Above: A teen drinks a can containing "Foolio," a beverage that has killed dozens of young people but remains popular throughout the English-speaking world. Photo via Flickr user Ian T. McFarland
Eugene P. Darling is a former FBI agent who spent nearly two decades undercover at a series of high schools in California, Oregon, and Nevada. He's a frequent guest on Nancy Grace and the author of 35-Year-Old Teen: A Life Spent Confronting the Evils Lurking Within America's High Schools. The following is an excerpt from his latest book, Children of the Korn: How America's Young People Are Turning to the Dark Side Thanks to Sex, Drugs, and Rock 'n' Roll, which will be out in May from Second Amendment Press.
On April 1, 2010, 17-year-old Daniel Preston walked into his chemistry class at Samuel Johnson's School for Boys in London. He would never walk out. At approximately 12:17 PM, Daniel turned pale, started foaming at the mouth, and collapsed. Three minutes later he was dead.
The coroner's report showed that Daniel (or "Splotchy Dick," as his friends called him) had spent his elevenses break with his friends behind the dumpsters chugging massive amounts of a beverage the kids call "Foolio D," "Foolio," "Fuckin' Desperate," "Trill Pill," and "Cormac McCarthy," among other nicknames. Everyone who makes it has his own "recipe"—the bottle that Daniel "necked," as the British say, contained lager, vodka, whiskey, ecstasy, opium, horse blood, fennel, string cheese, and a 1997 WWE action figure (investigators believe it was a Stone Cold Steve Austin model). Seven other boys had drunk the concoction with him, but only Daniel wound up dead, a combination of an allergic reaction to the horse blood and a heart attack triggered by the narcotics.
While his death was undeniably tragic, Daniel was hardly the first to die on April Fools' Day—and he won't be the last. Traditionally the holiday is a chance to jokingly put a bowling ball in the trunk of your wife's car or give your boss a pack of cigarettes that is actually a mousetrap, but in recent years, teenagers in the UK, Ireland, and Australia have turned an innocent fun-loving day into yet another chance to drink themselves into dangerous situations.
It started, like many drinking trends, in Scotland, where a group of university "lads" adopted a tradition in the 90s called the "Wet Foolio." They would take shots of liquor and eat asparagus until one of them passed out, and the "winners" would urinate on the unlucky young man who couldn't hold his liquor. Eventually they began making their own mixed drinks for the occasion, and the beverages grew progressively more vile as the custom spread to England, Ireland, and Australia. With the internet becoming more popular, teens were soon sharing "tips" and "recipes" on "social networking" sites like Reddit and Lemon Party, and the urinating was eventually phased out in favor of exotic meat consumption and homosexual horseplay ("teabagging," "Jimmywhacking," and "putting the old poodle in the hutch" are all common at Foolio parties). Today many students will get blind-drunk on mixtures that contain industrial solvents and roam the streets of London, Sydney, or Dublin looking for other teens to copulate and/or fight with.
Sometime between 2008 and 2011 (experts disagree on the exact date), Foolio "crossed the pond" to the US of A, where it intermingled with other beloved pastimes of America's youth, such as Satanism, coffee smoking, and the Knockout Game. One Foolio party was documented in a video made by rapper "Earl Sweatshirt," a disturbing, graphic cautionary tale that ends with dead children heaped on a bed. More frightening still, some took this as an instruction manual.
Is Your Teen Drinking Foolio?
The frightening thing about Foolio is that since it's a "holiday," many normally well-behaved kids feel pressured into ingesting chemicals and performing acts that they wouldn't normally consider. Additionally, every year there is the sense that the "ante" must be "upped," which can result in more and more outlandish stunts. In 2012 a straight-A student in Akron, Ohio, told his mother that he was going over to his friend's place to practice chess and responsible finance as he had so many times before—but when police raided the house hours later, he was found out of his mind on horseradish seeds and balls-deep in a pile of rancid alligator meat. Other teens—like poor, stupid Daniel Preston—get disgustingly drunk on Foolio at lunch or even before school; last year at one elite private Los Angeles culinary academy, so many kids were doing "the worm" in the hallways that riot cops had to be called in and 12 teenagers were killed during the ensuing situation.
So how do you know if the "prank" your child has planned for April Fools' Day involves chugging liquefied heroin and defecating in a stranger's yard? Well, there's no way to tell for sure whether a teen is involved in Foolio parties. Teenagers are expert liars and it's almost impossible to understand their thought processes; an estimated 71 percent of teens should be diagnosed with serious mental illnesses. But one clear warning sign is an interest in the music of rapper "Lil B." Though his lyrics are likely incomprehensible to you, teens not only understand them but regard them as gospel. One FBI agent who was tasked with transcribing hundreds of hours of his raps uncovered this "stanza," from the track "Topher Grace (Swag)":
Riding my car to the place swag
I masturbate (inaudible)
Drink that Foolio, fuckin' (inaudible) get a dick sucked by a nice young lady
(inaudible) haircut so good I gave the guy a tip
Clearly, parents need to be on the lookout.
Other indications that your teen is getting involved in the Foolio party scene include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Is your child now uninterested in April Fools' traditions he or she used to enjoy, like braising the mayonnaised ham or making up lyrics to Jeff Beck songs? That is a sure sign your child is thinking about trying Foolio.
- If he or she is saying things like, "The idea of 'gay' or 'straight' is a false dichotomy. We should view sexuality as a spectrum, or better yet, understand that individual sex acts do not define our identities," monitor him or her closely.
- A clear warning that your child may become involved in Foolio is if he or she begins practicing Satanism, especially organized Satanism. If a teen gets involved with Satanist rituals, Satanist book sales, Satanist soup kitchens, and Satanist online dating sites, contact law enforcement immediately.
- Don't let your son or daughter take Worcestershire sauce out of the house around April Fools' Day, as that is a primary ingredient in many variations of Foolio. If your son or daughter claims he or she is going to a party where they're making Oysters Kilpatrick, it's a lie.
- Likewise, if your child says he or she is "going to the park to maybe hang out and talk about how there's a lot of different types of ducks," it is obvious code. Don't be fooled!
If you are a teen yourself (given what we know about the reading habits of teenagers, this is extremely unlikely), please be careful this April Fools' Day. Even though you may have no plans to drink Foolio, or sodomize another teen, or buy livestock online using your parents' credit card—as one unfortunate young woman in Carson City, Nevada, did in 2013—you need to remember you have no control over your actions. Thanks to the hormones coursing through your veins and the conflicting messages transmitted by the mass media, your moods and thoughts can veer wildly from moment to moment. In fact, reading these words about how awful Foolio is may be giving you an "itch" to try it. Please stop reading this right now.