#BREAKING: ALS challenge melts icy heart

I’m not into fads.

I don’t like too many popular TV shows. I rarely follow celebrity gossip or news. Virality in social media usually makes me want to barf.

I’ve occasionally been accused of being hipster-ish. I find that offensive. Hipsters are a fake counter-culture dressed in the flannel checkered grunge shirts of my youth.

Genuine cultural disruption? Safety pins pierced through lips and the Sex Pistols playing “God Save the Queen” on the Thames.

I’ve always loved the thought of rebellion and going against the grain, even if I am the plainest of flavors you will ever meet.

The latest grousing about fads started popping up on my Facebook account in late July.

Since then, I’ve felt this uncomfortable tension about the #IceBucketChallenge for the ALS Foundation.

It’s been completely invasive and unavoidable.

The woman I’m dating has been challenged. She’s planning on recording herself in her backyard while watering her garden.

In the past week, I’ve been challenged twice.

From what I understand, there is a time limitation to do the challenge or pay a hundred bucks. I think the statute of limitations for the challenge might have actually passed. I might give to the organization, or not.

If I do, I’ll never tell anyone.

I’m torn about everyone sharing their acceptance of the challenge. The nature of the public displays that everyone is doing screams “look at me, look at the good I’m doing.”

Still, I hesitantly admit the good being accomplished by the #IceBucketChallenge cannot be ignored at this point though.

I cannot deny the effectiveness of the campaign and how well it is serving the ALS cause. Last week I learned the ALS Foundation raised about $28 million more than the $1.9 million they raised last year to-date. That donation amount has grown exponentially since then.

Still, it wasn’t that astounding number that stilled my grumbling about #IceBucketChallenge videos clogging my Facebook page, or people nominating me for the challenge though.

I have watched a grand total of two #IceBucketChallenge video responses.

The first video was from this guy who starts out by going through the roof with the silly look-at-me antics that are characteristic of some of the challenges. Then Anthony Carbajal delivers a punch straight to the gut in his 6 minute 50 second video.

Watch (if you already have not):

I won’t say I cried by the end of the video, but I understood. The means sometimes do justify the end. People suffer horribly and die from this disease. If a social media stunt raises the profile of the ALS Foundation, well OK then.

I still believe the world would be a better place if we were all quiet DIY givers, spreading our few meager charitable donations around to all those in need. But really, that’s not most people. And there are many Anthony Carbajals in the world who deserve to live and have the deadly diseases that destroy them dealt with in a serious and scientific fashion. That costs real money.

I get it. I do. I just needed to be reminded. Thanks Anthony.

The other video I watched was from Neil Gaiman. I’ve never met Neil, but his work, as a book and comic book author, has stuck with me over the years. His wife’s brother died from ALS in his 20s. And there something about a paste-colored Brit walking half-naked on a beach, drenched in icy saltwater that made me chuckle. In the end, I respect Neil, therefore I respect his challenge.

Does that mean I’ll be posting my challenge video any time soon? Probably not. I’m glad to chat about it and my change of heart about seeing so many “challenges.” Public spectacles are not me though. I may over-share here and on social media sometime, but I will probably never be a public spokesperson or the face of some cause.

Instead, I hope researchers can use all that money to find a cure, or comfort of those afflicted. And finally I understand, ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, well done.


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