Writer and editor Eleanor Penny posed a dangerous question this week to her Twitter followers. After tweeting that one’s “personal brand,,” or the way people market themselves online that’s become so cliche that the term is a Twitter-specific joke in itself, could be best summed up by the stupidest way they’ve accidentally injured themselves, the submissions starting rolling in.
Not only is the joke funny because we get to read all the various ways people have accidentally hurt themselves by volition of their own foolishness, but it’s even funnier to associate your bumbling mistakes with how you choose to share your skills and experiences on social media. Example: you’re a journalist and you once fell into a decorative koi pond and sprained your ankle while running after a source. (I’m not saying this happened to me, but I’m also not saying it didn’t happen to me.)
In an age of decidedly self-deprecating humor, it’s the perfect mash-up between millennial buzzword-isms and ironic meme shit-posting. Behold, just 22 of the best relies to Penny’s excellent question:
The anecdotes range from the unexplainable (how, exactly, does one end up punching their own face while reading a book?), to the absurdly nostalgic — lighting a pleather skirt on fire — to the jaw-dropping (nearly cutting your own eye out because you wanted to stash porn in your mattress).
In some cases, the responses spiraled down into a deep, dark hole of unintentional missteps. We don’t know how we got to dried palms in a coffee can on Ash Wednesday, but here we are, and we can’t go back.
This situation with Old Navy went from weird to … weirder. (Side note: this account isn’t verified as the real Old Navy customer service contact, but based on the user’s history, it seems pretty legit.)
Social media consumers are predispositioned to prefer content about other people hurting themselves — usually because of their stupidity, drunkenness, lack of foresight, or a combination of all three. For evidence, we point you to the subreddits r/yesyesyesyesno and r/holdmybeer, not to mention the thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of YouTube fail compilations.
We only wish most of these submissions had attached video footage.
Some tweets even utilized a spicy pun.
Why do so many of these entries have to with modes of transportation?
At least he didn’t imbibe the Tide Pod. Through his mouth, at least.
And Penny shared her own stupid mistake, which in this context, is actually pretty impressive.
This really sums it all up.
In the case of this self-deprecating Twitter trend, the people injuring themselves got to control the narrative, as opposed to the other kind of dangerous meme, where the viewers point and laugh.
With most of those foolhardy viral challenges, there’s a layer of poetic justice. Because really, how hungry are you for internet points that you’d jump out of a moving car?