The Sunshine State has a reputation for fostering a unique brand of news stories that usually involve guns, drugs, booze, or reptiles — often in startling combination — which is what makes the popular ‘Florida Man Challenge’ so amusing.
The challenge asks people to search the internet for the phrase ‘Florida Man’ followed by their birthday to find out what wacky headline pops up. Then, they must post the result on social media much to the delight of others.
Taking over the internet: The ‘Florida Man Challenge’ asks people to search the internet for the phrase ‘Florida Man’ followed by their birthday to find out what wacky headline pops up
Claim to fame: The Sunshine State has a reputation for fostering unique news stories that usually involve guns, drugs, booze, or reptiles, often in startling combination
Twitter user @g_pratimaaa encouraged people to get in on the fun on Tuesday when she tweeted: ‘EVERYBODY google “florida man” followed by your birthday (florida man august 22) and tell me what you get. mine is Florida Man tries to attack neighbor with tractor [sic].’
After the post went viral, she explained that the idea came from @gandalfsoda, who had posted it on Tumblr.
While she was happy to give credit where credit was due, her post has received more than 70,000 comments from people who were all too eager to share the wacky events and crimes that were reported on their birthdays.
‘This is the most Floridian thing I’ve ever read in my life LMFAOOO,’ one woman gushed after sharing a screengrab of a headline that read: ‘Florida Man Arrested Over Wendy’s Drive-Thru Gator Toss.’
Start of it all: The challenge went viral after Twitter user @g_pratimaaa encouraged her followers to try it
Giving credit: She later explained that the idea came from @gandalfsoda, who had originally posted it on Tumblr
Loving it: Thousands of people have taken to Twitter to share screengrabs of the headlines that popped up on their birthdays
A-list fan: Even singer John Legend go in on the fun and shared his search results
Another person revealed that their birthday headline was: ‘Florida Man dumps cup full of semen on woman at Panera Bread.’
Even singer John Legend got in on the fun, sharing a screenshot of his Google search, which brought up the headline: ‘Florida man drops stolen TV from getaway scooter.’
One man explained that he was at work when he was told to Google search ‘Florida man’ followed by his birthday because he would be ‘guaranteed a ‘mad story.’
‘I did “Florida man June 7th” and got this: “Florida man gets headbutted, knocked out by alligator.”‘
Someone else bragged that her ‘Florida Man’ is ‘wholesome’ because he broke into a neighbor’s home ‘to pet their cat.’
It seemed like the more people who took part in the challenge, the weirder the headlines got.
‘So like this “Florida man” thing… here’s mine,’ one woman tweeted, sharing a screengrab of a story about a resident of the Sunshine State who ‘vapes semen.’
‘Lol I think I win,’ another person wrote, revealing that their headlines reads: ‘Florida man sits on gun, shoots self in penis, police say.’
The challenge has become a social media sensation, which isn’t surprising given that the Florida Man concept crept into the nation’s consciousness with the @_FloridaMan Twitter account in 2013.
The Twitter account, which has the tagline ‘Real-life stories of the world’s worst superhero,’ has been home to recent headlines such as ‘Florida Man Fire Bombs Garage That Impounded His Car, Hits His Own Vehicle’ and ‘Florida Man Tried to Pay for McDonald’s With Weed.’
The less common, but no less noteworthy, ‘Florida Woman’ subgenre has produced headlines such as ‘A Florida woman was arrested and charged with aggravated assault without intent to kill after she reportedly “farted loudly” in a Dollar Store and then pulled a knife on a man who complained.’
‘Once, it seemed as though all the weird people and stories came from California. But over the past decade, it shifted to Florida,’ said Jim Clark, a lecturer in the University of Central Florida’s history department. ‘Now, when I see a bizarre story, I am surprised when it is not from Florida.’
A combination of factors helps Florida birth these astounding tales.
For starters, it’s the nation’s third-largest state, with more than 20 million residents, and a random sample of any population that large is guaranteed to produce its share of the outrageous.
Florida is also blessed with a liberal public records law that allows these stories to surface into plain view with little resistance or concern about taste.
And then there’s the combination of subtropical temperatures, palm trees, and endless blue skies that seems to inspire some people to shed all inhibitions.
Under the right circumstances, couldn’t we be tempted to follow in the footsteps of ‘Naked Florida man revealed on video sneaking into restaurant and munching on ramen’?