Who hasn't wanted to make it into the famed Guinness Book of World Records? Then again, who has time to have 70 children (breaking the record of 69); grow the longest fingernails (a frightening 28 feet/8.6 meters); or even set a record for the most world records held by one person? (Ashrita Furman holds over 200 records, including placing 72,585 lit candles on one birthday cake -- see it here.)
So when I saw a world record had been set that didn't involve giving birth, growing fingernails, or fire, I had to try my luck. British man Will Cutbill was recognized this month as the new world record holder in the kind of record your mom would never believe is real: M&M stacking. Yes, M&M chocolate candies, those little round discs of goodness that melt in your mouth, not in your hand. And yes, stacking, as in making a little tower of them that doesn't fall over. Literally playing with your food.
His record? Just five. Five. Not five hundred. Five. The single digit. As in, one-two-three-four-five.
Don't tell me you didn't look at that number and scoff, thinking, "I can beat that!" Because that's exactly what I thought. So much so that I went out and bought a pack of M&Ms at my local Seattle store (plain milk chocolate, the old-school version, because that's what Cutbill used).
But as Cutbill says in the record-breaking video below, "This is gonna be harder than I thought."
I tried to approach this scientifically. I made up theories. My first was that the M&Ms stacked better if the little lowercase "m" printed on them faced down. That seemed to work, until it didn't. I could only stack two.
I tried examining each M&M candy individually, looking closely to see if any of them were naturally flatter than the rest or had a dent or small depression in the middle of them. I even separated out a few that did look flatter. Surprise, they didn't stack any better than a random candy. Again, I stacked two.
I tried magical thinking. Maybe the color has something to do with it! I picked my favorite M&M color, blue, which wasn't around when I was a kid (RIP, tan M&Ms that were discontinued in 1995). Right away, I stacked two blue ones with one try. Ha, look at me go! Blue is the answer -- oh noooooo, that third one is not staying, and it's demolishing my tiny stack.
I watched the video again, and observed that Cutbill sometimes doesn't stack them one at a time. Occasionally, he holds numerous candies in his fingers as a stack and tries to get that stack to hold up. That seemed like a pro tip. PS, it wasn't.
Finally, I resorted to perhaps the most time-honored method. If at first you don't succeed: Try, try to cheat. I noticed that some people on Instagram were complaining that Cutbill didn't set his record on a completely smooth surface. I'd been trying to stack the candies on my gleaming, smooth quartz kitchen countertop.
So I tried other surfaces. The tiled counter in my bathroom, thinking if I built the stack right on the part where the tiles connected, they might hang on better. Spoiler, they did not. My wooden dining room table. Worked about as same as the kitchen countertop. A cloth windowseat. Couldn't even get a stack of two. A faux-leather barstool. They slid off the stack as fast and as sloppily as Barney Gumble slides off a barstool at Moe's.
Back to the kitchen counter, back to stacking. Then, once, and only for a millisecond, and with no witnesses because that's always how these things work, I got three M&Ms to stack. And then I breathed or the cat sneezed or an oxygen molecule shifted or a butterfly flapped its wings in China and the walls of chocolate came a-tumbling down. And I never came close to three in a stack again.
So enjoy your record, Will Cutbill. You deserve it. And the rest of you out there, take a pack of M&Ms to your next party or pub visit and bet your friends money that they can't stack five of them. (If you don't have easy access to M&Ms in your country, I dunno, use Smarties or something.) Just five! That's nothing! Come on, you can tell them, what are ya, chicken?
You'll either walk out of there with some fresh cash or your friend will unofficially tie a Guinness World Record, even if no one but you ever knows it. And in a rule I just made up, every time a stack falls over, you have to eat the fallen soldiers. That way, this is a way more enjoyable record attempt than growing 28 feet of fingernails. Even for us losers.