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A stupid, dangerous fad

Mar 04, 2014 11:15 am | Sam Macdonald

Over the last few weeks, I’ve seen an increase of short video clips popping up on Facebook, depicting my friends, and their friends filling glasses with beer and drinking it, while giving a short speech, nominating other people to do the same.

I thought little of it when I saw the first five or so, but after a while this popular, ritualistic approach to drinking caught my attention.

The trend is yet another internet fad, called neknomination. The word is a combination of “neck” (a slang word used interchangeably, and meaning the same thing as the word “chug”) and “nomination.”

It’s a challenge where a person pours and chugs a beer, and nominates friends to do similarly, in an online exhortation posted for everyone else to see.

If you have enough time to do something like that, you have too much time on your hands. I don’t do the whole chugging thing, so maybe that’s why I can’t identify. I prefer to savour my booze over a long time rather than gulp it down, as if it were a race.

Why befoul the caramel tang of an Irish red, or the palate-cleansing bitter of a nice pale ale, by spewing the suds out your nose and mouth as you choke on it, sloshing all of it down much more quickly than it was meant to be dunk?

At parties I shy away when people would break out the funnel, or stab a hole in the bottoms of their beer cans to “shotgun” their whole drink in seconds as it pours out uncontrollably. I can barely chug water – why would I want to do it with my beer?

Speaking of parties, that’s another reason I don’t understand the “neknomination” fad. This kind of thing isn’t going on just at parties. People are pouring and chugging themselves beer in the middle of the day – often by themselves. Call me a stick in the mud, but drinking in the middle of the day and bragging about it doesn’t sound like a lot lot of fun.

Maybe I’m a buzz-kill, but isn’t drinking alone in the middle of the day kind of an unhealthy and problematic behaviour?

Recently, the game has garnered a number of criminal charges and negative attention worldwide, because, as you might have imagined, people started upping the ante. What started as just pouring and chugging beer turned into something much more dangerous as people needed to take things one step further.

Some teenagers, eager to jump on the bandwagon, have been “neknominating” one another, tossing drinks down their gullets, with hardly a thought to the legality or safety of it all.

People have been criminally charged for performing bizarre stunts that include funneling beer while skateboarding down a freeway, and stripping in public places while downing drinks A man in Britain died because he thought chugging a couple of pints of beer wasn’t nearly as manly as guzzling the same amount of pure gin, mixed with teabags for flair.

The timeless desire to outdo others prevails as the stunts get increasingly dangerous. The more I hear and think about it, the less sense it makes to me.

My message to the “neknominators” of the world: Give your heads a shake and do something with your time worth bragging about.

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