A teenage boy stands in the shower wearing shorts and douses himself in acetone (nail polish remover). He lights a match and throws it on himself. When he catches fire, he runs around the house in pain until he ends up back in the shower and his friends put the flame out.
This is called the “fire challenge,” and it is the new THING that teenagers are doing across the country.
Then there’s the two girls standing against a wall, and they wait as two boys hold their chests down. One of them passes out on the ground, and then she finally wakes up after 30 scary seconds as her friends laugh. That’s the “pass out challenge.”
In the words of Cliff Huxtable, “Theo, that is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard in my life. No wonder you always get Ds.” Everyone and everything has jumped the shark. Jesus be a fence, take the wheel and hold my mule because I cannot deal with it.
Why is lighting yourself on fire and inducing fainting spells all the rave with young and dumb America right now? Are toys busy? Did the iPad get boring? Did summertime spent outside lose its appeal? What is happening, and why are these kids literally set ablaze with stupidity? Who do we blame for this? I just have a lot of questions.
I know teenagers are wired to do stupid things, but this might take the cake. I didn’t necessarily subscribe to the fact that this generation might be more reckless than others, but it’s hard to debate that now, because I don’t think anything we did could touch this. I remember in high school, people might end up on the news for sniffing markers. Compared to these challenges, that sounds absolutely tame.
I do believe that the advent of social media is fueling some of this. In the past, we couldn’t play “life or death truth or dare” with people we didn’t know. Within our group of friends, sure. But now, kids can record a video of themselves doing something, post it to Vine/Instagram/YouTube within seconds and people they’ve never met and don’t know will see it. Peer pressure now comes from everywhere, from close friends to complete strangers who may or may not be failing Darwin’s survival of the fittest challenge. That is worrisome.
However, social media stepping in doesn’t mean common sense should step out. What happened? How did we get here? Nobody’s supposed to be here. Deborah Cox wondered, and I do too. This is utterly ridiculous. The worst part about this “challenge” is that the only prize any of them win is third-degree burns. What is the freaking point?
These folks better go lose themselves in a book and the world of imagination instead. Again, I ask, WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THESE KIDS?!? Where did we fail?
I wear these 6 gray hairs around my hairline with pride and smugness after the teen years where I did not do things that could potentially end my life so my friends could laugh for 3 minutes. The fact that we might need to start having PSAs telling children “please don’t light yourself on fire” is just absurd.
If one of these people die from these challenges and get to Heaven, St. Peter should make them stand at the gate in purgatory a while to they can think about how they wasted life. I mean it. They should be treated like the dude who got on sneakers trying to get into the upscale club. You knew the rules when you showed up but wanted to play some bald-headed games.
P.S. The article reporting that someone died is from a satirical site. Some of those are the worst and you should know how not to pass on fake news like that on social media.
(Luvvie is a serial ranter and blogger who talks pop culture at Awesomely Luvvie, technology at Awesomely Techie and is the head behind DumbestTweets.com. She can also be found on Twitter (@Luvvie), Facebook and Instagram.)