You’re not always what you eat

Published 10:18 am Monday, March 12, 2018

It’s another sign that it’s 2018 and the world has gotten a little bit weirder.

By now you’re familiar with those squishy little detergent pockets you use to do your laundry. Well, if you follow the latest trends then you know people have, apparently, been consuming them, and I don’t mean by making soapy-like in the bubbly as your shorts and socks agitate from side to side.

No, for some people – millennials, mostly – they’re the latest dietary supplement, so to speak. Which begs the question, what happens if you eat a Tide pod?

You probably feel that indigestion coming on already just thinking about it, don’t you? Trust me, the end result is nothing pleasant, though I’m not speaking from experience.

By now you have probably also heard of the “Tide Pod Challenge”. That’s where a person who (foolishly) decides to take part in this challenge must film themselves biting down on one of those detergent packets. Then they can either swallow the contents or spit them out. This is where we are now in America, folks.

The Center for Disease Control warns us that once the contents from the packet seeps into a person’s mouth the chemicals contained within cause severe burns to the mouth and esophagus or respiratory tract. They also note that some children and older patients exhibited cognitive issues, and others have been rushed to the hospital or even died after ingesting the pods.

I mean, what do people do when they finish: wipe their mouths with a Bounce fabric-softening sheet?

I’m young enough to remember there was a time when people ate worms. Remember? Heck, in some parts of the world the squiggly little critters are part of a staple diet, and I don’t mean the sugar-coated multi-colored sweet-&-sour kind.

Then there’s the sad case of a then-19-year-old Australian rugby player who became a paraplegic after swallowing a garden slug whole on a dare at a birthday party.

Not only did he become seriously ill, but after hospital tests, doctors discovered that he was infected with rat lungworm, which resulted in an infection in the brain. Lungworms are typically found in rodents, but slugs can become infected if they consume the feces of rats that have eaten the worm. So, guess what happens when humans ingest them?  You get the idea: something a little more serious than a tummy ache.

This poor fellow spent three years in the hospital and now uses a wheelchair. He can’t control his body temperature and suffers from seizures.  All for what he and friends thought was a harmless bite of escargot.

Some people say we’re doing these things because there is a serious lack of happiness in the world. It’s getting harder and harder to find things that really bring people real joy.

What’s next on the menu? Those little silica packets they put in medicine bottles?

I really would just like to know why this caught on. I must be patently out of touch with some sort of new reality because I use these pods every time I do laundry and it hasn’t once occurred to me to eat one. Is this really what people will do just for some new Twitter followers?

Sorry, folks, but I guess I just don’t understand. I have, however, just come up with a great idea: why not a challenge where you go grab a burger, a sub, a hot dog, a taco, Aunt Sally’s greens and ribs, or something – anything – a little more nutritious?

But if you still want to take the Tide Pod Challenge, get a life! Go see a movie! Get out of the house! Just please, please, stop eating those dad-gum Tide pods. Here’s to your new haute cuisine, and it’s gluten-free.

Gene Motley is a Staff Writer at Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at or 252-332-7211.