This week’s Out-of-Touch Guide is a potpourri of trendlets, memes, and terrible ideas. Young people are teaching each other questionable geography facts, “cleansing” their colons with saltwater laxatives, and buying 46-person lifeboats from strangers on Facebook. We’re leaving the world in good hands.
Is Misiveria a real state?
This week, kids on the internet have become fascinated with Misiveria. In case you forgot your lessons from geography class, Misiveria is located next to Missouri, along the Mississippi River. It was the 38th state admitted to the union, and its main exports are coal and corn. There’s something for everyone in Misiveria, whether you prefer the urban lifestyle of Gunter City, home of the Gunter City Bisons basketball team, or the slow pace of smaller towns like Skittle.
Fun Misiveria fact: There are more lawyers per capita in Misiveria than any other state.
Because it’s the internet, there are some weird conspiracy theorists out there claiming that Misiveria isn’t a real state. But if Misiveria isn’t real, how can it have a subreddit for its residents? How can it have a state website, a flag, and a state anthem? Leonardo DiCaprio was born in Misiveria, and he’s real. One of the most decisive battles of the Civil War, the Battle of the Gorge, took place on Misiverian soil, and surely you’re not saying the Civil War didn’t happen, right? For more fascinating Misiveria information, check out @jiddlez’s TikTok—he seems to be the internet’s resident expert on the state.
BeReal is getting so popular that everyone already hates it
Social media platform BeReal is having a moment. It’s grown in popularity so much that everyone now hates it. The draw of the platform—sharing candid, unposed, spontaneous photos taken at random times—just isn’t everyone’s favorite way of relating to their online pals. “I don’t want to BeReal” memes are growing in popularity as user report the things that they’d rather be doing than being real, like working from home or #DrinkingWineAndListeningtoMidnights.
There is definitely something recursive and annoying about people being performatively genuine online, especially given that people are apparently working hard to make epic BeReal posts that are as fake as the fakest insta-snap. We all know that if everyone’s BeReal was actually real, it would be filled with pictures of you looking at pictures on BeReal.
Salt water flushes, the latest bad idea from TikTok
Maybe it’s inevitable on a platform with a billion users, but the well of bad ideas never runs dry on TikTok. This week’s inadvisable activity is called the salt water flush. It works like this: You mix a couple tablespoons of non-ionized salt (usually the Himalayan pink salt, to be fancy) into a liter or so of warm water. Then you chug it down and wait, and quickly discover why they say never to drink sea water.
Over 14 million people have checked out the hashtag, where proponents promise drinking salt water every morning will make you lose a ton of weight, flush out your colon, and rid your intestines of “bad bacteria” or whatever.
As you’ve probably guessed, this is all bullshit. Drinking a powerful laxative to give yourself diarrhea will clean out your colon without a doubt, but it will also rapidly dehydrate you, and can result in nausea, weakness, and vomiting. There’s just no reason to flush your colon, or flush your anything, on a regular basis. Plus, all these TikTokers will be doing something similar when they’re old enough for a colonoscopy anyway.
Smile.jpg is trending, but do not look at it
We’re rapidly approaching Halloween, but it doesn’t feel like it. I don’t know about you, but I’m noticing a distinct lack of Halloween-related cultural activity in the air. Maybe we’ve collectively decided that the grinding horror of everyday life is enough without thinking about draculas and Freddy Kruegers every five seconds. But then there is Smile Dog.
The terrifying tale was born on Reddit’s “Creepy Pasta” forum, when user balazse54 told the “true” story of a haunted image called either “smile.jpg” or “smile.dog.” The image shows a “dog-like creature…illuminated by the flash of the camera,” that “sits in a dim room, the only background detail that is visible being a human hand extending from the darkness near the left side of the frame.”
According to the story, once you see smile.dog, you never stop seeing it, whether you’re awake or dreaming.
The story was posted six years ago, but it has an eerie power that makes it stick around to fascinate people. Videos on the smile.dog hashtag have over 180 million views on TikTok, with users adding to the story, or posting spooky videos of their own encounters with the ghastly beast. Oh, and some people are using the tag to post pictures of actual smiling dogs.
Viral video of the week: I Bought A 64 Person ENCLOSED LIFE BOAT Off Facebook Marketplace!!
There’s a cool subgenre of YouTube videos in which people buy preposterous things to show them off, like abandoned houses, personal submarines, military tanks, and $5 million Pokemon cards. In this week’s viral video, YouTuber AYO Fishing buys a 64-person lifeboat from Facebook Marketplace.
The lifeboat began its existence as a rescue device on an offshore oil rig, and it’s bigger than my house. That’s cool enough, but the reason I’m in love with this video is the relationship that develops between the buyer and the seller. I’m an urban person to the core, but it’s nice to live vicariously through people who lead totally different kinds of lives, lives in which fishing is really important, everything moves slowly, and you might end up buying a huge lifeboat from an 80-year-old cowboy who still flies his own plane and casts spells on traffic lights while he drives. I can’t wait for future videos, where we might actually see the lifeboat in the water!