A snail.

Aleksandar Dickov/Shutterstock (Licensed)

The ‘immortal snail’ finally makes it to TikTok

'I thrive knowing you will never rest.'

 

Audra Schroeder

Internet Culture

Published Oct 22, 2021   Updated Oct 22, 2021, 1:00 pm CDT

Have you made it to SnailTok? Then you’ve likely pondered a hypothetical question involving an immortal snail.

The essential question: Would you take millions of dollars in exchange for being trailed by a snail—which kills you if it touches you—for the rest of your life?

While it’s become popular again in the last few months, it’s already ancient in internet years: Know Your Meme traces its origin back to an August 2014 episode of Rooster Teeth Podcast. In that scenario, initially proposed by Rooster Teeth personality Gavin Free, you’re given $10 million but in exchange you’re followed by a snail for the rest of your life, and if it touches you you’re dead. Additionally, the money gives you immortality but the snail is also immortal.

“This is the dumbest hypothetical question ever,” laughed Rooster Teeth Productions co-founder Gus Sorola.

Nevertheless, the snail persisted. The question popped back up on Reddit throughout the years, though with some hypothetical variations. It was also referred to as the “snail assassin.”

immortal snail post on reddit

Know Your Meme points to a recent resurgence of the meme on iFunny, but the snail eventually made it to TikTok this month.

The hashtag #thesnail has more than 53 million views, and the top videos all comment on the trend, in humorous and earnest ways. Many creators have proposed outlandish scenarios for evading the snail, or envisioned themselves hundreds of years in the future, still being trailed. The #immortalsnail hashtag has more than 47 million views.

https://www.tiktok.com/@qzim/video/7021188254963649838?_d=secCgYIASAHKAESPgo8lk29G%2BM5aEug2bt0UMFFhPSJgjsG1I7leqZuGaitQRfsWbJ%2FXU9sOIP9R0JSgWkDGHqjwXeU0J34QLzBGgA%3D&checksum=224181ce0608519a17063dc79dddbfb865c1212d2ccb5ff6b22496c29ac8ef06&language=en&preview_pb=0&sec_user_id=MS4wLjABAAAAcjh3bD4v2-JPLZAMgsiJMKg4cvGErpNVyOCknIlDoREn5J9NYlB3r90AGpSN-Dbb&share_app_id=1233&share_item_id=7021629804189404421&share_link_id=5CAEBCB0-2093-4032-800C-BB7D4F731359&source=h5_m&timestamp=1634913744&tt_from=copy&u_code=d333b8a17l32ci&user_id=6621219760691937285&utm_campaign=client_share&utm_medium=ios&utm_source=copy&_r=1&is_copy_url=0&is_from_webapp=v1&sender_device=pc&sender_web_id=6891292833719813638

Lionsgate found a way into the trend: Promoting human immortal snail John Wick. And there’s a TikTok POV account, immortal_snail_, which documents one snail’s long, slow journey. (There must be multiple snails in motion at any given time, right? A snail-verse, even? Hypothetically?)

The immortal snail is also preparing people to, hypothetically, learn something about themselves.

Rooster Teeth has acknowledged the snail’s persistence.

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*First Published: Oct 22, 2021, 12:35 pm CDT