A little over a month ago, Colin White threw down the gauntlet to his burgeoning crowd of TikTok followers. “There’s probably a lot of things that you’re thinking I can’t do,” he said, displaying his four residual limbs. “I want you to comment what you think I can’t do—and Im’a do it. Right here on TikTok.”
The first wave of “challenges” people threw at White—better known as NUBS—were insultingly easy. Do a handstand? Tie your shoes? Do pushups? Yawn, ho hum. “Y’all didn’t think I could even open a can?” he howled, before popping the tab on a frosty beverage. So the asks got harder. Yo NUBS, let’s see you type. Rat-a-tat, 62 words a minute. Wrap a Christmas present? Piece a cake. Light a Roman candle? Kaboom—happy new year.
“I get this one a lot,” he explains in another video, while cruising down the highway behind the wheel of his SUV. “‘NUBS, how do you drive without arms and legs?’ Hand controls, bro. ‘But how do you use hand controls WITHOUT HANDS?'” He pauses here to glance straight at the camera, then turns his attention back to the road. “Cause there ain’t nothing stopping me! Look man, keep them comments coming about what you think I can’t do. Because I can do anything.”
Dude can even snap his fingers. No lie.
After you’ve watched a few of these parlor tricks, it becomes clear NUBS is just trolling his viewers. To be more precise, he’s trolling the haters who think a person who has no limbs must have no life. Because the punch line is that NUBS—an acronym for “Normally Underestimated By Sight”—is pretty much crushing it these days.
He’s got 145,000 followers on TikTok and more than 10 million total views over the last 2 months (give or take). His hip-hop band, Odd Squad Family, released its second album (The Flamingo Complex) last year and commands a Facebook following of 300,000. The band’s video-game livestream channel at OSF Gamers has another 125K followers. His current catch-phrase is “no limbs, no limits.”
So, yeah. Tie a knot? Pop open a soda? THAT’s what impresses you? Whatever, bruh.
We got introduced to NUBS by our teenage daughter, whose sense of humor, taste in music, and media consumption habits often elude our comprehension. (We suspect this is by design.) That might explain why NUBS’s comedy occasionally does not compute for us. The videos we laugh at tend to draw modest audiences of 20K or 30K views, while the ones that crack up our daughter—like this one, which has been watched several million times—generally leave us befogged and bewildered. You might have a similar experience if you’re older than, say, 30 (which we emphatically are). Just go with it. Most of the content’s pretty geezer-friendly.
And that’s the beauty of NUBS’s content in every medium. It’s accessible to viewers of all ages and limb statuses. He and Odd Squad Family go beyond celebrating limb-difference and celebrate difference, writ large. The audience for that message is essentially infinite, which is why millions of people are tuning in to NUBS’s channels. And his joyful self-acceptance is especially resonant for young people such as our daughter, who’ve reached the point in life where the gears of conformity can grind individual identity into dust.
There’s only one time we’ve seen NUBS less than totally sure of himself. A TikTokker commented, “Let’s see you play rock paper scissors, my guy.” He followed through, albeit not very convincingly. But a few weeks later he was back at it, displaying a genius hack that enabled full-strength rock-paper-scissors combat.
That cinched it for us. No limbs? No limits. NUBS has got every tool in the kit.