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Standard Deviations: The absolute stupidest thing a human being could do

By Mark Saal standard-Examiner - | Jan 13, 2019

Remember when you thought the absolute stupidest thing a human being could come up with was the Tide Pod Challenge?

Not. Even. Close.

The Tide Pod Challenge, of course, was the foolish fad of about a year ago that dared the dumbest people on the planet to pop one of the brightly colored liquid laundry detergent packets into their mouth and chew it up. A few folks ended up in the emergency room over that one.

And yet, as incredibly moronic as eating a laundry detergent capsule is, there's an even more idiotic idea floating around these days -- known as the "Bird Box" Challenge.

This fad is based on the new Netflix film "Bird Box," starring Sandra Bullock. Five years after an unseen evil presence drives most of society to suicide, a woman and two children make a desperate bid to reach safety. The one catch: They have to complete the dangerous journey -- which includes running a river in a rowboat -- while blindfolded, to avoid exposure to the thing that wiped out society.

And so naturally, the "Bird Box" Challenge involves completing everyday life tasks while blindfolded.

Now, this latest challenge would be relatively harmless if the everyday life task happened to be "Take a Sunday afternoon nap," or "Watch an episode of 'The Great British Baking Show,'" or even "Wripe the resst of this semtence blimefolderd." But apparently, some Einsteins don't see these as enough of a true test of their sightless skills.

Last Monday, according to Layton Police, a 17-year-old girl was driving a pickup truck east on Layton Parkway when she decided to accept the challenge. She pulled her beanie down over her eyes and continued to drive. Or, at least, attempted to continue to drive.

As a police tweet summed up the ensuing events: "Predictable result." Namely, the girl drifted into oncoming traffic, sideswiped another vehicle and crashed into a light pole.

The only bright spot in all of this? No one was injured in the crash. Not the foolish teenager, not any passengers who may have been in her care, and not the unfortunate motorist who was on the receiving end of her deplorable lack of judgment.

Plus which, our intrepid teen is incredibly lucky there weren't any cyclists, or playing children, or mothers pushing strollers near the site of her challenge.

Of course, as much fun as it is to mock this teenager for her unsurpassed stupidity, plenty of us who consider ourselves much smarter than that still continue to do something that is only slightly less reckless than driving blindfolded.

Texting while driving.

According to government statistics, texting motorists are 23 times more likely to be involved in a vehicle crash. Cell phone use in vehicles leads to 1.6 million crashes annually, and distracted driving is blamed for more than 3,000 deaths and nearly 400,000 injuries a year.

What's more, studies have shown that despite the fact 98 percent of adults say they know texting and driving is wrong, 49 percent of us still do it. That's basically one-in-two Americans, or 50 percent of the vehicles on our roads.

Monday's accident in Layton was the first and only time I've heard of someone driving while blindfolded. But texting while driving? I see examples of that -- each and every day -- on my commute to and from work.

Considering all the righteous indignation society seems to be generating over this "Bird Box" Challenge story from Layton, we're surprisingly unconcerned about all those bird brains out there who think it's OK to text while driving. Which makes absolutely no sense to me.

Because when it comes right down to it, which do you suppose is both stupider and scarier: Sharing the road with that one teen in a million who would attempt to drive blindfolded, or sharing the road with motorists where there's a fifty-fifty chance they're texting on their phones?

Forget the "Bird Box" Challenge. Personally, I'm more worried about this Bird Brain Challenge.


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