Would you sacrifice your life for your reputation?

Something has started cropping up on my Facebook page recently, and when I say ‘recently’ I mean ‘as of yesterday’. As of yesterday, at least half of my newsfeed is taken up by Neknominate videos.

Neknominate, for those of you who don’t know, is a viral challenge in which someone ‘necks’ a pint of something alcoholic and then ‘nominates’ several others to do the same or better in 24 hours.

The majority of neknominates I’ve seen so far are being carried out by boys I went to school with. I’ve seen some funny ones (a pint of beer being drunk out of a ski boot), some scary ones (a guy being wheeled up and down the corridoor knocking on doors and drinking alcohol from each one, including a bottle of wine, vodka shots and several pints, all in the space of three minutes) and some downright disgusting ones (tied for first place are the one in which a guy drinks beer laced with vodka, shower gel, conditioner, toothpaste and Vagisil, and the one in which a guy consumes four raw eggs whole, shell and all, followed by half an onion and then a pint glass of several beers, vodka and his friend’s piss while having his ear pierced with a safety pin).

I have nothing against viral crazes. They can be extremely funny, awesome and, when done well, show some incredible imagination out there. But Neknominate is not funny. Not least because two people have already died from the game. When people are dying, it ceases to be a game and becomes a sinister contest for Darwin Awards 2014. Pints of tequila, people. There’s a reason that tequila is drunk from snifters and shot glasses, and there’s a reason that drinking should be spread out over several hours. Most of these videos are less than five minutes long and people are consuming alcohol in quantities and combinations that wouldn’t be out of place in a torture chamber.

I’ve seen a couple of videos where people have refused to do the challenges. Good on those people. Peer pressure is an almighty factor in Neknominate, and it’s good to know that there are still people out there who are being individuals, and, even better, being lauded for it.

Honestly, what I don’t understand is how people can do things like this without having their limbic systems explode through their ears. Where is the self-preservation instinct that has served us so well up until this point? Of course, it’s been documented that teenagers in particular are actually drawn to behaviour that would be considered suicidal by other people. I went to school with a whole bunch of Neknominators, and we all went to a very selective school which only took in the smartest applicants. They all understand the dangers of drinking to excess (and by this I don’t mean getting plastered on a night out, which most people do) and generally abusing their bodies and I can only conclude that they think that it doesn’t apply to them.

This puts a whole new slant on things. Of course, because we are each the main player on our own personal stage, we all think that the rules don’t apply to us to some extent. Go on, think about it. You read horrible, horrible stories about horrible, horrible things happening to other people and you say ‘well, that’s awful and I don’t know how I’d cope with it, but thank god I don’t ever leave appliances plugged in/own that brand of car/live next to any sort of highway’.

Obviously, I’m being hyperbolic. It’s late, and I’m tired. This is going to be written and published tonight though, because Neknomination is still fairly new, and dammit, it’s nice to be surfing the crest of the news wave for once instead of flailing about in it’s wake and wishing I’d stood up sooner.

Well, rant over. Honestly, I am not a fun-hating person or anything like that, I just have a bit of an issue with people being dangerously stupid for the sake of gaining a few likes on Facebook. And anyway, the videos I’ve seen in which people actually refuse to do the challenge on the grounds of safety have gone far further and gained much more positive attention than even the most outrageous Neknominates.

**UPDATE: This is being added for sheer gross-factor. Yet another of my ex-schoolmates has done a Neknominate, and this one featured a heart. In a blender. With alcohol. A heart.**

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