Chasing fame, especially in the internet age, requires keeping a finger on the pulse of the culture at every possible moment. One day, new followers may flock to your account based on how good you are at planking and fucking coconuts only to disappear just as quickly when they discover someone cooler who’s, say, taking videos of themselves eating Tide Pods. Now, even as the crème de la crème of our influencer class still groans in collective memory of that time they had laundry detergent pumped out of their guts, it’s time for a new way to almost kill yourself by ingesting stuff for the internet’s amusement.
It’s time for The Nutmeg Challenge.
The idea of eating or drinking or snorting up a whole lot of nutmeg to get high is an old one, but, as the past week has shown, it’s becoming popular online again. Maybe because lots of people are in quarantine and looking for something to do—or maybe because nutmeg just looks so goddamn tasty—TikTok users have started filming themselves participating in a social media trend where you have way too much of it.
A video from Chubbyemu details the case of a 19 year-old American guy who went to the hospital sick and hallucinating after posting a clip of himself drinking a protein shake filled with an entire bottle of ground nutmeg on TikTok. He explains how ingesting this much nutmeg messes with your brain, causing the TikToker to get an incredibly dry mouth, flush “red as a beet,” become “visibly agitated,” and end up lying on the floor of his bathroom shaking and unable to pee out the gallons of water he’d drunk. The video describes how too much nutmeg causes myristicin poisoning, which, in short, fucks with the body to the point that those affected can end up in a coma or dead.
An article by Insider also digs into the science behind nutmeg poisoning and the TikTok trend. They note that, “as of [yesterday] afternoon, the #nutmegchallenge hashtag page [on TikTok] has 46.4 million views” and plenty of clips of people participating in it. She quotes studies showing that “one to four teaspoons of ground nutmeg” will cause symptoms that “begin within three to six hours” and last “for 12-24 hours.” TikTok told Insider that it will remove “reported content” in an effort to discourage the trend.
Whether that will stop people from trying to get attention and almost dying for views and followers is hard to tell. To combat The Tide Pod Challenge, we had to meet the stupidest of social media on their own terms and create pods that were actually safe to consume. Now, to stop The Nutmeg Challenge, we face an even greater obstacle: How to make a spice that’s already fine to eat in limited quantities turn back into something that we just sprinkle on eggnog and cappuccinos instead of dumping into our gorges online like idiots.
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