As almost anyone who lives in the free world is aware by now, there has been a viral campaign going asking people to either dump ice water on their heads or make a $100 donation to ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. I’ve watched as friend after friend on Facebook has been nominated, and videotaped themselves making a little speech, and then dumped ice water over themselves. Honestly, I was starting to feel relieved that nobody had nominated ME for two reasons. One, I don’t have $100 to donate to anyone, and two, dumping ice water over myself sounds like some version of self-torture. I hate being cold. I don’t even like to drink ice water.
But then it happened. My dear sister-in-law, Julie, nominated me in her video. That was an instant of sheer dread that I haven’t felt since, well, I don’t when. I started thinking of excuses as to why I couldn’t do it. I considered donating money I didn’t have. Then my heart took over and I realized that the ten seconds it would take for me to pour ice water over my head, was a much shorter time to suffer, than the patients with ALS have to suffer. I decided that not only would I do the ice bucket challenge, but I would also make a donation within my means to ALS.
Once I made the decision to participate, the next order of business was to plan my wardrobe, makeup, and hair for the big event. I don’t normally post videos of myself on the internet. In fact, this would be the first time. People who are my friends through the internet only, would hear my voice and see me live for the first time. I went with black pants for the slimming factor, which honestly didn’t matter much. Bare feet sounded good because I hate walking around on wet flip flops, and I have a tendency to slip ungracefully on them. I couldn’t have that happen, although I’m sure it would have made my video much more entertaining. I actually showered, and did my hair and makeup before the dumping. I know. That was really vain and stupid. But whatever. The ALS was getting their money and some awareness, so if I wanted to look decent, then call me vain. I don’t care. It doesn’t matter that the video quality was so poor that I could have done it with bed head and yesterday’s makeup running down my face and nobody would have seen it.
The time came to suck it up, prepare the ice water, and do the challenge. I practiced in front of the camera first, to make sure the angles were good, ie. a “thinner angle.” I wanted to practice my speech, so I didn’t sound like a bumbling fool. It took a few tries because my son was standing next to my cameraman daughter, making faces and pretending to laugh at everything I said. His support is always a blessing. All he had to do was look at me a certain way and I would start laughing. He kindly offered to pour the water for me, but I passed on that offer as I knew he would inevitably throw it in my face, rather than allow it to prettily run down my svelte body in a “supermodel standing under a waterfall” way.
After a few practice tries came the real thing. It’s very easy to hesitate indefinitely before pouring ice water over your head, so I told myself I would just do it without thinking about it. I made my speech to the camera, nominated my unsuspecting friends and family, and dumped the ice water. Holy shit, was it cold. The shock to my system didn’t wear off until hours later. I think I had frostbite down my neck and back. My kids laughed…a lot. It was okay because every good comedy needs its own laugh track. My kids were happy to oblige. They’re sweet like that.
So, it was over. Done. It really was easy, and kind of fun, all for a great cause. If you get nominated by one of your loving, considerate friends, please seriously consider doing both the ice bucket challenge AND making a donation. The ice water is to spread awareness…asking for donations wouldn’t have the same impact if it was just some person standing there asking for it. It also gives your friends and family the sick pleasure of watching you torture yourself. In my opinion, simply dumping ice water doesn’t excuse people from making a donation. I think it’s important to spread the awareness as well as make a donation, even if it’s just a small one. Every little bit helps.
If you are interested in learning more about ALS or in making a donation, please visit http://www.alsa.org/. In the meantime, if you are nominated to do the ice bucket challenge, buck up, buttercup, and just do it!