If, over Memorial Day weekend, you felt something strange and inexplicable — a shift in the air, a barely perceptible rumbling in the ground — you weren’t imagining things: a new Wife Guy has emerged.
For those blessedly offline enough to be unfamiliar with the concept, the Outline recently defined Wife Guys as guys who have “done something which involves a wife, whether their own or someone else’s” on the internet which, “when discovered, will be widely discussed online.” This is usually a cause of great celebration for everyone besides the Wife Guy. As Twitter user @i_zzzzzz put it, “the best days on the internet are the ones where you can refer to ‘the wife guy’ and everyone knows who you’re talking about.” Notable Wife Guys of yore include Email to My Girlfriend’s Husband, Curvy Wife Guy, Guy Pretending to Be His Own Wife, and Elf Wife Guy.
The latest addition to this rich and varied pantheon? Cliff Wife Guy.
While some people were grilling or at the beach or otherwise enjoying their precious, fleeting lives on Saturday, those of us who opened the gaping abyss that is Twitter were hard-pressed to avoid a viral video from Utah-based Snapchat and YouTube celebrity Shaun McBride. (McBride specializes in goofy, earnest high-energy videos about family life with the running theme of living every day like the “BEST DAY EVER.”) In a now-deleted tweet, McBride — best-known as “Shonduras” — wrote “i watched my wife fall off a cliff … you’re whole world can change in a matter of seconds. mine almost did. a good reminder to be grateful for every moment of it. the good and the bad. the happy and the sad. because you’re here.” The sentiment was accompanied by a tearful clip of him and his wife Jenny recounting the incident, plus footage of the fall itself, which occurred during a Hawaiian vacation. It can be viewed eight minutes and ten seconds into this YouTube video:
Many believed that the fall was dramatically exaggerated — less “my wife fell off a cliff” than, say, “my wife rolled off a modest hill” or, as Twitter user @dankgdl suggested, “my wife tumbled off a knoll.”
As such, it became instant meme fodder. One particularly fruitful category involved inserting the cliff wife into song lyrics:
While others opted to go the parody video route:
When I reached out to McBride for comment he wrote me a lengthy email explaining that Jenny had fallen an estimated 12–16 feet perilously close to “a huge patch of jagged lava rocks that would have likely been fatal.” He says that Jenny sustained a bruise, a bump, and was bloodied up by the fall and also expressed dismay at the overall Twitter reaction. “The video was live well over 24 hours across all my socials letting our fans know what had happened and how it had effected us, we were overwhelmed with nothing but supportive comments and people wishing Jenny a speedy recovery,” McBride wrote. “It wasnt till the next day that Twitter took hold of the video with memes showing disappointment the cliff was not higher. it was a couple hours before i noticed the sudden switch in tone from the comments on Twitter and i instantly deleted the tweet to avoid further misconceptions or hurtful content to be generated around the topic.”
“From there it was very unfortunate to see the media grab this story and try to twist it into the classic story of a youtuber trying to clickbait for views, many saying the fall was staged for views and much more hurtful things in regard to my wife,” the email continued. (McBride was also erroneously under the impression that I had already written and published an article on the incident.)
So there you have the saga of Cliff Wife. May we all meet again, in another wife.