After my morning walk one day I fixed a breakfast drink to which I add cinnamon and honey to kill the taste. The plastic shaker attachment on the cinnamon bottle had come off with the cap and was stuck inside. This has happened before and it’s always an annoying process to separate the two and reattach the shaker piece. I decided to forgo this exercise in futility and just tap a bit of the cinnamon into my hi-tech mixer, a 12-ounce Mason jar. Floof! What must have been at least a teaspoon of the russet-colored spice jettisoned into the jar on top of the drink powder. Though a little shocked at the amount of cinnamon mounded inside the jar, I thought, “Oh, well, it’ll mix in,” and proceeded to pour in the honey, then the milk.
I stirred the mixture with a spoon to loosen the lumps, screwed on the lid, and gave it all a good shake. Taking off the lid I saw that most of the cinnamon had instantly floated to the top. “Oh, well. What can it hurt?” Uh-huh.
I began to drink the stuff straight from the jar—Why dirty another glass, right?—when that first swallow started me choking. I coughed and coughed. And coughed and coughed! This went on for about a minute until my affected innards stopped convulsing. By then even the dog was looking worried. I got a spoon and skimmed the cinnamon flotsam from my drink and dumped it onto a napkin. I stirred the modified concoction some more and gradually finished it without further incident—except for some that I spilled in my lap.
All this put me in mind of the news story I saw recently about the “cinnamon challenge” currently making the rounds on the Internet, especially on the video-sharing site YouTube. This idiocy consists of people (primarily teen-agers—who else?) attempting to swallow a teaspoon or tablespoon (reports vary) in 60 seconds without using any liquid. The results of this experiment, as revealed in the videos—more than 30,000 on You Tube—are all typical: Young people become human exhaust pipes, spewing clouds of cinnamon powder while bent over coughing, wheezing, and gasping for air. The goldfish-swallowing fad of the 1930s seems mild—if slimier—by comparison. (To me, though, the more sophisticated non-fads of downing caviar, sushi, and raw oysters are just as likely to activate my gag reflex.)
As for the “cinnamon challenge” there are conflicting opinions on the health hazards of indulging in this uncooked, single-ingredient recipe. Judging by my own semi-inadvertent experience, I wouldn’t care to risk it. Furthermore, I wouldn’t want the humiliation of having it videotaped and sent out over the Internet for all the world to see.
On my office bulletin board is a yellow metal button I found in a card shop years ago. On it, printed in red, is this message: “Being stupid takes a lot of pressure off of you.” I guess it’s true. People who engage in stunts like the “cinnamon challenge” (on purpose yet) apparently don’t feel any pressure to avoid such questionable behavior and certainly not the humiliation of looking stupid in front of billions of people—in cyberspace—forever!
There must be better ways to spice up one’s life.
© 2012, The Wit’s End Scribbler