How to guarantee hospitalization. No, it’s not about getting the Corona Virus by refusing to get vaccinated. It’s even more stupid than that, and a lot funnier.

     There appear to be no limits to people’s abilities to come up with methods of hurting themselves and, in addition, looking like total idiots on YouTube in the process.

     There’s a new viral sensation online. It’s called the “Milk Crate Challenge.     

    To successfully complete the milk crate challenge, you need 49 milk crates. These are relatively easy to obtain for those who live near grocery stores, where they tend to accumulate.        

You stack the milk crates into a pyramid-shaped set of “stairs” that reach up to seven milk crates high at the tallest point. You then attempt to walk up one side and down the other.

    At first glance, it seems easy enough, but as you climb, the pyramid quickly starts to wobble. If the climber begins to panic a bit, and who wouldn’t, the pyramid wobbles a little more. The average climber then tends to step upwards a little too fast and/or place their front foot a little off-center on a crate. The end result is an ignominious crash to the ground, accompanied by peals of laughter any observers.

     Most videos show this happening on grass, rather than on concrete, which is probably just as well. On the beach might be a slightly safer bet.

    There’s no doubt that one milk crate is sturdy enough to stand on. You may have even used one as a step ladder to reach a high light bulb in your home. This sort of makes sense, since a gallon of milk weighs about nine pounds, and four will fit in each milk crate, making each crate weigh about 36 pounds when full. So, milk crates on the bottom of the milk truck must be able to support a significant amount of weight pressing down from above. That would appear to make sense so far, right?

    What about supporting people? We can start with the crates themselves, which stack ingeniously using a slight “lip” at the bottom that slots into the crate below. This is an incredibly smart design, but the lip is really shallow. That means it works fine when the crates are either fully empty (with no one walking on top of them!) or filled with heavy milk, but the combination of slightly rounded edges on both sides means that there’s quite a bit of “give” in how the milk crates fit together. The more crates the more the amount of wobble. So, while two crates might not wobble much, seven crates certainly do, especially when they’re sitting on an uneven surface, like grass. Concrete might be a better idea!!!!!

     When someone attempts to walk across the highest milk crates in the stack, they’re applying weight, and a directional vector, to only the topmost part of the stack, which easily causes the entire row to fall over. Hence the hilarious videos, and the hospitalizations.         

    Psychology also comes into this process. At first, people tend to step gingerly o​​nto the first few crates in the pyramid. It’s easy to proceed at a slow pace, and place your foot carefully, when your other foot feels really sturdy on just one or two milk crates. But soon, the back foot starts to experience that wobble, which usually leads the person to rush upwards. Hurrying is the downfall, literally, of the milk crate challenge. Increasing the speed of your climb only worsens all of the factors that cause the stacks of crates to wobble and fall.

     It’s also harder to go down the other side than up the first side. Why, you may ask?

     Think about climbing up: you have one foot firmly planted, and that foot continues to hold most of your weight. You reach out with the other foot, which you plant firmly as you evenly lift your weight. It’s about as sturdy as it gets. Now, think about going down. Without the benefit of one firmly-planted foot supporting most of your body, your weight travels downward as you reach for a lower stair with your front foot. Your stable base on the way up has been replaced with one wobbling foot that isn’t even fully planted on the step anymore, when you’re going down.

     Isn’t this interesting? I’m sure you are about to rush to the grocery store in search of milk crates…and then off to the parking lot, or maybe the beach.

     So what’s the best way to tackle the milk crate challenge?

     Stay as calm as possible and walk as slowly and methodically as you can or, preferably, don’t accept the challenge in the first place.

     See you in Emergency!

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