The Reluctant Townie: The turning of the Tide pods

The Reluctant Townie: The turning of the Tide pods

While the country seems to be genuinely shocked by the recent turn of events, I knew all along that it was only a matter of time before we started eating Tide pods.

In fact, it was in this very newspaper of record, on Nov. 27, 2016, that I admitted to the world, and to myself, that Tide pods looked "delicious as hell."

I also expressed my concern that its makers were too focused on implementing a narrow awareness campaign to discourage Tide-pod consumption amongst babies and toddlers, while ignoring the far-more-at-risk population of teenagers and adults who have both the means of transportation and the ability to open a line of credit to go all in on the Tide-pod experience.

Forget the babies — they have parents and teachers and hall monitors keeping an eye on them. Who was watching out for the grown-ups?

Between Tide pods and seductively colored automotive fluids, it is a wonder that I've survived this long. Truly. Every day of my life, I've had to wake up and make the conscious decision not to consume these saliva-inducing substances, despite their widespread availability. Every #TargetRun I make is a brush with death.

Why must these chemical manufacturers tempt us with their delicious colors?

Fun fact: The color blue rarely occurs in nature. The sky, for instance, is not actually blue, but only appears so because of sunlight particles being scattered by smaller air particles in our atmosphere.

Less-fun fact: The color blue raspberry only occurs in 7/11 slushies and antifreeze. And now, of course, Tide pods. Taste the rainbow. Or chug it in the parking lot of Autozone.

Mmmmm ... Just taking a moment to imagine an ice-cold jug of blue-raspberry windshield-wiper fluid on a hot summer day ...

Aaaaand, I'm back.

OK, let's talk about the Tide-pod challenge. Why is it happening now? Should you join the crowd and film yourself eating a Tide pod, then post it on the internet in perpituity? I suppose the real question is whether or not you can resist?

What does a Tide pod really taste like, anyway? Close your eyes, dear reader, and follow me on a culinary journey of the imagination, while I review the experience of chowing down on a Tide pod, so you don't have to. (OK, actually read ahead a little bit and then close your eyes, or else this isn't going to work.)

Tonight is the night ... Likes and subscribes await you ...

The first thing you notice is how sturdy the ziplock seal is on your brand new bag of Tide pods. It exudes an air of sophistication and luxury. The bag itself has a surprising amount of heft and crinkles under your fingers like a ground tarp.

You position your phone on the dryer, fine-tuning the angle of its front-facing camera while propping it up against a box of dryer sheets.

You crack open the bag to discover a cheery bushel of laundry pods laughing back at you, jiggling like a chorus of tiny, laughing Buddha bellies, filled to bursting with joy.

The overhead florescent light of the laundry room flickers, causing the pods to sear their facades into your retinas in the split second of darkness that follows. You will see them in your sleep ...

Your eyes focus on a pod. Its bulging pockets of mysterious blue and electric orange detergent sing a siren song to you, summoning the taste memory of poolside popsicles and orange cream soda intertwined in a delicious ecstasy.

Suddenly, you are parched beyond words. Your throat begins to burn and your neck muscles seize.

Why is it so hot in here? Are you sweating? Yes, you are sweating. Oh, wow, yes, you are sweating quite a bit. You really should have worn an undershirt ...

Your tongue turns to sandpaper and sticks to the roof of your mouth, and you panic; you've never been so thirsty in your life. Nearly 60 percent of the human body is composed of water, but your well is reading less than 15 percent.

And there are those Tide pods in your shaking hands, welcoming you, inviting you to quench your thirst in its deep saccharine reservoirs. Up close, the Tide pod's true nature reveals itself to you in a moment of clarity: It is a Gusher fruit snack of the highest caliber.

The words of Canadian teen heartthrob turned rapper most likely to be photographed in a turtleneck, Drake, echo through your head: YOLO.

"You only live only." Or is it "you only live once"? Who cares ...

Inhibitions fall away, and you grab a handful of laundry pods and catapult them at your gaping maw; a number of them collide with your face and fall sadly to the basement floor, but, alas — one makes it in!

You turn to face your phone and bite into the taught plastic bubbles of brightly colored detergent, applying pressure until your teeth tear into the plastic casing and burst the bubble.

Pop! Gush!

The pods are active. It's like a kaleidoscope of flavor just spilled onto your tongue, overwhelming your taste buds like an invading army.

Grateful tears pooling in your eyes, you run over to the dryer and grab your phone, beaming into the front-facing camera as orange-and-blue goo mixes together and dribbles down your chin.

"I dwiib iib!" You exclaim triumphantly. "I took dub tibe-pwob chwalgenf!!"

But in horror, you look down to see that you forgot to hit the button to begin live streaming your video. No one saw you eat a Tide pod. There will be no video record. There will be no likes! No subscribes! No retweets! You begin to wonder why you even did it all! What was the point?

Then you succumb to the poison. No one comes to your funeral, but as a consolation, at least half of them mark "Interested" on your funeral's event page.

Don't let this happen to you!

Ryan Jackson knows it's Tide pods today, urinal cakes tomorrow. Trust your instincts — unless your instincts are telling you to eat a urinal cake. Then never trust your instincts. Ryan can be reached at

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