Not My Flavor of Kool-Aid (or Why I’m NOT dumping a bucket of ice water on my head)

Let’s get one thing straight.  I don’t do cold.

Unless you’ve been on another planet, I’m sure you’re aware of the hyper viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.  And if not, in a nutshell, people have been challenging others to dump a bucket of ice water on their head and make a $10 donation OR forgo getting wet and make a $100 donation.  I’ve been considering how I want to address this, so having a free week to blog about whatever is on our minds came at a perfect time.  (In the time that I was initially scribbling my thoughts on a notepad, I saw Mike Rowe’s (of Dirty Jobs fame) post on Facebook on why he’s not doing it.  He says so much more beautifully some of my thoughts, but I have a few more.  Go find it and read it.)

Ice is for chilling a lovely bottle of Chardonnay.  Or a cooler full of beer.  Or wrapping it up to put on a bruise or other injury to keep down swelling.  Or for that most noble of purposes, allowing vodka to be poured over it in a cocktail shaker and dutifully staying behind as vodka and its friend vermouth are strained into a martini glass to be joined with their olive buddies.  Or, you know, transporting human organ donations, though I believe they use its dry cousin, but whatever.

My point is that I am all in favor of donating to charity.  I am NOT in favor of public guilt-shaming for those who choose not to participate.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed quite a few of the videos.  Jon Bon Jovi’s comes to mind.  Same with Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Tom Hiddleston (Loki) or just about any of the superheroes from the Marvel movie universe.  I thought Dave Grohl’s Carrie-inspired video was quite creative.  And heaven knows I laughed at many of the ice bucket FAILS.  Just this morning I saw the video of a 2 year old who drops the F-bomb after being attacked.  Who in the hell challenges a TWO YEAR OLD?!  First off, I know as a 2 year old, I didn’t have $10 to donate much less $100.  I can’t blame that little one for dropping the F-bomb. But that’s partly why I have a problem with the ice bucket challenge.

One of my issues is that I don’t respond well to any “Drink this Kool-Aid or else you’re a horrible person” mentality.  I generally don’t do chain letters.  (Viral campaigns are simply the new electronic version.)  I don’t do videos of myself.  I rarely take selfless, much less videos.  I don’t do the “Copy and paste if you love Jesus/your dog/your daughter/your mom/your spouse/vodka.”  Trust me.  They all know how I feel about them.  I don’t have to plaster it all over Facebook.  I don’t post 7 lines from the 7th paragraph from page 7 of my Work In Progress. I may have posted my bra color that one time (for breast cancer awareness) but when they got all crazy with the “I like it on the countertop” or wherever you set your purse, I failed to see how that contributed to breast cancer awareness.  However, I’m sure it boosted mental illness awareness because your friends all questioned your sanity when you posted, “I’m all out of toilet paper.  Goodbye socks!”  (I forgot what the hell that one is about.)  I’ve been known to drink certain flavors of Kool-Aid while avoiding others.  (I read Twilight but refuse to read Fifty Shades of Grey.)  Many people have posted that Polish proverb about not getting involved in other people’s drama.  “Not my circus.  Not my monkeys.”  I’m amending that.  I can be considered crazy at time with things I’ll take on, but this Ice Bucket Challenge is not my brand of crazy and it’s not my flavor of Kool-Aid.

Another thing that bugs me is that there doesn’t seem to be an end to it.  I grew up watching Jerry Lewis’s Labor Day Telethon to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.  It started the Sunday evening before and ended about 6 PM on Labor Day.  Roughly 24 hours.  It was done until the next year.  We have Autism Awareness Month and this month and that week.  Is there an end to this ice bucket craziness?  Truth be told, most of the videos posted aren’t even of people I know anymore.  It’s friends of my friends.

Let’s get a few more things straight.  I don’t begrudge anyone who has taken part in this because they know or have known someone affected by ALS.  I don’t begrudge anyone who felt like they were making a difference.  Hell, I can’t deny that it was a genius marketing campaign by the ALS Association.  I don’t even fault those who were guilt-tripped into doing it because they don’t want to incur bad karma.  I don’t even begrudge those who nominated me.  Rock on with your ice water.  But I ain’t doing it.

Notice I didn’t say that I won’t donate.  I will, but in the amount of my choosing.  I have been made aware.  But I’m also acutely aware that there are other noble causes out there.  I know of several parents who are spending insane amounts of time at the hospital while their kids are being treated for cancer.  The more I give to one charity, the less I have for others.  And what about other non-disease but worthy causes out there?  How many of you have kids on a sports team trying to sell coupon books?  Dance teams holding a car wash?  Elementary schools selling overpriced wrapping paper or cookie dough just so teachers don’t have to dig into their own pockets any more than they already do to provide for their classrooms?

And another thing…If the point of dumping ice water on your head is that people willingly submit themselves to a moment of unpleasantness, then why the hell are you doing it in AUGUST!  The height of summer.  Ninety plus degrees.  Want to impress me?  Do that shit in January.  Every football coach who wins their bowl game gets it with sticky-ass Gatorade.  They all get a pass in my book.

But dumping ice water on my head because of peer pressure?  Not my brand of crazy.  Not my flavor of Kool-Aid.

About Micki Gibson

Young Adult fiction writer
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3 Responses to Not My Flavor of Kool-Aid (or Why I’m NOT dumping a bucket of ice water on my head)

  1. Good for you ,Micki! I seem to have come across as some kind of ogre over this.I have no idea why watching people being in real discomfort ,(when it’s done “right”), or hurt, (when it done badly), or damn-near killed, (as happened to firefighters helping with a massive dump on a college marching band.) It is totally lost on me.
    I miss the Jerry Lewis telethon.The thrill of seeing acts not seen anywhere else,(my mother staying up all night waiting to see if Frank Sinatra showed), waiting for the tally to come up every so often, seeing if certain favorite poster children/adults were still doing well…
    So , I salute you but no Gatorade over the head for you!


  2. jeff7salter says:

    I’m not going to be bullied into this or any similar activity. I have great respect for the need for productive ALS research and I’m quite aware of the horrors of that illness, since a high school acquaintance of mine died from it about two years ago.
    And I’m glad ALS is getting some public awareness, which should help with fund-raising and research.
    But I resist and resent pressure from others about what I’m supposed to do and where I’m supposed to donate my money.


  3. Iris B says:

    I applaud you for this great post! I’m probably repeating myself here, so if I’ve mentioned it on 4F1H already, I apologise!
    Like you, I really like the idea behind it, yet, it’s gone too far. Celebrity use it as a youtube stunt, and the kids around, have not idea what ALS is, or what they’re doing the challenge for, not to mention they’re supposed to donate money as well for being “iced”.
    I go along with this Australian (sexy looking!) newsreader:


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