By Jerry Zezima
The Stamford Advocate
I am proud and slightly flummoxed to say that I have done some incredibly stupid things in my life, which is why I am not considered the sharpest knife in the drawer. And I proved it recently when I was a target for a knife thrower known as the Great Throwdini.
Throw, as he is called by his many friends and admirers in the impalement arts, is in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the world’s fastest and most accurate knife thrower. According to his website, knifethrower.com, he received magic’s highest honor, the coveted Merlin Award, in 2009; he is the only artist to perform the Veiled Wheel of Death; and he has made many television appearances, the most recent being humorist Bill Geist’s profile of him on “CBS News Sunday Morning.” His slogan: “Throwetry in Motion.”
Because Throw lives a knife’s throw from my house on Long Island, N.Y., I arranged to pay him a visit and, for once, do something that wasn’t pointless.
The first thing I noticed about Throw is that he wears glasses.
“I’m blind as a bat without them,” he admitted.
I gulped. What was I getting myself into? Even more unnerving, what would be getting into me?
But Throw took great pains, so to speak, to put me at ease. His real name is the Rev. Dr. David R. Adamovich. He is a minister in a nondenominational Christian church. “I’ve never had to give anyone last rites,” he assured me.
He also has a doctorate in exercise physiology and for 18 years was a college professor of electrocardiography.
“I didn’t get into knife throwing until I was 50,” said Throw, who is 64.
He is so good that he can throw 10 knives in 3.9 seconds. Even more impressive is that he performs with a Target Girl who stands against a board or is attached to a spinning wheel while Throw throws knives that land within inches of her.
“It’s fun,” said Lynn Wheat, one of Throw’s several Target Girls. Lynn, 27, who teaches theatrical carpentry on the college level, said she enjoys motorcycles and fast cars, adding: “I like to do crazy things.”
One of them was being on the Wheel of Death for the “Sunday Morning” segment. As the wheel spun with Lynn attached to it, Throw tossed the tools of his trade. When the wheel stopped, Lynn was closely surrounded by a chilling array of large, glistening knives.
“My mother saw it on TV,” Lynn related. “Her only complaint was that I showed too much cleavage.”
I wasn’t showing anything except the tiniest hint of sheer panic as the three of us headed up to the attic, where I was about to make my debut -- but not, thank God, my farewell -- as a Target Boy.
“What advice would you give me?” I asked Lynn.
“Go with the flow,” she answered.
“Of blood?” I stammered.
Lynn shook her head and smiled. She said I should enjoy the experience and have complete confidence in Throw. “I do,” she said. “And I’m still here.”
She was still there after Throw stood her against a 6-foot-high, 4-foot-wide red wooden board and threw eight 14-inch knives around her in rapid succession from a distance of 7 feet. Then she turned sideways and clenched a black cocktail straw between her teeth as one of Throw’s 16-inch knives snapped off the spangled tip.
Next it was my turn to throw knives -- but not at Lynn, who wisely had no confidence in me. Throw showed me how to hold a knife, cock my arm and release the fearsome implement. My first one thudded off the board, but most of my subsequent throws stuck firmly in the wood.
“You’re good,” Throw said. “Now comes the real test.”
I stood with my back to the board and looked straight at Throw. A strange sense of calm pervaded me. Thwap-thwap-thwap-thwap went the knives to my left; thwap-thwap-thwap-thwap to my right, the closest impaled 3 inches from my ear.
“You didn’t flinch,” Throw said. “You’re an excellent Target Boy.”
Just call me the Great Throwdummy.
Copyright 2010 by Jerry Zezima