One day, it didn’t exist. The next day it was blowing up all over every Facebook feed and news broadcast. In case you’ve been in solitary confinement, the ice bucket challenge is where you take a video of someone throwing a bucket of ice water over you, then you tag a certain number of people to do the same. If you chicken out you’re supposed to donate $100 to ALS research, although even people who go through with it are also donating.
I’m all for giving to a good cause, and I’ve been tagged. But, no, I’m not doing the ice bucket challenge. Here’s why:
1. I don’t do “joiner” type stuff. I don’t do the Electric Slide at parties. I don’t go to a movie on opening weekend. I’m an original. The ice bucket challenge isn’t about to change that.
2. I don’t do cold water. I kind of don’t do water in general. I only go into really warm pools or Caribbean-warm sea water and usually never all at once. You will never catch me diving or jumping in, ever. I kind of tiptoe in over a prolonged period of time. So… a bucket of freezing water? Umm… no thanks.
3. I prefer my philanthropy a bit more well-thought out. I have causes I care about deeply and I support those. While I think it’s great to spread the word about any worthy cause, I take pause to think that we have to produce the equivalent of a surprised kitten video to draw attention to the issues we should all be caring about.
4. Alas, if you really care about ALS and biomedical research in general, you should know that private donations (even the spectacular $40+ million that the ice bucket challenge has reportedly raised for an organization that got $2 million last year) are $5 billion to the government’s $30 billion. But with budget cuts, ALS government research funding has significantly dropped in recent years. So while this shot in the arm might prove a brief respite, what really needs to happen is that we continue to fund biomedical research in the long term.
But maybe that’s just me being an old curmudgeon. Scratch that… that’s definitely me being an old curmudgeon. If you’re doing the ice bucket challenge, more power to you. (ALS is a terrible disease that deserves all the funding it needs). Have a blanket at the ready so you don’t catch cold. Grandma over and out.