through the storm to check). Another was the day his mother died -- not out of grief, but because it was his mother's actual dying wish that he would knock it off for just one day.
But despite what such a diet (and mullet) may suggest, Gorske is in perfect health. He even had a medical checkup on Ellen to dispel any assumptions that he's basically a living meat patty. Shockingly, he's probably in better shape than most of us, seeing as how he ran the San Diego marathon at age 53, all while holding aloft his favorite burger. And with his perfect blood pressure and cholesterol, the most challenging part was probably not biting down on that delicious Big Mac for 26 long miles.
3 The Man Who Has 30 College Degrees And No Job
Since 1963, Michael Nicholson has spent almost every possible moment of his life attending college. But unlike your cousin who also went to college way longer than they should, Nicholson is there because he wants to be. So far, he has racked up 30 degrees, ranging from multiple Bachelors all the way up to PhDs -- most of them in the field of education, which theoretically makes him more qualified to teach than the professors he keeps pestering.
Nicholson hopes that with a few more degrees, he'll "feel like [he's] completed [his] basic education," allowing him to "be free to pursue any type of degree." You know, finally do some learning for him. Even more mind-boggling is that despite spending half a century enrolled, this boomer doesn't have a cent of debt. With the help of his wife, he managed to earn just enough through menial part-time jobs to support his dream of staying in school. Eventually, he even managed to retire so he could focus on getting more degrees. Because nothing says "golden years" like staying up late drinking Monster Energy drinks and cramming for your philosophy final.
2 The Woman Who Thought Drinking Three Dr Peppers A Day Helped Her Live To Over 100
While plenty of record-winning oldsters attribute their incredible longevity to weird health routines, none believed in it so rigidly as Elizabeth Sullivan. When she was much, much younger (in her 60s), there was a popular ad campaign for Dr Pepper that prescribed drinking the peppy concoction at 10 a.m., 2 p.m., and 4 p.m. to stay lively and caffeinated. The ads worked wonders -- on Sullivan, at least, who took their suggestion as healthcare gospel. From then on, she drank three of the high-sugar sodas every day of her life, with the utmost conviction that a few Dr Peppers a day kept all the proper doctors away.
And for the type of person who still needs to google the difference between causality and correlation, it did! Born in 1911, Sullivan survived 19 presidents and two world wars. She also remained in remarkable health, with a pep in her step that she attributed to the sweet doctor himself. She even kept teaching until she was nearly 90, and at age 105, she was still well enough to not only drive a car, but also throw out an opening pitch for her beloved Texas Rangers.
Sure, every doctor she ever met strongly advised that she stop drinking that much carbonated sugar and caffeine, but you can't blame Sullivan for not taking them seriously. "Every doctor that sees me says they'll kill you, but they die and I don't," she once said with what we like to imagine a sinister smile. In the end, DrPepper wasn't the key to eternal life, but it was pretty darn close. She died at the impressive age of 106, more soda than woman.
1 The "Naked Rambler" Was Arrested Over 20 Times For Nude Hiking
While walking through the woods, Stephen Gough had an "epiphany," which was something along the lines of: If the trees didn't have to wear clothes, then neither should he. So Gough became a nudist in an effort to pursue absolute freedom. In 2003, he started walking across the breadth and width of the British Isles, stark naked every step of the way. Thus began the story of the Naked Rambler, which sounds like a superhero who definitely isn't allowed in Superman's Fortress of Solitude anymore.
(Image: © Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Unfortunately for the Naked Rambler, it turns out that British people (shocker) aren't that cool with the naked body -- a point that was clear when they loaded Lady Godiva into that catapult and shot her in the general direction of France. In 2005, police started arresting Gough every time he was out naked -- which was every time he was out. But the Naked Rambler folds neither ideals nor clothes.
This led to a ludicrous cycle wherein a relentlessly naked Rambler would be released after a short prison term, then quickly rearrested for getting naked the first chance he got. In 2008, he made it six steps out of a courtroom before being nicked for wearing nothing but a backpack. Later that year, he was arrested immediately after being released for walking out of the prison naked. In 2012, the local police were exhausted; they let him go despite him being naked, just so he would become the problem of the next jurisdiction over.
But the tale of Stephen Gough isn't merely one of silly willies. Despite several judges concluding that he was mentally sound and that his nudity had absolutely no "sinister intent," he was imprisoned for over ten years of his life, missing the chance to see his children grow up just because society can't deal with his dangling principles and he can't deal with pants. And because he (surprise) didn't wear any clothes inside the big house either, he spent more time in solitary confinement than the average serial killer.
In the end, British taxpayers spent over a million pounds punishing a man for the heinous crime of being naked, which may be the most disappointingly British thing ever. In 2016, Gough finally gave up his crusade, setting aside his convictions so that he could care for his dying mother without every trip to the pharmacy ending in a windowless police van without so much as a courtesy towel.