Friday, February 15, 2008

The 'choking game'

When Albert Einstein said the famous quote 'only two things are infinite: universe and human stupidity, but I'm not sure about the former', he couldn't have been more accurate in his observations. There are people out there who are constantly making great efforts to prove us that human stupidity is indeed infinite, and the creativity to show us that has no limits.

Today I heard about a game that is more stupid than any other game I've ever heard of in my life (yes, believe it or not, it is way worse than 'Are you smarter than a 5th grader?' or even than 'Subway jump'). The procedure of the game is easy: the 'player' intentionally suffocates or strangulates himself or herself (alone or with the help of another kid) to induce a loss of consciousness caused by the reduction of oxygen in the brain. The goal is to reach a state of euphoria or a brief high. This practice is commonly known as the 'choking game', although it is also known by other names such as the 'brownout game', the 'pass-out game', or the 'fainting game'.

Of course, the practice of this so-called game has had its consequences. A report by CBC indicates that 82 kids in the U.S., aged 6 to 19, have died in the last decade as a result of this amazingly idiotic pastime. Moreover, the activity has also spread to neighbouring Canada, where a few more kids have passed away trying to reach a 'high' that way. In most of those reported deaths, the 'player' was allegedly playing alone, however there are some skeptics who point out that the number of deaths is even higher, but those cases are not always reported. In any case, a study published in the U.S. concludes that the practice of the 'choking game' is on the rise, so we can expect to hear more about the game and its intrepid players who seek euphoria, and from time to time they find their own deaths in their pursuit.

I wonder if the kids who have died while playing the 'choking game' did indeed reach the state of euphoria that they wanted so badly. We will obviously never know. But, as those kids probably didn't receive any recognition for the achievement of their feat, I'd propose to give each a Darwin Award for their effort (and a honorable mention to all those who have played the game and lived to tell about it). Nevertheless, more seriously and more importantly, our education systems and moral values should be modified to avoid having children exploring extremely dark horizons.


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