Thanks for ruining Toad and Mario Kart for me, internet

Perhaps you had the misfortune of waking up this morning, checking social media, and noticing that the words “Mario Kart” were trending. Maybe you thought, “Oh, is there a new game? Is this perhaps related to the Nintendo Switch’s impending online service launch?” Oh, you sweet summer child. If only we could preserve that innocence in amber, where it could remain untouched by the latest absurd news headline of 2018.

This year is so much. Nothing makes sense anymore. Did you read that US Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) doxxed internet icon Salt Bae last night? I swear, every day I wake up and it feels like a random word generator has mashed together the latest world events. Case in point: right now, everyone is talking about Mario Kart, thanks to an excerpt from Stormy Daniels’ upcoming book Full Disclosure. In it, Daniels — an adult performer who says she slept with Donald Trump and was paid to keep quiet about it — has some lurid details about the president’s genitals. As published by The Guardian, here’s the unfortunate passage that is now horrifying the internet:

“He knows he has an unusual penis,” Daniels writes. “It has a huge mushroom head. Like a toadstool…

“I lay there, annoyed that I was getting fucked by a guy with Yeti pubes and a dick like the mushroom character in Mario Kart…

While she doesn’t name the character, the fact that Daniels compares it to a mushroom has everyone assuming she must mean Princess Toadstool’s trusty servant Toad. Arguably, she could mean it looked like Super Mario’s basic enemies, Goombas, given that they have a body shaped like a penis tip and also appear in the racing game, but that’s less funny. Toad, who is eternally peppy and helpful, makes for a funnier candidate because he’s pure and therefore an unexpected choice.

At least, that’s the case for more people. My perception of Toad has been gradually deteriorating over the last couple of years, between this and Polygon’s Please Retweet series, in which my friend Patrick Gill tries to get Nintendo of America to reshare a disturbing picture of Toad with long, hairy legs. This ill-fated campaign became a meme on social media, and I’ve had to look at an unwanted number of pictures of Toad strutting around in shapely legs while wearing what appears to be an adult diaper. The Nintendo character has a totally different connotation for me now than he did a few years ago. The internet, in short, has made Toad the poster boy of “thanks, I hate it” culture. Nobody wants to associate Toad with sex, but that’s exactly what makes it so hard to look away. On the internet, you are drawn to the things you despise, which is part of why I follow accounts that do nothing but highlight non-aesthetic things.

Does Toad deserve this? Well, no: nobody deserves to be associated with our pussy-grabbing commander in chief. But, at this point, I’ve accepted that if it exists, then the internet will find a way to ruin it. The only thing you can do is embrace it, by which I mean, I can’t wait to groan during my next Mario Kart session when one of the players picks Toad with a shit-eating grin.

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