Five Teen Crazes the Media Made Up
By Brad Pike
Parents and teachers, watch out! Teenagers across the country are engaging in countless bizarre morally bankrupt activities — sick sexual acts, weird drug addictions, chatting up Internet predators — or at least, that’s what the media would have you believe. How many times have you watched a breaking news story with a reporter standing in front of a high school, saying something like, “They call it snaking. Teenagers everywhere are catching snakes and dripping the venom into their eyeballs to get high. Unfortunately, according to a doctor we interviewed, snake venom is actually quite harmful to eyeballs.” Next thing you know, mom’s searching your dresser drawers for snake fangs and checking your eyes for residue.
These pernicious behaviors sound implausible, silly even, and would only appeal to weirdoes like Bryce Snodgrass from KoldCast TV’s new office comedy Lunch Break, who convinces himself vodka soaked tampons will allow him to be drunk at work without the telltale alcohol smell on his breath, much to his coworker’s chagrin. Fun fact: ingesting alcohol rectally won’t prevent you from failing a breathalyzer test, but more importantly, ew. Need I add that Lunch Break is rated TV-MA and should not be viewed as educational programming?
Watch Episode 1 of the new TV comedy series Lunch Break, “Toxic Shock”
There’s no denying teenagers do dumb things. They routinely engage in all sorts of questionable shenanigans, but still the local news feels the need to invent moral panics based on rumors and hearsay. Here are a few of the most shocking things no one’s actually doing.
Ah, the aforementioned vodka tampons — an elegant solution to parents smelling alcohol on your breath in the way burning down your house is an elegant solution to dirty dishes. They won’t smell the alcohol on your breath, but on the other hand, you’ll have a butt choked with burning vodka, melting your tender rectum flesh. Have the hypothetical teenagers in this scenario ever heard of gum, the chewy breath freshening wonder? Someone should tell these kids about it — that is, if they really exist.
This craze came to national attention when a local news affiliate in Phoenix aired a hilariously melodramatic report in which a school security guard says, “This is not isolated to any school, any city, any financial area. This is everywhere.” Everywhere? First of all, no awkward teenage boy would look at a tampon much less put it in his butt, and as for girls, I’d imagine a tampon swollen with vodka is difficult to insert. Maybe if they had chopsticks, but if you find yourself using Japanese cutlery to jam a vodka sponge into your lady parts, perhaps it’s time to examine your broader life choices.
In 2010, a year before the vodka tampons story broke, teenagers began posting hundreds of YouTube clips of themselves pouring vodka — excuse me — pretending to pour vodka into their eye sockets, igniting a large scale media feeding frenzy. Like vodka tampons, here’s a method of vodka ingestion that begs the question: does vodka really taste that bad? Did no one tell them they can mix it with orange juice or Fanta? At least with vodka tampons, they supposedly get you drunk faster, but with eyeballing, alcohol absorption is much slower than oral ingestion. In other words, it’s even dumber than it seems at first.
The few, shall we say, misguided individuals who regularly vodka eyeballed ended up with permanently weeping and sore eyes. Who could’ve guessed that pouring a substance onto your eye that causes excruciating burning pain would lead to eye damage?
What is the poverty stricken teen junkie to do when cocaine, heroin, and most other drugs cost money? Well, good news, kids: jenkem can be made at home for free from ingredients you already have in the pantry (food), and, best of all, it’s totally legal. What’s jenkem? It’s fermented liquid excrement you huff from a bottle. Oh, you want to know more?
Jenkem was first reported on during investigations into the living conditions of street children in Zambia in the early 90’s. They found that among these children, jenkem was the third most popular drug behind glue and cannabis, partly because of its easy manufacturing method (heh). Then a media firestorm erupted in 2007 following an Internet hoax in which a teen photographed himself huffing a mixture of beer, Nutella, and flour, claiming it was jenkem. Although he later admitted to faking the photo, a Midwestern news station latched onto the story, asking parents to sniff their children’s breath for poop before bedtime and just gently ask, “Hey, are you huffing liquid feces from an Evian bottle by any chance?”
I remember at my middle school and high school, every girl seemed to be wearing these colored jelly bracelets, which I foolishly dismissed as simple fashion accessories, but evidently, I missed the jewelry’s true meaning: all these girls were down for underage sexual relations. At least, that’s according to some parents who started an email rumor that girls were using the bracelets’ colors to indicate what sexual acts they’d be willing to perform.
Here’s the breakdown: yellow means hugging, purple means kissing, red means lap dance, blue means oral sex, and black means full on sexual intercourse. All a guy had to do was snap a girl’s bracelet off, and she was obligated to perform whatever the color indicated; it’s that easy. So why weren’t boys roaming the halls, furiously snapping off every bracelet in sight? Better question, why in God’s name didn’t anyone tell me about this sex bracelet thing? So many years of needless involuntary celibacy!
Oh, now I remember why no one told me: because it wasn’t true, and you can tell it wasn’t true because it doesn’t even sound true. Middle school girls would have sex with any guy who snaps off a bracelet? That sounds more like the depraved fantasies of a teenage boy—or some creepy, paranoid parent spreading email rumors.
Keeping in line with the sex-by-colors craze, a rainbow party is a group oral sex party in which the girls each put on a different shade of lipstick and the guys attempt to collect them all, emerging with a rainbow tattoo of sorts — and an experience he will try to top for the rest of his life. What might have remained a lascivious urban legend among teens was catapulted to the national stage following an episode of Oprah called “Is Your Child Leading a Double Life?” which concerned the growing epidemic of teen promiscuity.
Now, I don’t doubt a few real rainbow parties took place; don’t get me wrong. But are they or have they ever been an epidemic? No. If Oprah had bothered to attend a middle school social, she would know teenage boys and girls aren’t actually so comfortable around each other. The urban legend eventually led to the publication of a novel recommended for readers aged 14 and up, aptly titled Rainbow Party, in which teens fantasize about throwing one. This of course caused a parental uproar, which in turn prompted Simon & Schuster to declare the book a cautionary tale.
I can think of much worse activities teens could be up to – prescription drug addiction, gang activity, bringing guns to school, selling drugs, etc. As long as parents continue to lose their minds over made-up teen crazes, the media will continue to feed them nonsense. That’s a shame, because it prevents them from worrying about the real dangers lurking out there, dangers like your fellow co-worker Bryce Snodgrass.
Needless to say, DO NOT TRY ANY OF THESE INSANE ACTS AT HOME, ANYWHERE, EVER.