If you search for “fire challenge” on YouTube, you’re going to find a slew of videos of kids (and some adults) trying to get naturally selected by dousing various parts of their bodies in some kind of quick-evaporating accelerant, like rubbing alcohol or hairspray and than lighting themselves on fire.
Because humans are the most intelligent creatures on Earth, sometimes they choose to immolate their chests, and other times it’s their scrotes, because if you want to risk burning something, it should probably be your balls, right?
Most of those videos end with the star of the show shaken up but unharmed (usually the accelerant burns off before the flames have a chance to burn skin) and everybody gets on to comment about how stupid the stunt was.
One Kentucky 15-year-old, though, didn’t come through unscathed. Don’t worry–he’s injured but not too seriously–but he’s nursing his pride alongside his second degree burns. He’s clearly a smart boy, since he seems to have a pretty good grasp of what happens when you mix rubbing alcohol with an open flame:
“I just poured alcohol on it, and lit it, and it just automatically went and burst.”
Someone futilely asked the question, “What were you thinking?” over at WKYT, to which he answered, ”I don’t know, I wasn’t thinking really.”
Truer words have never been spoken. I don’t know why we continue to wonder why the youths do stupid shit. Does no one else remember being a teenager and doing idiotic things without writing up a five-point plan beforehand or mapping out potential consequences? Because I do. Some of them involved fire.
I don’t love it when people go on and on about how these types of stunts are “sweeping the internet” and “exploding in popularity”, because I just don’t think that’s true. Yes, there’s a good amount of videos online of people doing it, but that always makes it sound like teenagers are hiding in basements and self-immolating in packs when really, most kids probably don’t find the idea of lighting themselves on fire appealing.
According to The Washington Post, the Lexington Police have asked child services to investigate the situation, which is a little bit baffling, because if there is one certain thing in this world, it’s that kids of a particular age are going to do idiotic, potentially dangerous stuff no matter how hard you attempt to supervise them. Then again, there could be something else going on that just hasn’t been made public. I will say that if a teenager being an idiot is grounds for investigation, we all might be doomed in a decade.