Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Ben Pack, Insanely Tall Guy, Uses Height to Raise Money so He Can Show Off

Posted By on Tue, Apr 23, 2013 at 8:57 AM

click to enlarge Really tall
  • Really tall

Virality is kind of a white whale in the Internet world. It's hard to engineer -- though many have tried -- and it often smiles on those who least expect it.

Take Ben Pack, for instance, the 6-foot-10 San Francisco State journalism student whose claim to fame is, well, that he's 6-foot-10. Two weeks ago, the 23-year-old senior made a Tumblr about it, after walking into a parking lot and realizing that he was tall enough to stand eye-to-eye with the "clearance" sign for truck beds.

Clearly, he had something to show the world.

Pack enlisted a few friends to take pictures of him standing next to, under, or above things -- a rooftop awning that grazed his hairline; a woman whose head only reached his elbow; a bathroom stall door that ended well below his chin. Friends crunched Pack into too-small car seats and wedged him into bathtubs that barely fit his giant legs. He stood and mugged for the camera, looking sullen. It seemed like an easy enough gimmick.

Within a few days, Pack's Tumblr had 60 followers -- mostly friends and family members. Then a friend posted it on Reddit and it exploded. By Friday, Pack's Tumblr was the second-most popular post, right beneath Reddit's botched Boston Marathon bomber manhunt. He rose to the top of a Subreddit

forum called "Funny," garnering more than 2,000 comments in a few hours.

Within two days 3,200 people had subscribed to his blog, and scads more had subscribed to his podcast. He'd earned hundreds of new Twitter followers. People recognized him at an Off the Grid food festival. Someone asked to take pictures with him at the Cherry Blossom Festival in Japantown. The fun was just getting more fun.

Not too many people are lucky enough to create an Internet meme, much less become one, and Pack quickly realized if the stars align, it's best to capitalize on sudden fame. He used his Reddit platform to spread awareness about a heart condition called Marfan Syndrome which hospitalized him in December -- it's

a connective tissue disease that plagues the freakishly tall. He also started an Indiegogo campaign to send himself to Japan this fall, where he can stand next to many more people and things that are much shorter than he is, and document them.

He says it's a project well worth pursuing. "Most of my blogs are two sentences," Pack explains. "This would be more fleshed-out - half travel guide, half what it's like to be super-tall in Japan."

So far he's raised $254 of the $2,500 goal, which is a really tall order.

  • Pin It

About The Author

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan was a staff writer at SF Weekly from 2013 to 2015. In previous lives she was a music editor, IP hack, and tutor of Cal athletes.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"