A young professional’s take on the trials and tribulations of everyday life in New York City.

Kids today. What’s up with that?

Evidently, teenagers all over the Tri-State area and beyond have been making themselves sick by attempting a feat of endurance, daring, and crushing stupidity called “the cinnamon challenge.” To beat it, one must swallow a tablespoon of ground cinnamon without drinking any water. This leads to coughing, burning of the lungs, choking, gasping, and the realization that you probably would jump off the Brooklyn Bridge with the proper coaxing. Also, in worse case scenarios, pneumonia and asthma. Not to mention the worst case scenario, which is having a premature moment of self-conscious clarity in which you suddenly understand the bottomless pit of your own potential nitwittedness. Back away from the precipice. Easy, now.

True story: Kids in Pennsylvania have been caught smuggling jars of the spice into school in their boots.

Did everyone get that? Teenagers are smuggling illicit spices into school. Brain fail.

What ever happened to underage drinking? Don’t kids still have homework, extracurriculars, sports and mild-to-moderate drugs to do? The world is a very different place than the one I grew up in. And that wasn’t so long ago.

What’s next? Cumin? Vanilla extract? Before long, we’ll hear that everyone who’s anyone is sneaking in whole peppercorns in their pencil cases so they can crush them up and snort them in the bathroom between classes. Oh, by the way. It doesn’t feel good.

Concurrent to this revelation, reporters at The New York Times recently became aware of “new” linguistic trends among young girls, the most notable of which is an affectation called “vocal fry.” It’s that low, gravelly sound girls make with their voices when they say things like, “shut uuuuuuuuuup,” or “I’m like, so over it,” and “omg, I am tots gonna vom from chugging that cinnamon.”

Through what appears to be an unfortunate case of over-analysis, linguists on Long Island (obvs) seem to have elevated this trend to some sort of sophisticated system of social cues and interaction. Meanwhile, where I come from, it’s called “sounding like a jap,” and many of us have attempted to shed this habit in order to be taken seriously in places of business or on local television news.

As a similarly-afflicted friend of mine said, “this article is downright irresponsible.” Let’s call a spade a spade here before more girls become afflicted and innocent people get hurt. Some of us were born this way. Others can still be spared. I don’t want to see more teens imitating dangerous behavior they don’t understand, because it’s a path of low-to-no return. It’s too late for me. But you kids have your lives ahead of you! Learn from me, and the fact that after I’ve had one glass of wine, everyone within a three-mile radius goes, “wait, where are you from? Ooooooh, that makes sense.”

So what have we learned here today, children? Stop eating seasonings, and don’t believe everything you read. Okeeee, you cray-cray kids? Loves it!


Dear Readers: While I am rarely at a loss for words, I’m always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions and follow me on Twitter.

Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.

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