August 20, 2014 - Let me put this out, up front before we get too far into what will probably turn out to be a classic Don Rush Diatribe (DRD for those who like communicating in text lingo).
I don't really "hate" anything. I even hate saying the word "hate." I do, however, find it quite easy to type, "hate." Must have something to do with hearing the word versus seeing the word. And, that's really not what this column is about.
It is about your hero (me), being forced into doing something he (I) am diametrically opposed to and wished not to participate with or in. I am not a band wagon hopper-onner. I kinda' like to follow my own celestial star as I sail the sometimes rough and rocky waters that is my life. I ain't into new, hip crazes.
As a kid I had a rock collection and I never named any of the rocks even though all the "cool" kids were getting "pet" rocks.
"Cute," the world cried.
"Stupid," I muttered to my young self.
So, it was with some trepidation I watched the world again go insane over the newest, hippest, cutest craze going on -- with each 20 second video I watched, I knew the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Ice Bucket Challenge would soon come a'calling.
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I'd like to thank NBC "news"caster Matt Lauer for earlier in the summer getting watered and then making a national proclamation. Because of that, he would donate money to some hospice in Palm Beach. From that, Bostonian Pete Frates got the idea to do the same to raise awareness and money for ALS.
Oh, and before I forget, I would like to thank my sister Nancy Christine for getting me involved. I said, "I'd like to thank" them.
I am not.
I did dig around on the 'net and found from July 29 to August 13 this craze raised $13.3 million dollars, and some 1.2 million videos.
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It's not that I am anti-cute. I like cute. And, I will admit the first 992,347 videos were cute. But, from the moment the 992,348th video played out, it and all others lost some of their luster.
It's not that I am against helping different health, people, pet, planet (fill in your favorite cause dejour) awareness raising operations or groups. I just have this aversion to being told I have to do something or look like the Grinch, Ebenezer Scrooge or even Scrooge McDuck for goodness sakes!
If you've been under a rock for the last two weeks, folks video themselves getting drenched, and then they call out three other people who have to do the same thing or donate $100 to the ALS cause.
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It is not that I'm stingy with my time and money for charitable or philanthropic endeavors. I do, do good for the causes I want to help. I just don't like being told
A.) To do something I wouldn't normally do (pour water over yourself or give money to a group you may or may not want to or look like a jerk).
B.) That I have a deadline to do what I don't want to do (each dumpee has 24 hours to complete the task or look like a jerk).
C.) That I must give a certain about of money or look like a cheapskate (100 smackin' frackin' dollars! Do I look like I'm Bill Gates or some other multibillionaire? I walk with my head down, and when I see a penny I bend down, pick it up and put it in my pocket!)
D.) That I must loop three other unsuspecting family, friends or loved ones into this pyramid of insanity to do something I wouldn't normally do either.
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What's next? What is on the horizon, what worthy cause will we be forced to deal with, to follow the crowd like sheep or be ostracized as a pariah? Shave an eye brow for breast cancer? Slather whipped cream over our bodies for multiple sclerosis? Eat eggplant for veganism?
You know the next "best" thing will have to be better than this: cuter, weirder, bettererer.
There will be no escape. It will get stupider and stupider.
Stop The Madness!
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Okay. I've thought about this way too much. I've given too much brain power to this cute little challengey thing. Here's what I'm gonna' do. Since life's a compromise, I will do this, but on my terms.
1. On Wednesday after my colonoscopy and still loopy, I will have somebody dump ice water on me, which may or may not be posted online. You will have to trust me.
2. I will not challenge any individual, but I do challenge any reader to do the ice water bath, or give what you can to whomever you are comfortable with; I challenge you to hug your kids more, love your wife more, be nicer to your neighbors and more tolerant of those you don't know.
And, if you don't do it, you're a big fat meanie!
(Do you think my challenge will take over the country? Me neither.)
Don is Assistant Publisher for Sherman Publications, Inc. He has worked for the company since 1985. He has won numerous awards for column, editorial and feature writing as well as for photography. He has two, sons Shamus and Sean and resides in the area. To read archived copies of his columns, click on his name, just under his picture up top . . . He can be e-mailed at: firstname.lastname@example.org