Forty Bells

Welcome to a new month of Noose Ends! This week, I wanted to talk about something I’ve seen a ton of online. Dumb videos. Perhaps I took a harsh look at it as opposed to a hard one, but I just can’t see the point of putting yourself in physical harm just for the sake of a laugh. I don’t think any joke is worth it.

I want this to be a conversation, though. I don’t want you to just soak it up and read it like I’m some kind of all knowing being. I want to know what you think. So let’s talk about it! Comment your opinion on the topic of dumb videos and lets have a conversation.

You’ve likely seen a movie at some point in your life about war. Generally in those movies, especially ones that involved bombings you have probably heard the alarm that rings when a bomb is about to fall. That ominous horn that sounds when a disaster is imminent. Afterwards, in this hypothetical movie I’m talking about, when the disaster is over you’ll likely hear the sounds of a slow orchestral piece of music playing in the background with twinkling bells that remind you of the peace the characters once felt before their worlds spun out of control. If you know what I’m talking about, you’ll know what I’m talking about when I talk about the bells.

By that, I mean the bells of ignorance.

So many people today are influenced by the voice of technology. The low hum turned into a vibration of the phones in our pockets, the televisions on our entertainment centers and the computers in our offices. That influence is everywhere. No matter where we go, we are embraced by the cold grasp of technology and the need to be connected. That connection has created within us a new kind of desire, to be seen. I exhibit that desire through my blog and my business, others through social media presence or YouTube channels, through Vine or through any number of the other outlets for us online.

We have a tendency to develop these new personas on the internet that aren’t wholly us. Which leads to us bifurcating our own lives into two parts. There is the real us that lives day to day, that works wherever and has to eat and sleep. Then there is the avatar that takes our place in the world of the internet. Always hungry, never tired, relentlessly looking for attention or purpose.

If we care for that creation as we care for ourselves, we can use it to create a healthy voice online that we can then use to reach out and do good with. We can take the platform we have built and choose to do something for someone else as an act of selflessness. We can guide those who are lost or who have questions about things we hold the answers for. We can come together in unity and produce something beautiful into the world.

Alternatively, there is the other version of us. The online icon that we don’t think about. The one that influences our physical form so that we can garner attention or views or page clicks. Every internet personality gives into their avatar to an extent. They all have to do what they have to do to make it in the ridiculous world that we have created for ourselves. Often, this comes in the form of viral videos of people doing really dumb stuff.

The other day, I saw a video of a man who strapped like, 400 firecrackers onto his bare chest and lit them all. Why? I have no idea. My guess would be so that he could secure some kind of immediate internet fame. Maybe he did it because his kink is explosives. It’s anybody’s guess.

I watched this video, and over the course of my life have seen hundreds more that depict people doing stupid things for the attention of the internet. Which baffles me, because the internet, while powerful and massively influential, doesn’t actually give us any credibility. I say that lightly, because I have friends who have made careers off of online jobs and I follow popular YouTubers and the like because of the impression that they have made of me, so before I continue in I want to emphasize that the internet crowds don’t have to matter to you, unless you want them to matter. In which case, we are then subjecting ourselves to billions of people who will watch us do just about anything if it secures them a chuckle, a hearty laugh, or even a droplet of rage to soak into their skin.

Today on the blog, I could talk about plenty of things. But above all I set out to talk about a specific thing. People who do dumb things for no reason. Just for the sake of doing dumb things.

I guess that saying it is for “no reason” is false, rather, there are thousands or hundreds of thousands of people who are attempting to do dumb things online and in real life to get a cheap laugh. I respect their desire to want to be funny, but consider something. How many times have you watched someone online do something potentially dangerous just for the sake of making a joke that you only chuckled at?

Strapping firecrackers to your naked chest.

Prank wars that turn sour. Like the guy who put snakes in his girl’s bed and she got her revenge by lighting 800 firecrackers in his bed while he was sleeping and then blowing his eardrum because of the explosions.

Every single new “challenge” that has come out that only serves as a way to distract us from our everyday lives. The hard hat challenge that we use to watch people slam hard hats onto their heads. The cinnamon challenge from a few years ago where we watched people nearly choke from eating a bunch of dry cinnamon powder. The gallon challenge, which resulted in a bunch of kids puking gallons of milk everywhere.

The gallon challenge reminds me of something else, the fad a while back that I don’t understand, which involved taking two milk jugs from a supermarket shelf and slamming them onto the floor as hard as they could.

The knockout challenge. Disgusting.

There are so many more, but I am running out of space to get to my point. As a people. We are short sighted. By and large we look at what is immediate and not much further past that. Especially in our youth, and especially my generation. We want so badly to be noticed we will go to extreme lengths to find some kind of attention on the internet, which in turn will give us attention in real life. This is the sound of horns screaming at us. Warning us that we are wasting our time.

I hardly browse Facebook or Twitter anymore because my timelines are filled with videos of people doing dumb things with no actual motive. They just want to do dumb things seemingly to do dumb things. I don’t understand the concept behind it, but I know what will happen.

We are cheapening our own selves. By all means, do dumb things if that is what you like to do, but don’t put yourselves into physical danger because you want a laugh. That’s a dangerous road that you can slip down from. Especially if true harm comes to you. Looking back at the past few weeks, the guy who has burns all over his body from the firecrackers, and the guy who had his ear drum blown because of firecrackers. The guy who completely shattered both of his feet because he jumped off of a building and into a swimming pool? There has to be something that you are seeking. I understand. I am seeking those same things too. I have to listen to my avatar more than I’d like, because of my position and my own personal goals. That doesn’t mean I am going to let the internet guide my decisions down that road. That is absolutely silly.

You have the ability to bring joy, or laughter, or inspiration to people. Don’t keep doing these things through the sounds of the horns that scream at us that we only have limited time. At the end of the day, do we really want to be remembered for stomping on a shovel and landing a hard hat on our head? When in reality, we can be remembered for so much more.

The bells will ring for every single one of us. I hope that when your screen fades out and you shut your phone off forever, your avatar and your actual body can be remembered for good things. Not for things you did without a purpose. I hope that when the bells ring for all of us, we can say the same thing as well. That includes myself.

If you enjoyed this, please like it and share it! For more information about my blog, my poetry, my novels and starting next week, my YouTube channel, check out my Facebook + Twitter pages and give them a follow. You’ll get updates on all the cool stuff I’m doing there and we can reach out to one another and keep talking. I learn things from you, my readers. So lets combine our knowledge and leave today having learned something new!

If you’re interested in reading more, specifically fiction, my book “Mean Shadows” is available now on my website (all copies come signed!) If you would like a blank copy, you can pick up the book on Amazon as well. It is 26 short stories that set up the situations for a handful of characters I will be writing about for the next while. I hope that when you pick it up, you love it! I worked on that book for two years, and it is the piece I am most proud of to date.

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