September 5, 2014

Say F*** It to the Bucket.


So, yesterday I was nominated for the Ice Bucket Challenge and I nearly copped out.

But then I got mindful and copped myself on.

To say I was annoyed by my brother’s nomination is putting it mildly. For the last week these videos have been a scourge in my Facebook newsfeed that I just wanted to go away. To find myself in the position of being expected to keep perpetuating the scourge really pissed me off. It’s not the dousing in cold water that bothers me. I mean, seriously, that’s just a minute of discomfort and not a huge deal.

What bothered me was that I was now expected to pass the baton on and nominate others. I didn’t want to do that.

So, f*** it, I decided I wouldn’t. I would douse myself and take photographic evidence of the fact, but I wouldn’t put it on anybody else to be forced to participate.

If you want to participate, you don’t need a nomination!

The only video I would share would be this one, as it is the only one that had any meaningful impact on me. It moved me to tears and it moved me to donate. As far as I’m concerned, the headline that often accompanies this link says it all: this is the last Ice Bucket video you ever need to see.

(Fast forward to 2.00 minutes and watch to the end to see what I mean)

Until I saw this I didn’t get what the whole thing was about. Now I do.

Since I’ve seen it, I haven’t been impressed by my family and friend’s ice bucket videos. Don’t get me wrong, I applaud them for their sense of fun and for doing what they deem to be the right thing.

But I also think (and apologies if this stings a bit) it’s very much a pack activity—if you’re nominated you feel you have to do it. Well, my friend, you don’t!

Within a few hours I had wised up to that knowledge myself. I remembered I am my own person and I get to choose. If mindlessly throwing a bucket of water over myself and challenging others to do likewise doesn’t resonate in any meaningful way with me (it really doesn’t), then why the hell would I do it?

I’ll tell you why I was going to do it: because I cared too much about how others would judge me if I didn’t play along. Well, that’s just horse-sh*t and I’m not going to play along.

The truth is, not a single one of my family or friend’s videos inspired me to donate.

In my opinion, they don’t really do anything to further the MND/ALS cause for two reasons:

1) Although people are being exposed to the challenge over and over, they’re only donating the once. Okay, maybe a few generous souls have donated two or three times. But I’m pretty damn sure that no-one is doing it every time another friend’s video pops into their newsfeed. For the majority of people, once they’ve done it then that box is ticked in their mind and they’re just laughing at their friends being good sports.

2) They’re not talking about what the condition is, how it affects people, thereby educating those who aren’t in the know (and many people really don’t know what it’s all about). Knowing what it’s all about is what will motivate people to donate.

I worked for years in fundraising and there is such a thing as donor fatigue. I think, for sure, there is Ice Bucket Fatigue out there and I’m not the only one who wants it to go away. But people are afraid to be the one to say, “No, I’m not doing this.” And I get that, as already outlined, I nearly didn’t do it myself.

If you really want to further the cause, then I urge you to share this video, not your own.

This video is educational. It hammers home what it means to have MND/ALS. And if somebody can sit through all of this and not donate, then they’re just not going to donate, no matter how many of their friends encourage them to do so.

Of course, there is a penalty for not dousing yourself in icy cold water: to donate $100 to the cause. It could be argued that playing along is the mean way to go and even a cop out. Here in Ireland, the expectation is to send a text which will result in a donation of three euros (that’s less than three dollars). A measly amount and because you’ve submitted to an icy drenching, no-one has ammunition to slag you off. In my book, that’s the easy way out.

The alternative has a double-negative: you look like a spoil sport and you have to make a much more substantial donation. But (having taken it myself) I would argue that the alternative is the braver and more generous route. So, if you’re nominated and you feel resistant, don’t feel bad. Honour your right to say no and to choose what amount (if indeed any) you would like to donate instead.

That’s what I chose.

I haven’t decided yet how much I will donate and I won’t be telling you either—it’s none of your business.

Think of me what you will—that’s none of my business.

If I could do the job that this guy did, then I’d participate. But even if I could do it, my efforts would be superfluous. The best thing, in my opinion, any of us can do is to keep sharing this video and encouraging our friends to fast forward to 2.00 minutes and watch to the end.

Do it now yourself and then just do whatever you feel moved to do.


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Apprentice Editor: Yaisa Nio / Editor: Travis May

Photo: Pixoto / Łukasz Sowiński


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