April Foolio-ishness

April Foolio-ishness

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This post was originally published on April 2, 2014.

Wow. What will the kids think of next? I’m really hoping nothing, as the Scottish-born April Fools’ Day tradition as of late—known as “Foolio”—has crossed the pond and gone viral. And apparently it’s killing people.

Okay, What Is Foolio?

If you happen to be one of these tragically un-hep cats that doesn’t have their finger on the pulse of the latest tomfoolery within the drinking culture (in other words, if you are like me), I think Foolio can be best described as a homeopathic concoction that has turned Russian Roulette into a drinking game.

Here’s how it works: Each drink is handcrafted and unique to its creator: containing anything from horseradish to horse blood, fennel to feces, rusty nails to rancid meat, but always mixed with some kind of alcohol and/or narcotic like opium, ecstasy or liquefied heroin. The recipe possibilities for Foolio are limitless, as are the opportunities to have a heart attack or an allergic reaction and die—like 17-year-old Daniel Preston of London who collapsed in his chemistry class after ingesting one of these mystery drinks and never woke up. Or the promising student from Akron, Ohio who went to a friend’s house to “practice chess” and was found tweaked out on horseradish seeds and getting’ cozy in a pile of rotten alligator meat.

Severe Growing Pains

Adolescence is hard—really hard—and peer pressure is no different now than it was when we were kids but the players and pieces \ have changed. And while the Foolio phenomenon is highly disturbing, it’s just another glaring example of the extreme lengths kids will go to get out of their own heads. I can very much relate to this desire but when I was 13 years old, I was lucky enough to be living in a place and during a time when my friends led the way to frog licking and banana peel huffing, not bath salt-laced shit smoothies or smoking Ethiopian Sumatra out of a crack pipe. Still, I can tell you without doubt that if my friends had been doing that, I would have, too.

So looking at this as an age-old problem, how do we help? Talking to kids about drugs has never hurt anyone but adults should be sure to do a little research on the most effective approach before barging into a teen’s bedroom demanding answers. And they certainly don’t have to wait until a kid comes home in a Nazi-embroidered tutu serenading the family with Wicked show tunes to have the conversation. There are literally 68 million articles on how to talk to kids about drugs (seriously, Google it; it’ll take exactly .57 seconds). But most importantly, perhaps, parents should be on the lookout for telltale signs. As David McCartney wrote in a previous piece, by the time kids are nine or 10 years old, they may be exhibiting all manner of at-risk behaviors, including drug and alcohol abuse and children who are going to disengage from formal learning present show as much early and often.

Keeping Tabs on Foolio

As for the signs that a kid might be drinking Foolio, you can always take the advice of the author of this Vice piece on it (Eugene P. Darling, a former FBI agent and author of Children of the Korn: How America’s Young People Are Turning to the Dark Side Thanks to Sex, Drugs, and Rock ’n’ Roll)

A clear warning that your child may become involved in Foolio is if he or she begins practicing Satanism, especially organized Satanism. If a teen gets involved with Satanist rituals, Satanist book sales, Satanist soup kitchens, and Satanist online dating sites, contact law enforcement immediately.

Sounds like some sound, un-Satanic advice.

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About Author

Danielle Stewart is a Los Angeles-based writer and recovering comedian. She has written for Showtime, E!, and MTV, as well as print publications such as Us Weekly and Life & Style Magazine. She returned to school and is currently working her way towards a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. She loves coffee, Law & Order SVU, and her emotional support dog, Benson.