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I guess I spend a lot of time on the Internet, because I am aware that there's an entire subculture of people out there who see idiots and immediately think, "I must be that idiot," and, worse, I just became one for the purposes of this article. I am, of course, talking about YouTube challenges.

YouTube challenges rose to fame with the cinnamon challenge and expanded from there. The basic idea is to do something awful to yourself while filming it, then upload it to the Internet so other people can see it, laugh at your pain, and then do it to themselves. It's like a mentally crippled ouroboros trying to fuck itself in the eye.

Having seen numerous people do these things in videos, I was genuinely unable to discern why they were doing them -- it generally looks painful and without reward. Was that the point? Only one way to find out! But obviously you'd learn nothing if I just filmed these things. Instead, I'll try them out and then pass on my observations to you so you can spare yourself the anguish of trying at home to find out what all the fuss is about.

The Cinnamon Challenge

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The Rules: Take a tablespoon of powdered cinnamon and swallow it without any water.

The Gist: This is hard to do, as cinnamon is dried-out malice. Even the Mythbusters agree.

Observations: I learned that I have a lot of cinnamon in my cupboard first and foremost. I think people buy it for me assuming I am incapable of living like a real human and cinnamon would help me achieve normality. I can't recall ever using it.

I've watched videos of the cinnamon challenge enough to know what was going to happen to me. Did you know what was going to happen to me? There's coughing and gagging, sometimes even vomiting. None of these really appealed to me, but there are literally hundreds if not thousands of videos online of people doing it. What's the payoff?

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Pain. Pain is the payoff.

There is no payoff to doing the cinnamon challenge. The moment you attempt to swallow a spoonful of cinnamon, you can literally feel a searing tightness work its way down your throat, as though your body is saying "What are you, fucking stupid?" and trying to clench itself off before you do more damage. The worst part is that, if you're extra special stupid like me, the moment the cinnamon leaves your tongue and fills your mouth with a billion desiccated granules of desert-like awful, you panic and suck in quickly, trying to free yourself, which means you both swallow and inhale the cinnamon for a one-two punch of dumbassery that makes the spice invade two sections of your body where it doesn't belong.

You really have less than a breath to enjoy this dry, kind of stinging pain feeling, because now your body reacts with explosive disapproval. You cough-retch your way through the entire spoonful, which has now multiplied in size to several cups' worth of reddish dust billowing about your stupid head.

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It's like this, but less empyrean.

I was totally unable to do this challenge, and I'm OK with that. Success means swallowing a spoonful of spice, a reward at once so pointless and so undesirable that I can barely fathom how it came to be that this challenge is even a thing. I can only assume it's a mixture of schadenfreude and bizarre voodoo mind control that can account for its continual existence.

The Condom Challenge

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The Rules: Jam a condom (ideally unused) up your nose and snort until it comes to the back of your throat, from which you can pull it into your mouth. This was once known as "mental floss."

The Gist: I guess you could choke yourself out doing this or puke or something. The science behind it is kind of old as dirt, though. I once saw a dude do it with a live snake. Shoenice here does it double barrel. Good job, man.

Observations: I bought some magnum condoms for this because I figured they'd be the easiest to maneuver through the inside of my skull. I bought them at the pharmacy down the street, and the lady at the register literally made a Mrs. Krabappel-esque "ha" when she rang it up. It was subdued, but it was definitely there. Judgmental jerk. There goes her chance to ride the Felix Funk Ferret.

Back home, I observed a video or two and then tried my hand. I jammed the reservoir tip into my nostril and it just flopped there for a moment like a massive, deflated shlong booger. I imagine I looked shameful, another reason I wasn't filming this. Pressing my other nostril shut, I began to snort. For the first few moments, it was like I had a terrible cold and the condom wouldn't get loose. Then it hit a sinus cavity or whatever's back there and nothing felt good anymore.

Things happen fast right here, but I can tell you your eye will refuse to stay wide open and you'll be overcome with the urge to hack up the rubberiest loogie of all time. Disgusting noises burst forth, and it feels a bit like you did in fact just have your skull fucked. It's not a good feeling. There's a reason you don't run things from your nose to your mouth; that passage doesn't need to be scoured clean ever.

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It's in there. The blue part.

As quickly as it started, I found myself grasping a slimy rubber tip at the back of my throat and yanking the condom out of my head. It had traversed the inside of my mind and come out unscathed. I had violated my own face and learned nothing. Not one damn thing. My eye had begun watering, and there was a dull sting somewhere inside of me. The location was diffuse and hard to pinpoint. Maybe it was my soul, now coated in a thin layer of spermicide.

The whole process was uncomfortable but not painful. And I had in a single try succeeded in making the condom challenge something of a loser in my books. What was the point? Mild degradation? I can get that at work.

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Diet Coke and Mentos Challenge

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The Rules: Put Mentos in your face hole. Chase this with Diet Coke.

The Gist: This started as a fun trick that didn't involve human containers. Basically Mentos are very reactive with carbonated beverages, in particular Diet Coke. The result is generally a frothy explosion. Why not repeat that, but inside your own body, where explosions aren't supposed to occur?

Observations: Of all the challenges, this is the one I was most familiar with, as I had in the past done it the "non-fucktarded" way. I dropped a pack of Mentos in a 2-liter bottle of Diet Coke and giggled like a schoolgirl as it gushed forth in an aspartamey geyser. It was a delightful three minutes of my life, and I cherish the memory. The challenge twist of attempting to keep the Mentos in your mouth while you drink the Coke is obviously hilarious and messy. Let's try!

