Hadley Winslow, Staff Writer, April 2020
Someone just try and tell me there’s something better than doing 19,836 pushups in one day and drawing carrots at a moment’s notice. These challenges spread faster than COVID-19. Across America, and even the world, dutiful citizens following the stay-at-home orders have taken to Instagram in a subpar attempt to combat boredom.
In an attempt to fully understand the nature of these positively riveting challenges, I thought I’d break them down one by one for you, starting with the most wonderful one of all, Bingo!
Oh, Bingo. Designed for people primarily aged 60+, this game took a surprisingly strong hold on members of Gen-Z, who took it upon themselves to create a 5x5 board for every sport they’ve played, school they’ve been to, or extracurricular they’ve been a part of. People literally came out of their months-long Instagram hiatuses purely to partake in a game of social media Bingo. Does that sound exciting? Of course, because your next best option is rewatching “The Office” for the ninth time.
It feels only right to next discuss perhaps the most famous of the challenges –– the pushup challenge. This is simultaneously an opportune moment for those of us with washboard abs to really show them off and an incredibly inopportune moment for those of us who can only do four pushups on our knees to highlight a lack of upper body strength. Mix in the fact that you’re instructed to nominate ten additional people to complete their pushups (using the phrase “see ten, do ten, send ten,” of course) and you’ve got a challenge that will simply overrun Instagram.
To motivate you while you’re doing the pushups, perhaps you’d like to play a song you added to your Spotify playlist from someone’s Pass the Aux challenge, otherwise known as the “Post a Cool Picture and Comb Through Your Entire Music Library to Find the Perfect Song to Accentuate Your Aesthetic Photo challenge.” I’m kidding. I’ve found a few new songs from this, so maybe this challenge can be categorized as “actually adding value to Instagram.”
The challenge that may fall under the exact opposite category, however, is “Until Tomorrow.” I woke up one morning to find my Instagram feed flooded with random low-quality pictures paired with variations of the caption “Until Tomorrow” (please note, tomorrow can be spelled “tmrw” or “tmr”). Truly, there is nothing better than 87% of your followers hopping on the “Until Tomorrow” bandwagon overnight. Oh wait. Want to know what is actually better? When the trend lasts for another night, or even two.
On a totally different side of things, there’s the “draw a carrot” challenge. To me, this just seems weird, albeit somewhat funny. You know when you’ve resorted to drawing vegetables on social media that times are tough. I’m sure most of you know what I’m referencing here, but when you see that chain of Instagram carrots get longer and longer, it just seems to perfectly parallel how long every single day in quarantine feels. Who knows, maybe it’s a really sophisticated metaphor for isolation and the longing for human connection?
If you’re thinking this list is kind of short (after all, I’ve only named five challenges), that’s because I’d be writing until the end of this quarantine if you asked me to overview each and every electric challenge that has popped up on Instagram recently. In the midst of pushups, Bingo, and passing the aux, we also had “See a Pup, Send a Pup” (which quickly morphed into “See a Pet, Send a Pet” for those who don’t have dogs), the Game Face Challenge, the Chain Reaction of Positivity and Kindness Challenge (read: every post that included a rainbow, sunflower, or smiley emoji), the Plank Challenge, and the Post What You’re Doing Right Now Challenge, to name a few.
Credit: The Nobleman Instagram
In all seriousness, I have to commend Generation Z (with a little help from Millenials) for their undeniable creativity during these unpredictable times. Even though Bingo, pushups, and carrots can’t magically make COVID-19 disappear, at least they can keep us entertained and raise our weekly screen time average by 43% until we can get back to posting our perfectly curated, highly anticipated content.