The Jetstream Journal

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A Solution to Teen Ineptitude

Idiot+holds+blow+dryer+in+the+shower.
Idiot holds blow dryer in the shower.

Idiot holds blow dryer in the shower.

Idiot holds blow dryer in the shower.

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We’ve all seen it for years: children and teenagers hospitalized for doing something equally remarkable and stupid. From lung infections caused by the cinnamon challenge, to poisoning by detergent challenges, to brain damage from the choking challenge, adolescents especially have been falling victim to Fifteen Minutes of Fame via social media.

The names of the challenges are pretty self-explanatory. In the cinnamon challenge, the player gets a large, tablespoon-sized scoop of the spice and shoves it in his mouth and swallows. Usually, he chokes and spews powder everywhere, coughing violently and dryly. The detergent challenge is about the same thing; the player records himself putting a detergent packet on his tongue, pops it to show the detergent spilling, and stops recording. The choking challenge usually requires an assistant. The player cuts off the air flow to the brain, typically by choking, and this results in the player passing out for about five minutes until the brain restores the cells that died due to lack of oxygen.

The Tide Pod Challenge has yielded only fifty-three poison control cases in 2017 (in the United States), when the challenge first hit social media, while in the first half of the first month of 2018, there were thirty-nine cases, some of which were not related to the social media craze in the first place. Keep in mind, there are also forty million teenagers in the nation. Teenagers tend to be the primary participants in challenges that become trends. With the cinnamon challenge, however, there are cases of permanent and serious lung damage, and even a young boy who was in a coma due to the challenge. At a birthday celebration with his friends, he ate ground cinnamon and had to be hospitalized. He was in a coma for five days.

There are other challenges performed by now-adults back in their teen days. For example, Susan Cline spoke of a game in  her generation though she could not recall what exactly it was. 

“I know a lady who comes into my store,” says Cline, “she says in 1942 there was a challenge to eat raw fish. Basically you take a bite out of a live fish. And every generation does it and has their ‘challenges’ broadcast.”

We can all agree that the dangers of challenges such as these ought to be considered too stupid to try. However, humanity continues to go against nature’s will and protects stupidity.

We, as a developed society with developed sciences, are all too familiar with Darwinism. Each person interviewed, when asked what he or she knows about natural selection, said the same four words: “Survival of the fittest,” as we all recognize from public education.  How dare we, as beasts born from nature herself, defy nature to protect stupidity in our species? All the while, all across the internet, people agree (on the regular) that the faith in humanity is lost, often only restored by cute videos of kittens or people saving an animal in distress.

“I think natural selection is what brought the human race to what it is today,” said Emily Fulton. 

Fulton, a senior at Air Academy, agrees that natural selection ought to take out the people “dumb enough” to partake in dangerous challenges.

“If you were dumb enough to do something in the wild, you would have died,” she said, “so, applying it to modern day, I feel like kids who do the cinnamon challenge, the bleach challenge, all of those idiotic challenges, deserve what comes to them.”

Fulton makes a point of saying that if someone were dumb enough to participate in such trends and face harm, she hopes they “take it as a lesson.”

Xander Wells of Ohio believes that education is key.

“No one has to be stupid,” said Wells. “If everyone is educated, everyone has a chance to avoid that stupid stuff.”

However, with mainstream media and social attention as he mentions, society deems it okay to make stupid choices to become sheep to the norm. Yet common sense, a most valued and decreasing trait in humanity, dictates that making dangerous choices is most unintelligent.

And how, might you ask, do we promote natural selection as a species? We remove warning labels from items, such as bleach (besides the “do not use bleach before or after using an ammonia product,” since people don’t clean their bathrooms with various products to seek attention) or soaps. And also by disallowing consumers to sue for misuse of a product, which should already be in place anyway, natural selection would weed out the stupid in our world. Not only that, but also by refusing medical assistance, families (especially without insurance) would save money by not having to pay hospital bills.

There are several advantages to letting the idiots be wiped out by their own means; not only is it humane by letting them do it to themselves, but socially, evolutionarily, and economically speaking, it will benefit humanity. Those inept enough to have not obtained the common sense to evaluate the edibility of a soap dish will be weeded out by means of Darwinism.

Firstly, by returning to natural selection, humans can control the preferable traits in humanity to pass on to future generations, thus furthering progress into the perfect being.

Secondly, the generation ridiculed for a lack of common sense amongst individuals could be set free from the title of stupidity, as natural selection begins annihilating them.

Thirdly, friendships between adolescents, and/or others, could be founded upon more adult principles instead of who ate the most trays of soap and bragging about general absurdities. A mature foundation would undoubtedly influence the morality of the population, also improving progress toward a perfect human. After an individual experience becomes more common, it becomes collective and thus reflecting a culture of development.

Fourthly and economically speaking, by removing warning labels and letting fools be shunned, families would pay significantly less in medical bills. There are families all around who are impoverished á cause de bills of the medical variety – be it doctor’s convenience, ambulance, medicine, room and board, complications, and the like even with insurance policies. Families would not have to go unbelievably bankrupt due to awful medical bills in the United States, especially those without health insurance. According to the Henry J. Kaiser Foundation, without Medicaid and Medicare, 42% of United States Americans would not have health insurance, also including those without any sort of health insurance. Not only do those families have to pay a fee for not being insured, but also the incredible medical fees should a medical issue arise.

Fifthly and also economically, companies would save money in avoidance of lawsuits for abuse of products and prices for having products evaluated due to safety standards and save money by not having to pay for labeling of achieving (or not achieving) such standards, which would be done away with in this proposal.

 So, not only does this proposal aid human progression, but also it aids other societal issues. By helping the economy, a societal issue is being heavily assisted – both by trickle-down effects with companies and personal wealth.

Sixthly though not finally, in a society in which the people are competent, foolish choices can be avoided.

Wells argued that natural selection is too slow and too inhumane a process to put in to effect. He used a biological example: a land beast’s habitat becoming ocean. Such a beast has not needed to know how to swim, thus must learn to swim. He suggested a selfless teacher for the beast to learn to survive. However, due to capitalism in the United States, there is a lack in selflessness. In the United States, it would become “you have to pay me to learn to swim from me.” Should the beast not be able to pay, it will die. Or, the beast can figure out that if he flails hard enough, he can stick his head above water, eventually learn a routine through trial and error, a natural critical thinking skill, and figure out how to navigate in the water. Should the beast not utilize this thinking skill, it will die. Others can learn from the mistakes that beast made which resulted in death. Wells believes that such learning can be achieved without such drama, yet those who choose stupid choices have not learned from such a result. It is less intelligent and in turn, will not be able to pass on such lack of intelligence unto a future generation and instead the smarter, the fittest, will survive and pass that quality onward, much like common sense. 

This inability to pass a less-smart trait is what makes natural selection a perfect system. Darwinism seeks to find a perfect species. Yet we protect the unintelligence. This brings a pressing point of infants and toddlers incapable of having a critical thinking skill such as this. Then, the intelligence is left up to their guardians. It is up to caretakers to teach their offspring to be better, smarter, and more perfect than the last batch of society. Should the caretakers pass on stupidity, the generation fails.

Wells also brought up another pressing point: natural selection is a slow process. While he does not support my proposal and by no means am I trying to pass it off like he has, there is another, less humane proposal. By profiling stupidity, as it is a disease most widespread and contagious, it can be targeted and attacked. Adolescents participating in fatal challenges and making it “okay” on social media to do, it spreads like a rash. More and more people begin believing it is okay. So, natural selection could be a very speedy process, should stupidity be intolerable in the future. However, by targeting the infection, the process would be much more rapid.

Please do not confuse my use of “stupidity” and “idiocy” as ignorance. Stupidity and idiocy are terms by which the affected ought to know better. Ignorance, on the other hand, like that of the infant, are true to the word: genuinely not knowing better – not having the capacity to know better to do or not do.

 

Much appreciation to:

American Association of Poison Control Centers Warn About Potential Poison Exposure to Single-Load Laundry Packets, from the AAPCC website

Teen Boy Awakens from Coma After Cinnamon Challenge Goes Awry, from the Netherlands Times

Health Insurance Coverage of the Total Population, from the Henry J. Kaiser Foundation

And special thanks to those interviewed regarding this topic and especially to my English teacher, Cyndy Morgan, for inspiring the creation of this article in a class assignment. 

Please understand that this article is filed under “Halfwit Humor” for satirical purposes only. 

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