Andy Warhol once said that “in the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes”. Today the digital era is close to proving Warhol right in many ways. The average person is now so desperate for their stories, photos, and videos to go viral that they will do anything to be seen. TikTok is the latest craze in video social media and follows in the footsteps of Instagram Stories, Vines and many others that came before. While we are growing increasingly numb to the insane lengths people have been willing to go for a few seconds of fame, we were still shocked when we saw one video of a man’s bathroom exploits clogging the sewage system in his whole neighborhood.
Cyril Schreiner was recording a TikTok video as he often does. This time he had a fun idea. His plan was to place small balls called Orbeez in his bathtub. The strange balls are as small as sand to begin with but when placed in water they expand to be the size of marbles. His idea was working well as the small balls filled the tub entirely. That was when stupidity entered the arena.
Rather than empty the strange balls into a bin Schreiner decided to take the plug out of the bath and let the balls enter the sewage system. He knew things had gone wrong when the same small balls started to appear from his toilet. More balls had expanded in the sewage system and had started to come back out of the toilet and sink.
Schreiner later said that he received a letter in the mail that informed many residents that the sewage system had been blocked by the balls. It appears that he had not just caused issues in his own system but in the entire neighborhood!
The video went viral with over 16 million viewers on TikTok and many more across the multiple social platforms that Schreiner used to tell the story. If someone was looking for the perpetrator, he would have been easily found. Some people were suspicious of his stupidity though. To lack the common sense to empty the contents into a bag does require a particularly low level of intelligence. The fact that someone who clearly craves viewers would happen to have the video rolling to record his silly day does make you a little less trusting.
Some people have chipped in with plumbing knowledge to say that there is no sewage system where houses are all linked and it would be impossible for his stupidity to impact the whole neighborhood. When Schreiner tried to clean up his mess with a vacuum and that started to go on fire, we too started to doubt his honesty.
But no one should never let the truth get in the way of a good story and Schreiner certainly gave us that. His story and alleged stupidity entertained the world for roughly 15 minutes. The video shines a light on the TikTok generation that is so eager to excite the world with their viral videos. In one sense it is an amazing evolution of media as the consumers are taking it back into their own hands. Today more views go on viral videos than they do on broadcast television or movies. Some of the biggest influencers in the world make more money than Hollywood actors. On the other hand, it also shines a light on the dangers of an idiot with a camera. It appears that many people will go to extreme and stupid lengths to grab their moment in the sun. If it only got as bad as a clogged toilet, that would be fine, however, we fear things will get far worse before something is done.