CHICAGO — At first it seemed like a good idea.
But then things went south, and the resulting video of an Uptown man burning a very sensitive area on one of the coldest days in years has gone viral.
Micah Uetricht, a 26-year-old editor at Jacobin magazine, now wonders "if all press is good press," especially with his first book "Strike for America: Chicago Teachers Against Austerity" due out this year.
"Hopefully, people understand that I don't take myself too seriously," Uetricht said after the video of him accidentally throwing boiling water onto his groin "took off faster than anything [he's] seen on Facebook."
For now he's chalking it up to "YOLO" — you only live once — and hopes that "everyone will one day have a viral video of themselves doing something stupid."
The experiment was simple and popular online this week: Throw a cup of boiling water into the air in the frigid air of Chicago's cold snap and the water should turn to ice crystals before it hits the ground.
But Uetricht may have gotten greedy after three successful attempts. On the first three tries he only threw a coffee cup full of water. But for the big finale he wanted to do something a little bigger for his girlfriend, Sarah Saheb, and the camera she was holding.
"I made a whole tea kettle, feeling more emboldened by the successful attempts. I think I was caught in the moment. This was my one attempt to leave the house and do something in the cold," Uetricht said. "There [were] no videos of people burning themselves. I never thought nature would be so cruel."
Maybe it was the strong wind that blew as he threw the water from the pot into the air, or maybe it was too much water; either way it didn't go as planned.
On the first attempt, he threw most of the hot water into the air, but it didn't land on the ground as ice crystals. Instead, he splashed himself and Saheb with hot water. Luckily for him, she didn't get that mad.
"She handled getting splashed with boiling water by an idiot boyfriend as best as anyone could," Uetricht said. "She didn't hold it against me."
That may have been because of what happened next. Seconds after recovering from the initial shock of burning himself, Uetricht splashed the remaining water out of the pot, this time burning himself in the groin.
"I got it on my penis," Uetricht says in the video seconds before it ends.
"My first reaction was I should probably check this out, right now," he said.
The video also shows a man walking in front of Uetricht's house before he throws the water. The water that made it down to him did turn to ice crystals, landing on his face as he walked by. The man was "very good humored about it" after he explained the experiment to him, Uetricht said.
Despite burning himself in a sensitive area — which he said has recovered to about "92 percent" — Uetricht still "thinks turning boiling water into snow is pretty cool."
He does have one piece of advice.
"You should definitely only use a small amount of water," he said.