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A beginner’s guide to eating Tide Pods, and other forms of laundry detergent

January 16, 2018
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What in the actual hell?

Yeah, we know. Look, we all accept that each new generation of teenagers invents new and inventive ways to be stupid for attention, and that we’ve given them unfettered access to a global Attention Device and told them their self-worth hinges on Likes from equally dunderheaded peers. But even with all that said, this Tide Pods thing takes the taco: Teens are filming themselves biting into and/or fully consuming the small packets of laundry detergent, which is a poor idea for the following reasons:

What possible fun could derive from eating liquid goo-soap?

Well, aside from not having to brush your teeth for a while after, the idea is to create and film a hilarious scene in which either the participant’s mouth fills up with hilarious foam, or they die or asphyxiation or an episode of violent vomiting. Either way, you end up with some quality YouTubein’.

Exactly how many morons are doing this?

The Washington Post reported that more than 50 teens were “intentionally” exposed to the capsules last year, and ABC says that there have been 20 cases of intentional exposure this year alone. (Scientists chalk this up to everyone being trapped inside either by the bracing cold or accidental Hawaiian nuclear missile impacts.) Luckily, there’s an upside: These figures mean that whatever kettleball-brained nonsense your teenager is doing this week, there are least 70 teenagers in the country being much, much dumber. At least trying to eat a tablespoon of cinnamon won’t kill you, usually.

Isn’t anyone telling them to stop?

Well, sure! Their friends, parents and centuries-old internal survival instincts are presumably all shrieking, “You are a brain-dead meerkat and comically eating material designed to theoretically clean your underpants will absolutely not make the brunette in your pre-algebra class like you, and will in fact make her reconsider the JV point guard all the faster.”

The U.S. Consumer Product Commission is on record as saying the pods contain “highly concentrated, toxic detergent,” because that’s what it says on the side of the package. And the Minnesota Poison Control Center went so far as to tweet, “While the Tide Pod Challenge may have started as a joke, it is extremely dangerous … ingesting just a small amount of the concentrated detergent can cause effects such as burns inside or around the mouth, nausea or breathing problems.”

To recap: Eating a Cadbury egg-sized soap glop may, in fact, give you a stomachache. But if you are, own or have ever been a teen, you can predict some of the response here, which basically boils down to Shut Up Grampa.

What does Tide have to say about this?

Pleasingly, the company has come out against humans consuming mashed-together hockey pucks of gelatinous chemical for any recreational purpose. They have even gone so far as to release a semi-comic viral video / PSA featuring Rob Gronkowski, one of our nation’s finest examples of positive behavior decisions, reminding people that this is a bad idea. (Generally speaking, by the time Rob Gronkowski says something is a bad idea, the rest of civilization has probably been extinct for at least 200 years.) To recap: A major American company released a wacky PSA with an anvil-brained football lunatic to convince children to not consume laundry detergent. That clanging sound you hear in the background is me working on the rocket to Mars.

Were we all this stupid as teenagers?

Look, we just drank ourselves into oblivion, it wasn’t great but it lowered inhibitions and never once involved hitting the laundry room, unless that’s where Dad kept the Beam.