Some people ask me, “Rae, if you really think we’re not alone in the universe, why do you think aliens haven’t visited us yet?” Honestly, I’ve always thought it was because of our terrible tweets. But now I realize it’s because of ridiculous YouTube pranks in which people endanger themselves for fleeting internet infamy. The latest offender? This guy, who willingly cemented his head into a microwave.
As part of an “extreme Christmas calendar” stunt, 22-year-old British YouTuber Jay Swingler was challenged to “nearly die” — a dare he wholeheartedly accepted, for some reason. He filled a microwave with Polyfilla, a kind of putty used to patch up cracks in buildings. Predictably, the Polyfilla blocked his breathing tube and his friends had to call emergency services.
At least five firefighters and an ambulance rushed over to save Swingler’s life. While they did indeed rescue him, unsurprisingly, the team was pissed.
What Swingler did was seriously messed up for many reasons, most obviously being that he easily could have died. But his “prank” also involved an emergency services crew, who had to attend to his stupid stunt instead of helping others. Thankfully, the team was able to save Swingler, but who else potentially paid the price?
In a follow up tweet, West Midlands Fire Station Commander Simon Woodward described just how grueling it was to save Swingler. It took the team over 60 minutes to remove the microwave from the YouTuber’s head, and the fire department had to involve a “specialist technical rescue team” to help out, according to Woodward.
“What I’d like to do is remind everybody not to put their lives at risk for the sake of other people’s entertainment,” Woodward said — and rightfully so.
Unfortunately, Swingler’s video — which we are purposely not linking to in this article — has already crossed a million views on YouTube. The absurd stunt is another example of how the culture of the video sharing site encourages people — especially young people — to push themselves to dangerous limits for fame. It’s a toxicity that some would argue is practically coded into the site.
There’s really no great takeaway from this except the obvious: don’t cement a goddamn microwave to your head. Do literally anything else instead.