When I first started finding half-filled water bottles scattered all over the floor late this past summer, I wasn't really sure what was going on. Around the same time there was an annoying banging noise emanating from the kitchen. But with a 10-year-old and a 14-year-old living at home, I'm used to the racket of basketballs and Nerf darts and skateboards, so I kind of waved it off. It wasn't until the day I walked into the kitchen and saw my son and his friend flinging water bottles into the air that I realized the two things were actually related.
"What on Earth are you doing?" I asked them.
"Flipping bottles," my son replied with an eye roll, as he simultaneously sent a half-empty bottle of Deer Park scurrying across the hardwood. "We're trying to get them to land standing up."
"Umm...OK. But why?" I pressed.
In response, my son reached for the laptop and cued up a video on YouTube of an 18-year-old kid named Michael Senatore from Charlotte, North Carolina. I watched as he brought down the house at his school talent show by flipping a half-full bottle of water up into the air and landing it perfectly upright.
"Isn't that so cool?" my son asked.
If by "cool" he meant totally wasteful and completely annoying thanks to the Chinese water torture aspect of the sound that comes from the bottle hitting the floor, then yes...it was so cool.
"Everyone is doing it," he added.
Well OK then. I decided to reach out on Facebook and see if he was right. Turns out, he totally was.
"OMG my son is obsessed, didn't know it was a 'thing,'" one of the moms at my son's school replied.
"Drives me CRAZY," added a college friend, who lives three states away.
"I'm glad to know I'm not the only mom struggling with this," revealed a third.
Me, too. #FirstWorldProblems
Meanwhile, The Boston Globe ran a piece abut the trend last week, and the phenomenon has pretty much taken over YouTube, even as schools all over the country (including my own kid's) are beginning to ban the practice—great news for fed-up teachers, bad news for all us parents whose kids are now hellbent on perfecting their technique here at home. (Pro tip: According to Senatore, the shape of a Deer Park bottle makes it the best brand for flipping.)
Which means relief from that annoying landing noise is probably not coming anytime soon. On the bright side, "They're learning about probability," one of my mom friends told me.
"Maybe it's just me," added another parent. "But I could think of A LOT worse things our kids could be getting into."
He's right. Bottle flipping is a lot less dangerous than say, the viral and deadly choking game that's currently making a comeback. So for now I guess I'll just grin and bear it....and maybe invest in a good pair of ear plugs.