It's something out of Faces of Death, only it comes under the weight of a stock-still realization that the doomed are utterly helpless. The camera's distance--it's just as chilling to put yourself into the shoes of whoever recorded this, knowing full well that you're too far out of range to be of any real help--makes it something all the more haunting. It's a genuine day/week ruiner.
By now you've maybe seen this video. (If you haven't, and are now watching, fair warning: It is disturbing.) Reportedly shot near Dombai, a ski resort town close to the Georgian border, it follows a couple bumbling down a bunny hill in a large, inflatable plastic sphere, a tourist-y thrill activity known as zorbing. As the ball begins to swerve--at one point, we see a spectator nudge the transparent globe back on track (can you imagine what he's feeling right now?--you suddenly get the sense that, Oh. Oh, shit. This simply cannot end well. And the onlookers, particularly those whose attempts to stop the speeding sphere did nothing in the end, know it, too. The final shot shows the Zorb tumbling off the side of the mountain. The incident was fatal.
There are maybe only two or three other caught-on-video's that have made my stomach sink to such soured depths that this thing has. "Rarely do things on the internet leave me with my mouth hanging open," one commenter wrote, "but this was horrifying. The escalation from a playful outing on the mountain to, from what I gather, death, is chilling." I simply have not been able to shake it. How there wasn't a rip chord on this thing to break the potential of a fatal tumble is beyond me.
I don't know. People are crazy. Maybe it's time for Russia to rethink its decision earlier last year to make Zorb's symbols of a "new Russia" in light of the 2014 Winter Olympic games in Sochi, no?
Reach Brian at email@example.com. @thebanderson