Thursday, August 21, 2014

Rant #1,274: Kick the Bucket

One of the wildest crazes around now is the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Unless you have been under a rock for the past few weeks, you know that this challenge is linked with ALS, the disease that kills thousands every year, and is most famous as being the ailment that did in baseball's Lou Gehrig more than 70 years ago.

The disease has mystified humankind for decades.

We don't know what causes it, why it comes about, and we don't have a cure for the disease.

It seems that we have been running in place with this disease for decades, and we aren't much further in its research than we were when Lou Gehrig made his famous "I am the luckiest man on the face of the earth" speech.

It took Gehrig, one of the greatest and strongest players ever to play baseball, from a Goliath to somebody who had trouble walking in a matter of months.

His link with this affliction has always made it a high profile disease, with the public donating millions of dollars each year for research into finding a cure.

But during the past few weeks, donations have skyrocketed due to the Ice Bucket Challenge.

What the challenge is is that someone sits or stands and has a bucket of ice poured over their head.

The original conception was that if you didn't want to go through that, you simply donated $100 to ALS research.

But what has happened is that people are taking the challenge, donating the money nonetheless, and than passing the challenge over to other friends and family ... and thousands of people have taken the plunge.

And like ALS, the origins of the challenge are quite mysterious. There have been similar events held during the past few years, but it is inconclusive about where this actually started, and how it got hooked up with ALS.

Lots of celebrities have also taken the plunge, and with our society's fascination with stars, many just want to replicate what their favorite actors, singers and athletes--and even politicians--have done, so they go ahead and get doused.

It has pushed up donations at least 10-fold, and it is a fun way to try to tackle an absolutely horrible disease.

There has been some controversy with it.

Groups representing other horrible diseases have said that the challenge is taking away focus from their diseases, but to me, that is pretty much sour grapes.

Nobody has forgotten that there are other diseases besides ALS, and let's be honest about it, this is nothing more than a fad, and it will go away as fast as it came upon us.

But for now, it is THE thing to do.

No, I haven't done it yet, but I know several people who have been doused.

I am not opposed to doing it, but I don't know yet if I will.

Let's see what the weekend brings, and even beyond that.

Probably by the time I decide to do it, the fad will have passed.

But whatever. It is a personal choice, nobody is forcing anyone to do it, but I must admit, it does look like a lot of fun to do.

So to those who have done it, good work, and to those who have thought about it, think a little more.

I think Lou Gehrig is looking down from the heavens and smiling, and smiling a lot.

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