Some People Will Swallow Anything

A while back I posted a blog about people who have literally eaten themselves to death, usually on a dare or for fame and fortune. I thought I’d covered the topic adequately, but apparently not.
Today there is a new health warning about a teenage fad called The Cinnamon Challenge. The premise is quite simple: swallow a spoonful of cinnamon in sixty seconds without the aid of a beverage.
The warning reminds us that cinnamon is an irritant, and that trying to swallow a large amount of it dry can lead to choking, sore throat and possible lung damage if inhaled.
Such idiotic adolescent dares are nothing new, of course. The grandmother of them all is probably the famous goldfish-eating contests that took place on college campuses in the 1930’s. An Ivy Leaguer named, of all things, Lothrop Withington, began it, and as fast as a fad could spread in those pre-Facebook days, this one went viral. The challenge started out as a simple “I dare you to eat this goldfish” but eventually progressed to “How many goldfish can you swallow?” (Yes, they were live goldfish.)
The fad died out quickly when 1. People realized that thirty live goldfish thrashing around in one’s gut was a pretty unpleasant sensation. and 2. Warnings were issued that goldfish (and incidentally, many other types of fish, including many types that are more acceptable to eat) often contain tapeworms, which pose a real threat to humans.
I think the doctors issuing the warning about cinnamon are off to a good start, but they need to get a bit more gross with their warning. A coughing fit and possible long-term lung damage is not really that much of a deterrent. Just look at all the kids who still start smoking. But if there was such a thing as a cinnamon tapeworm…


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