If asked point blank, most people will tell you they don't like to be embarrassed in public.

But statistics show that millions of people enjoy watching TV game shows where people constantly embarrass themselves in public.This paradox encourages TV executives to constantly come up with bizarre new games to help people embarrass themselves - for a nice prize, of course.

The Japanese, however, have outdone everyone with "Endurance." The game show is a mind-boggling contest that winnows down 1,000 competitors - all seeking the grand prize - over the course of nine months.

The show eliminates contestants with events that can only be described as subhuman. For example:

- How long can a man stay still with a rat on his chest?

- Which contestant can keep his face underwater the longest with angry catfish biting at his face?

- Which competitor can stand the heat of the sun, intensified through a magnifying glass on his chest, the longest?

The idea may sound revolting, and no doubt some people in Japan are revolted by it, too. Nonetheless, the show's ratings are phenomenal in that country.

And although America doesn't have an equivalent, come Nov. 23 we can watch the 1987 Endurance competition on home video. That's right, the folks at New Star Video have edited the nine hours of 1987 footage into a 90-minute highlight (or would that be lowlight?) tape that will retail for $69.95.

Who knows? If the video version catches on, maybe American TV will come up with its own version. Imagine the scenarios that could be concocted for competitors:

- How many times can female competitors stand to be kissed by Richard ("Family Feud") Dawson?

- How long could a contestant stay in a car driven by heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson?

- Can a contestant sit through the entire Super Bowl pre-game show?