With six Mentos in my mouth, a number I felt was at once reasonable and unreasonable, I popped open a giant bottle of Diet Coke and, from the relative safety of my backyard, proceeded with the challenge. In my experience, drinking from a 2-liter bottle without anything in your mouth to begin with is a little sad and ungainly. Why so big, 2-liter bottle? Why can't I use a glass? I must be a vagrant. A thirsty, thirsty vagrant.

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"Got a mouthful of Listerine? Spit it in here for me, would ya?"

If you've ever tipped a beer too quickly, you're likely familiar with the curious sensation that overtakes you once you fill your Mentos-laden mouth with Diet Coke. That shit just goes everywhere. It becomes extremely difficult to keep your lips sealed around the bottle, and I was struck suddenly with a terrifying empathy for porn stars.

Because the challenge is stupid, I was forced to ignore my rational inclination to simply stop drinking and instead I kept at it. It does not stop exploding. I have no idea what they put in Mentos, but it's like Ike Turner being drowned in a tub of Tinas. The fight is brutal and does not let up until you accidentally swallow one of the Mentos and then gag forth your entire mouthful of everything in a bubbly brown retch.

After wiping myself down, I had to consult with the Internet again to determine what the point of this challenge was. If you're supposed to drink the entire bottle, then that's just stupid. I can't drink 2 liters of Diet Coke on its own in a single sitting; I'm not some kind of monster. Was the point just to soak my really nice T-shirt? Because that happened. It's a good shirt, too. I was looking forward to wearing it for the rest of the day.

The Wasabi Challenge

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The Rules: I found two different wasabi challenges online. One, which I believe was stolen from Jackass, involves snorting wasabi. The other involves eating it. I ain't snorting wasabi, so I'll eat it.

The Gist: As you may be aware, most wasabi isn't wasabi. It's just green horseradish. Real wasabi comes from a plant that's very much like horseradish, only a million times worse. Lucky for you I have an Asian market down the street that stocks the freeze-dried kind, and it promises to be just as effective as fresh. Good enough for me! Now I eat it and try not to die. This guy tried wasabi sauce and seemed to have a bad day. Maybe I'll do beter.

Observations: I like sushi now and then, so I'm used to that little green blob of pseudo-wasabi -- I don't mind it at all. This new stuff I bought, called Real Wasabi, required me to mix it in water. The moment you do, the smell latches onto your face like an alien face-hugger, desperate to squeeze every tear from your ducts. It's like pissing in a bottle of bleach with a vaguely earthy kick behind it. I was pretty much crying openly before I finished mixing. I was not confident.

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"I'm not crying, it's rage sweat. From my eyes."

Smelling the wasabi paste I had created actually burned my nose at a close distance, a threat of things to come. I knew this was going to hurt and you know it's going to hurt and yet there I was, with maybe 2 tablespoons of pale green sludge ready to go. If I snorted this, a thing I don't think I could do given the consistency, it would likely just burn through my brain and kill me. Best to see what my insides could do. I shoved the spoon in my mouth.

If you've never eaten 2 tablespoons of pure wasabi, don't. Don't ever. I thought to mulch it around a bit with my tongue, give it a light chew to break down the clump, and within seconds it was like I had committed a crime against humanity on myself. The sharp, searing pain isn't nearly as bad as you'd think; it's the whole sensory buttfuck. What is that noxious gas wasabi produces? And the taste, the actual flavor, it's just not good. It's like pain you found on the bottom of your shoe after a stroll through the woods.

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This is where trail mix comes from.

My mouth began to spasm in an involuntary fashion, my tongue writhing like a snake fighting its prey. I should have spit it out; that would have been the rational thing to do. Something deep inside me lurched and my stomach joined the fight to expel the foreign invader. No. Not yet. I could do this.

My eyes and nose were running profusely. It was like I had just ingested the demon that causes the flu and he was starting a fire to keep warm. Keep squishing, I thought. Squish it down to a reasonable size and just swallow, how hard could that be? I think the flesh of my cheeks had begun to slough off at this point.

If my gums weren't bleeding, they wanted to. Perhaps it was only my blood's fear of touching wasabi that stemmed the tides there. I began to think the quantity is where I had misfired on this challenge. No one said 2 tablespoons anywhere. And these weren't even tablespoons. These were heaping globs. I'm going to be honest, I don't even know what the fuck a tablespoon measurement means really, I just mixed it with a big spoon. It was doubled up on the spoon like ice cream when I ate it. Yes, that was my error. Hubris. So like Lucifer: proud, beautiful, and now burning. Burning so very badly.

I swallowed hard. I want you to know that I resolved this problem by swallowing. That was what I thought was the right thing to do. I consumed the wasabi. Feel free to laugh now if you know what happens in the next paragraph, which will take place about three hours after I swallowed that wasabi.

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Remember me as I was: an idiot.

My digestive system has never been a point of pride for me. I can eat all kinds of filth, but I pay a price. That time I went to the fair and ate all that garbage? I was useless the next day. But the wasabi? Merciless. It was only a few hours later when my stomach was making sounds that were audible to passersby and, in some languages, the foulest of curses. I won't terrify you with descriptive details of what came next, save to say that either I have a fire-breathing dragon in my colon or I am not meant to eat wasabi. I spent much of the rest of the day within a panicked few steps of the bathroom, my eyes still watering ever so slightly.

But I won. I owned that wasabi challenge. So I've got that going for me.

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Related Reading: There are a lot more treasures hiding on YouTube where that came from -- watch real videos that really belong in horror flicks, people taking falls it's hard to believe they survived, the most surprising twist endings you won't see coming, and the greatest overreaction on YouTube since Double Rainbow.

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