When I was a kid, we used to challenge each other to all kinds of stupid activities. Growing up in farm country, most of the really idiotic challenges involved electric fences, cattle prods and BB guns.
Our saving grace was the fact that regardless how many people were there to see you fail miserably and/or cry like a baby, those were the only people who would ever know how your ugly cry face really looked. We didn't have the internet, and more importantly, we didn't have YouTube.
Nowadays, everyone loads videos of themselves or their friends trying these ridiculous dares on the internet for everyone to see -- and to emulate. This wouldn't be such a bad thing, if kids only did safe stuff.
The problem is that people do really dangerous things and load the evidence of their stupidity right there on the internet for millions of adoring fans (or millions of amazed viewers wondering how come the person in the video isn't dead). If that's where it stopped, I guess it wouldn't be any big deal.
But it doesn't stop there. Once your neighborhood jester gets a million hits on a video of him dropping a string of lit firecrackers down his BVD's, a hundred more want to do the same thing in hopes of being instant internet video celebrities. Come one, come all, right?
Now there's a bunch of monkey-see, monkey-do vids out there of people -- adults and kids alike -- trying to slurp up a spoonful of dry cinnamon powder without the benefit of water -- or sugar, apples, cream or anything else that makes cinnamon tolerable. They call it the Cinnamon Challenge. (Who's challenging them, anyway?)
I've watched one successful challenger, but the rest have pretty visceral reactions to the taste or texture of dry cinnamon. In some cases, it looks as if they're going to puke. Indeed, sometimes they do puke. It's not fun to watch. Even the successful young lady was not exactly graceful, elegant or attractive as she beat the challenge.
Well, at least she didn't puke.
Now throughout the blogosphere there is word that the Cinnamon Challenge is dangerous. Unnamed "health experts" are credited with saying that cinnamon powder can cause chest pain or be deadly. To that I say, "Maybe."
Granulated foods or powder foods can be dangerous in large amounts. Several years ago I responded to a young diabetic girl. Her mother panicked when faced with her daughter's low blood sugar and poured granulated sugar down the girl's throat. The sugar filled her airway and she died from choking.
That's not the same thing as the Cinnamon Challenge. The point of the challenge is to work on a single tablespoon of cinnamon. For most people, that shouldn't be enough to plug your airway. Unfortunately, the only way we'll ever know for sure is when somebody actually dies from trying to eat a spoonful of cinnamon.
You don't want to be the first.
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