The Out-of-Touch Adults’ Guide to Kid Culture: Who Is ‘Tunnel Girl’?


This week we’re enjoying the post-holiday glow with some wholesome goings-on in the world of young people. They’re digging tunnels under their homes, surprising their grandparents with impromptu sleepovers, beating Tetris, and launching themselves over desks to attack district court judges. (Wait, that last one isn’t wholesome at all.)

Who is “Tunnel Girl” and why is everyone digging her so much?

I love when people become famous for something weird and unexpected, and this week, a star like that was born on TikTok: “Tunnel Girl” has captured America’s heart with the elaborate mining operation she maintains under her suburban home. She’s been digging for over a year and documenting the process in a fascinating series of TikTok videos. Kala started her secret tunnel project with the idea of excavating stones to build a castle, and over the last 12 or so months she’s taught herself electrical wiring, excavation, cement pouring, and more—and she’s built an army of loyal viewers dedicated to watching her progress. 

But, of course, nothing this beautiful can last. With her growing online fame came haters, one of whom seems to have reported her un-permitted construction project to the authorities. Tunnel Girl’s tunnel was reportedly shut down, with The Man insisting she have her work inspected by a professional engineer. Boo! I don’t know much about digging underground tunnels, but Tunnel Girl seems to know what she’s doing, so I say let her keep doing it. She says she’s hopeful that the engineer will give her the all-clear and she can get back to digging to the center of the earth. 

Tunnel Girl got me thinking about whether homeowners actually own what’s under their house. It turns out that, in general, they do. Property ownership includes all of the space above and below the surface of the earth, up to and including other planets and the center of the earth. In practice, however, you can’t keep airplanes from flying over your house (usually) and you don’t necessarily own the mineral rights to your land just because you own the land itself. 

Wholesome TikTok trend: grandparent sleepovers

My favorite new meme on TikTok is adult kids surprising their grandparents with sleepovers. It’s easy to do: Just grab your brothers and sisters and cousins and nephews and nieces and show up at Meema and Pop-Pops with some bedding. They probably don’t have anything to do, being retired, so they’ll probably be super happy you dropped in. I guess some curmudgeonly old people would be like, “damn, don’t show up at my house like a bum,” but most grandparents aren’t like that. All the grandmas in these videos cry while the grandpas look shocked. I wish my own Nana was alive so I could drop in. I would totally expect her to make me breakfast in the morning, but she wouldn’t mind. Please enjoy every one of these wholesome videos:

Waffle House has its own record label

TikTok user @thesleepyparamedic has discovered a new way to annoy the employees and customers at Waffle House. The breakfast chain’s locations are equipped with TouchTunes juke boxes, and they can be accessed remotely. So the prank is to download the TouchTunes app, click on “Find a Waffle house,” then send it some music. Some music about waffles. Not only is there a dedicated Waffle House playlist on TouchTunes, there’s an entire Waffle House record label that releases breakfast-based parody songs to be listened to a Waffle Houses across the country.

The “best” of these tunes, according to thesleepyparamedic, is “There Are Raisins in My Toast,” but my personal pick is the over-amped disco sounds of “Why Would You Eat Your Grits Anyplace Else?” Anyway, no matter which tune you choose (and you should choose only one), you can play it for an hour straight at any Waffle House across the country for like 10 bucks. That’s money well spent!  According to its website, “Waffle House is a destination for waffles AND music,” and who are we to argue?

Thirteen-year-old gamer beats Tetris

Thirteen-year-old gamer Willis Gibson, aka “Blue Scuti,” is the first person to ever beat the Nintendo version of Tetris. Tetris doesn’t have an “official” ending. In theory, the blocks will keep falling forever, but in practice, it turns out Tetris goes up to around level 157 before the game gives up and crashes, resulting in a coveted kill screen.

Beating Tetris has been an ongoing project in the extreme gaming community for years. It was once thought that level 29 was the “ending,” because that’s when the bricks start falling faster than it is humanly possible to push the controller button with your thumb. But players invented techniques called “hypertapping” and “rolling” that allow for faster inputs. Using these tricks, Blue Scuti was able to progress far enough to crash Tetris, a landmark accomplishment. Luckily, he was live-streaming at the time, so his reaction to the incredible feat was captured for posterity. Bonus: It’s adorable.

Viral video of the week: defendant leaps at judge

Probably the most widely shared internet video this week is the feed from a criminal trial in Las Vegas. In it, defendant Deobra Delone Redden expresses his displeasure over his sentence for attempted battery by leaping over the bench to attack District Court Judge Mary Kay Holthus, only to be subdued and beaten down by court personnel. It’s a hell of a jump, to be sure, but the entire thing is depressing. So instead, watch this video from YouTube comedy video maker Drew Gooden, in which he watches only the final scenes of 10 terrible Christmas movies. It’s hilarious and won’t make you wonder how much longer society can hold together. 

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