Throwing the Baby Out with the Ice Water

Earlier today I participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge. Yup, I’m one of those people. If it makes you feel any better, please know that I also donated $100  while my hair was still wet. So, you know, I did the wacky bucket thing and it was fun, but before you lecture me about how the challenge doesn’t really help anybody raise cash, I refer you to my previous sentence.

And normally I wouldn’t feel it necessary to tell you I donated money. But, I can see from how concerned you are in your posts over on Slate and your Facebook walls that you are very concerned that people are missing the point and you wish they’d just stop participating because…something, something…well, to be honest, I’m unclear what your issue is, but I can tell you are pissed off and I very much don’t want to further offend you or get in the way of your outrage.

But in exchange for my giving you a wide berth, I’m wondering if you might do me a favor. Might you propose some alternate noise to fill the gap? I can assure you that I am keeping up with what is going on in the world domestically and internationally, and can I tell you something? I’ll whisper it so neither of us gets embarrassed by anybody hearing me—I actually don’t mind a moment or two of levity in my day. If people want to spend their time dumping buckets of ice water on their head, I guess I’ll grant them their 15 seconds of fame. The shrieks of momentary uncomfortableness are greatly preferred to the wailing of parents having to worry about burying their children.

I’ve heard your protests—some (a lot) (most) (pick your quantity, it’s your argument after all) of the people participating don’t even know what ALS is!, this wasn’t even originally about ALS!, people aren’t even giving money!, these people are just one more link in an endless chain of jackasses striving for attention on Youtube!—and you’re right. You are totally and fully right.

But I’m willing to bet some of those people, clueless and unaware as they may be, are approaching the challenge with the idea that they are helping. And you know what? That’s a pretty contagious feeling. It’s a self-starter. Even if dumping a bucket of ice on their head is at best a placebo right now, what will it lead to tomorrow? Would you rather we encourage these kids to go back to their videogames? Or send them off to troll in the comments of some other Youtube video where a kid jams his nuts into a rail and doesn’t even mention charity?

For fuck’s sake, get over yourself. If you want to turn this into a competition about who does the most and who volunteers and donates with the Eye of the Fucking Tiger, then issue your own challenge to me and we can go all Enter the Dragon with that shit.

According to the ALS Association

As of Tuesday, August 19, The ALS Association has received $22.9 million in donations compared to $1.9 million during the same time period last year (July 29 to August 19). These donations have come from existing donors and 453,210 new donors to The Association.

UPDATE

Washington, D.C. (August 29, 2014) —Today, The ALS Association has topped $100 million in donations from people all over the globe who were moved to action by this summer’s Ice Bucket Challenge. As of August 29, the Association has received $100.9 million in donations compared to $2.8 million during the same time period last year (July 29 to August 29). Three million donors.

 

If it takes some wacky viral trend to make that happen, so be it. If not everybody participating is making a real difference, that’s ok. Look at all of the people who are. Let’s not throw out their efforts in the name of charitable purity.

Lastly, I will donate $25 to the first four charities mentioned in the comments. Just say where and give a why if you want.

Thanks.

Love,

Ben

 

 

Tuesday Night Dispatch

Hey Gang -

What’s the good word in your neck of the woods?

Longtime visitors to this site might have noticed a few changes over the last few weeks/months. First I started deleting some of the excess content, and then I deleted some more, and then I realized that all of the content–recycled pieces from Huffington Post and my posts from Hey! There’s a Dead Guy in the Living Room–was excess and wouldn’t it be better to just trash the whole place? So that’s the skinny with that. I don’t know if anybody even needs a website in 2014, I seriously doubt that I do, especially as I’m trying to cut through the tethers that bind me to this stupid digital age, but in the name of vanity and with the foresight to know that someday I will want to put down, in impermanent means, my thoughts about one topic or another, the site limps along for another day.

Anyway, it’s a Tuesday night in America and I’m here and you’re there, and it seems like there’s a lot of negative stuff going on in the world right now. I firmly believe that an effective antidote to that wave breaking down on us is to stand up and declare something positive, something that makes us happy, something that will get us through until tomorrow and that we, unabashedly, are not afraid to share with others (Love. Not Fear. Always.).

And that’s what I’m asking of you right now. In the comment section below, tell me what keeps the pep in your step. What good has just happened? What good are you looking forward to? What good is your constant companion? Do not be shy with your happiness.

I’m sure I’ll jump in with a bunch of stuff later, but I want to share this with you.

For those of you keeping score at home, you likely know how much I love to travel. After visiting South Dakota last summer I had one State to scratch off the list before being able to declare myself part of the 50 State Club (note: Actual club may/may not exist)–Alaska. Well, a few weeks ago, I boarded a plane from Seattle bound for Fairbanks, where I met some new friends at the Fairbanks Foodbank before getting in a van and heading to Denali National Park. While in Denali I went on a chartered flight in a bush plane and ended up landing on a glacier. The photo below was captured by my GoPro after I threw it in the air. I can tell you, that if you were able to zoom into my head in that moment, I was happy. Knee deep in July snow. Cold. In the middle of nowhere. Happy.

skiglacier

Ok, now it’s your turn. Share the good news so I can give you a high five! Let’s make magic.