A TALE OF TIDE PODS
It’s 2 a.m. and I’ve been studying for hours, holed up in a dark room with only a table lamp and a space heater to provide warmth. I’m cold, tired, hungry… I need a snack.
In the barren silence of nighttime, I find myself drawn toward the laundry room, the room in which the most delectable of forbidden fruits lie. I enter, and with a hesitant hand, I pop open the container and marvel at the contents within, succulent gems with a glazed sheen glistening in the light. I reach for one and slip it into my mouth. A burst of flavor greets my palate (Is that blue raspberry? Mango? Denatonium benzoate?) as the orange and blue juices of the Tide Pod burst out of its clear capsule. Absolutely delightful.
Just kidding. I’ve never eaten a Tide Pod. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to — and I’m not alone. There were 39 cases of teenagers intentionally doing exactly what my earlier fantasy detailed — you know, popping a Tide Pod into your mouth — and this was only for the first 15 days of 2018, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
I like to think of myself as a fairly reasonable person. I make a point to weigh pros and cons, I pay attention to facts and figures and I’m not easily swayed by trends. But I also don’t really like being told what to do, so when countless media outlets and health centers (read: The Man) started screaming at me to not eat Tide Pods… Well, excuse me, I’ll decide for myself whether or not to eat Tide Pods.
Intellectually, it’s a no-brainer. But my reptile brain just can’t help thinking about what they might taste like. Every time I have to do laundry, I don’t dwell too long on it, lest the temptation of pan-fried Tide Pods, baked Tide Pods, broiled Tide Pods and sous-vide Tide Pods overtake my imagination. I mean, they’re probably delicious, right? Juicy, fruity, sweet? After all, they look like the brightly colored treats of my childhood — what with the same razzle-dazzle blue signifying a blue raspberry flavor and a squishiness indicating a treasure trove of gushy deliciousness. And eating too much of anything will kill you, right?
Unfortunately, one Tide Pod is already too much and they probably wouldn’t taste like the fruity wonderland of my dreams. In fact, they would probably taste like something that will cause me a trip to the ER, as I slowly die lying in the ambulance wondering to myself, how is it that someone with such haughty views on food, someone who once spent $300 on a meal for herself, someone who runs a slightly obnoxious food Instagram, how is it that my last meal on the mortal plane was a Tide Pod? If I’m not safe, no one is.
I’m not planning on eating a Tide Pod anytime soon (or ever, hopefully, but you never know). Even with the temptation and the down-with-authority teenager side of me telling me otherwise, Tide Pods are health hazards and will cause a multitude of extremely unpleasant symptoms, like vomiting, choking, even death.
So, fine. Whatever. The Man wins this time. But not really, because as famed American philosopher Jaden Smith says, “Dying is MainStream #MONEY.”
By Areeya Tipyasothi,