Picture this, dear reader. It's a scorching late summer day in early September.  In an attempt to cool off, you decide to walk on over to your local McDonald's to grab a refreshing McFlurry. After a mile-long stroll to the fast-food joint under the scorching summer sun, you approach the counter, place your order and wait with anticipation as the functioning machine (again, this is a fantasy) whips up your icy treat. 

After a few long, torturous minutes, the time finally comes. They call your number. "This is my moment," you think to yourself as you grab your ice cream from the employee's hand.  Yet right before you can pull the weirdly-shaped spoon from the center of your frozen dessert, an uncontrollable urge rushes over you. 

You start aggressively gripping your ice cream cup, squeezing as hard as you can. The flimsy, cardboard cup is the first to go, breaking down under the pressure of your grip and the moisture of the ice cream. The McFlurry itself is next, seeping through the broken-down container and through the top of the lid, getting all over your hands and the Macca's floor. You are both appalled with yourself, but satisfied. This is what must have been done in that exact moment in time. 

Sound familiar? Like a normal, casual Tuesday afternoon? No? well, you must not be one of Gripping Food With Force's nearly 365 thousand Twitter followers.

Founded this July (as if this year couldn't be any more bizarre), the page is exactly what its name implies, an account dedicated to crowd-sourced photos of people aggressively gripping foods, all for the 'gram. 

Cream Cheese ...


kiwis ...


... SpaghettiOs ...



... a block of American cheese ...



... and even the highly coveted Travis Scott burger ...

...  the page's boundaries are only dictated by the fans themselves, a shining beacon of democracy in the lawless hellscape that is 2020.  

Although the account is only a few months old, it already has a strong cult following, with more than 400 submissions per day, and according to founder Corey Mckittrick, a growing competitive culture. "I was very surprised when people started actually sending in their own," Mckittrick told VICE. "Then people started trying to out-do each other, adding to the creativity."

Considering most people who are working remotely no longer have access to free office stress balls, this, on some strange plane, seems like a reasonable response to extreme circumstances. Who wouldn't want to channel their existential frustration into decimating a pear or an ice cream sandwich with their bare hands for the Insta clout?

The page has even stemmed its own spin-off account, official_food_gripping_judges, which like its predecessor, is also fairly self-explanatory, ranking each grip on a scale of 1-10, taking factors including location, food-to-hand ratio, and dryness into consideration. It too has more Insta fame than me, boasting nearly 3,500 followers.


All things considered, it makes sense that people are looking to get a grip on stability and a consistent source of entertainment --- and for many, that just happens to be food, extremely forcefully on the internet. 


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