Just a few short weeks ago, my life was completely different. Now, I am a better person, for my life has been inexorably changed - I am a new human, a different being, I am enlightened. This is because, last month, my flatmate said, “Have I ever showed you the video of Mike Parry doing the cinnamon challenge?” and I said, “No, Whatsapp me it”.
Look, I understand I’m behind the proverbial ‘times’ here - this is a seven-year-old video, but I had never seen it before, and it might surprise you to learn this of me, but: I have not seen every single video on the internet. So I sat back to watch what I assumed would be a funny, but ultimately forgettable clip. Oh how wrong I was.
Oh my fucking hell how unutterably wrong I was. This video reduced me to a pile of trash; a vibrating, leaking, shrieking jelly of godless nonsense, unrecognisable as a functioning adult male. This video was funny on another scale - I was immediately and cripplingly obsessed with it.
Would you like to watch it? I think you would. This is Mike Parry, sports radio journalist, eating a big spoon of cinnamon and absolutely exploding in HD:
I cannot tell you how many times I have watched this video - it’s at least twice a day, and it’s been about a month since I first saw it. I am not bored with it, this video is a part of my life now, it will be mentioned in my will, I may even attempt to marry it - it is as much a part of my being as the lifeblood that courses through my veins. I love it so much. Here’s what I see every time I pick up my phone:
Then I’ll give it a little unlock with the old thumb print, there, and:
And that makes me laugh every day - every time I open my phone, there he is: Mike Parry and his blocked throat, fighting for his life, hooting and pooting to High Heaven.
This video has everything, it is a perfect video. Is there a video on the internet that has a better build-up than this? No, is the answer - the confidence on display is of superhuman levels - Mike Parry, relatively old man, in his garden, absolutely cussing out all “these *ugh* younger people than me”, an unshakable peacock-dance of fearlessness. Mike Parry, everyone, saying “I bet you I won’t even baulk, OK? I won’t even baulk because I’ve been trained to take pain.”
Michael Alan Newton-Parry loudly and brazenly proclaiming that he’s “faced worse than tablespoons of cinnamon in my life,” when, actually, he hasn’t, has he, because I would wager that immediately following this statement, he realises that that tiny little metal receptacle filled with powder is in fact his greatest adversary. His reaction is so horrendously extreme - it is an absolute rollercoaster of death rattling. Imagine if he had actually died at the end of the video? It would be the most shocking and distressing clip on the entire internet - it would ruin your life. As such, he thankfully doesn’t, and it is therefore the funniest - and it has made mine.
This intro is essential - it’s a flawless precursor to what is to proceed it. It’s like the bit in John Wick where they set up how absolutely badass he is, and it gets you all pumped for how many bad guys he’s going to kill. Only in John Wick, it’s justified, because he absolutely follows through on the threats and praise. Mike Parry does the opposite - he could not contradict himself more with his post-speech display.
This is the moment where he realises that he has made a big mistake:
It’s those eyebrows that give it away. “Oh dear,” Mike thinks, and up go the eyebrows, “I have killed myself for likes.”
And then follows a cacophony of guttural yelps and roars - Mike Parry has transformed into a newborn calf, spluttering and gasping for air, desperate to live. Unfortunately though, there’s a thick slab of rock-hard cinnamon sealing up his gullet, and it’s steadfastly punching the air right back out of his terrified mouth.
Look at this poor man, look at the fear in his eyes, look at the dust on his lips:
Imagine if his head actually exploded. Imagine if, after all that bravado, Mike Parry jammed a mound of cinnamon into his mouth and after 15 seconds of looking like that bloke who goes outside on Mars in Total Recall, his head just popped.
Cinnamon - “some sort of a powder that you put into cakes and it makes them taste nice” - has exploded his head. Too much flavouring in the neck, you’ve put too much flavouring in and you’ve blown up your own head, Mike. Watching this video, it’s hard to see any other reasonable conclusion. The only people who have displayed this extent of visible distress are ones whose heads have exploded immediately after.
And then the narrative shifts: “EEH, WATER *spoon drops* BLEAUYRGH.” He blurts it forth, using up all of his rapidly dwindling air - gets it out as quick as possible - and drops that damn spoon, because I’m guessing here, but I reckon he doesn’t want to do another mouthful. Hard to move a spoon up your face if you’re literally dead.
For you see, what Mike is demonstrating at this juncture, is panic in its truest form:
You’ve never seen a single person be this frantic, this confused, this blocked - he’s stumbling about, hands flailing about like Mr Tickle, head redder and hotter than the inside of a volcano. Mike Parry is having a very tough time of it, and so are you, because you are laughing so hard that you’re finding it as difficult to breathe as him.
Once Parry has his lifeline, it’s time for the next stage of this heaven-sent video to kick into gear: the gargling zone. He hocks back that water like a lost desert-traveller with heatstroke at an oasis, but instead of swallowing (he literally can’t, remember), he jacuuzis the hell out of that spice, and it leads to a collection of the most unholy sounds a human being has ever made.
Imagine hearing this outside your bedroom window in the middle of the night.
That last sound is one of the most terrifying retches I’ve ever encountered - it is a deleted scene from The Exorcist, it is a demon serpent, arising from the very deepest depths of hell, evil spitting forth from its jaws, acid staining the air. It’s either that, or noted journalist Mike Parry, trying to dislodge a plug of cinnamon from his neck. Whatever it is, it’s a nightmare in aural form.
Have you ever tasted anything so bad that you’ve had to take your glasses off?
Mike Parry has. THE GLASSES ARE SUFFOCATING ME, I’M GOING BLIND THE CINNAMON IS MAKING ME GO BLIND AND MY NOSE IS GONE ALL HOT PLEASE HELP I MUST DOUSE MY FLAMING HEAD IMMEDIATELY. So he does. He’s eaten some cinnamon - something he was confident wouldn’t even make him baulk, remember - and now he has taken his glasses off because his head is getting so boiling hot that if he doesn’t wash it it will burst into flames. This is the world’s greatest overestimation in action.
And then it’s time for my second favourite gargle - in which Mike channels his inner wolf and absolutely howls at the moon with snarling urgency:
He’s forgotten he’s on camera hasn’t he? He’s absolutely all over the place: he is the T-1000 when it gets chucked in the molten metal at the end of Terminator 2.
Then after a mini-lifetime of pain, after calling directly for God’s assistance, he is finally able to talk to the camera, and oh my god, he says this:
“I’m glad I did the challenge. I thought I bore up better than some of the people I’ve seen.”
IT IS THE MOST EXTREME REACTION THAT EXISTS ON THE INTERNET, MIKE.
It is the best and worst reaction to anyone eating cinnamon, ever - the only way to beat it would be if his head exploded.
You might be thinking, at this point, that it’s the perfect ending to a fantastic video, but hoooo boy is there a twist at the end. Perhaps my favourite part of the entire ride (I’ve thought about this a lot, btw) comes straight after that previous statement, for in he goes with one final gargle, and he just absolutely loses it - spit everywhere, veins bulging, head vibrating at 200 bpm. Just watch it again (it comes in at 3.05), it is sublime:
This is not the face of someone who has “bore up better than some of the people I’ve seen”:
Thank you Mike Parry. I will watch this video every day until I die. Thank you for giving me the greatest gift I have ever received, I shall forever be in your debt.
I shall think of you whenever I hear my new ringtone: