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.
4 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?
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.
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.
3 The Condom Challenge
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.
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.