“Every few weeks another challenge takes social media by storm… The latest, the ‘Tide pod challenge’… involves biting down on a brightly colored laundry detergent packet of any brand and spitting out or ingesting its contents, an act that poses serious health risks.”— New York Times, 1/19/18
Willy Wonka beamed at the lucky contest winners standing before him.
Each of the five children — Augustus Gloop, Veruca Salt, Violet Beauregarde, Mike Teavee, and, of course, young Charlie Bucket — had discovered one of Mr. Wonka’s infinitely-rare, solid-gold Tide pods. And now… they were about to go on the adventure of a lifetime!
“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls,” announced the whimsical Mr. Wonka with a broad grin. “Congratulations on winning a once-in-a-lifetime tour… of my fantastic Tide pod factory.”
The children clapped delightedly and Mr. Wonka continued.
“Within this factory, I promise that you will see many thrilling Tide-pod-related sights and delights. But before we begin, I must remind you that this tour has one, important rule…”
“Do not eat the Tide pods.”
The children paused. For a very long time.
Finally, Charlie Bucket replied:
“Please. Don’t eat the pods,” repeated Willy Wonka with a sudden, despondent weariness. The weariness of a man who had (all too quickly) grown deathly tired of repeating the same rule day in and day out. “I know they look colorful… but just… don’t do it. It’s dumb. It’s so dumb. Like. I can’t put into words how dumb it is. They’re clearly poisonous. I hate this fad. I hate it. I hate it so much—”
“Don’t worry, Mr. Wonka,” interjected young Augustus Gloop with a devious look on his face, “I definitely won’t eat one of those delicious, delicious-looking Tide pods.”
Against his better judgment, Willy Wonka decided to take Augustus’s words at face value. And then, grinning once more (although this time around, his grin was beginning to falter), Willy Wonka began the tour with gusto.
Opening up the factory’s tremendous 20-foot-tall doors, a blinding ray of blue & orange light erupted from the entrance like the flames of Vesuvius.
And the children gasped.
It was beautiful.
Inside, the factory looked just like a pristine, woodland valley. However, unlike most valleys, the one in Mr. Wonka’s factory had one notable difference…
This one was made entirely out of Tide pods!
Oh, the trees were Tide pods! The flowers were Tide pods! The snozzberries were Tide pods! Even the great, massive river that swept through the center of the Tide pod valley… it too was made up of thousands upon thousands of individual, slowly-rolling Tide pods!
“Welcome,” exclaimed Mr. Wonka, tipping his top hat jauntily, “to my fantabulous Tide pod factory!”
“Oh wow!” the children exclaimed delightedly, and then, with a flourish of his cane, Mr. Wonka began to sing:
In a Tide pod world
Life’s a tasty treat.
But, on the subject of things that are tasty,
Do you know what you shouldn’t eat?
Please don’t eat them.
They are poison.
I know they look tasty.
That’s on me.
Oh, I know it sounds crazy
I know that it sounds odd
But please, nobody eat
— WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING, AUGUSTUS?
At that, the group turned quickly, only to see young Augustus Gloop kneeling over the majestic Tide pod river, his mouth full to the bursting with those succulent-looking (but clearly poisonous) pods.
“Didn’t you pay attention to my song at all?!?” exclaimed Willy Wonka, as he ran frantically towards the river.
But either Mr. Wonka was too slow, the river’s current was too fast, or the Tide pods were made out of too many harmful chemicals… but, before you could say the word “scrumdiddlyumptious,” Augustus Gloop was pulled into the ever-flowing Tide pod river.
And he was never heard from again.
Mr. Wonka, stared sadly into the distance for a long time. Then he smiled again. But this time his smile was very clearly forced.
“Please children. I feel like I’m beating a dead horse here, but just… look. It’s really simple. I’m not crazy, right?”
“Don’t worry, Mr. Wonka,” interjected Violet Beauregarde with a devious look on her face, “I definitely won’t eat one of those delicious, delicious-looking Tide pods.”
Willy Wonka sighed wearily and, in the background, several of the factory’s Oompa Loompas began writing a song — a song about the hubris of man.