If you have been following the goings-on of the Hudson Valley chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, you already know that the dead of winter brings another round of the Subzero Heroes Ice Jump at Berean Lake in Highland, NY. Who in the world would do this, anyway? Deeply disturbed individuals, no doubt, but also people who hate Alzheimer’s a lot more than the freezing water.
During my illustrious career, I’ve been peed on by a circus elephant (which is only slightly preferable to being stepped on by a circus elephant), I’ve been body-slammed by a professional wrestler who called himself The Masked Assassin and I’ve had my head shaved in a bar following a stupid football bet. But, this thing is REALLY NUTS! Count me in, however, because after witnessing firsthand how Alzheimer’s strips away one’s pride and sense of self and so whittles away at the brain that eventually one forgets how to eat or even swallow, I’m for anything that can raise awareness, even if that involves a little shrinkage.
When my father-in-law, Salvatore, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, he was given a clock by the technician and told to move the hands to show the Three O’clock position. Frustrated at not being able to do so, he felt the need to urinate in her flowerpot, thus effectively ending the life of four innocent African Violets who just happened to be in the wrong pot at the wrong time.
The date is Saturday, March 12th and all the information is at http://www.subzeroheroes.org. This, being the 11th year of the jump, word has spread dramatically and consequently has grown into a major fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Association. Here’s an exclamation point as to the importance of all this: Every 64 seconds, someone in this country is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. I’m sure that Sal who passed from the ravages of this disease 11 years ago, will be viewing this spectacle from his luxury box in the sky saying, “Get some clothes on, you morons!”
I should mention that you don’t actually have to ‘take the leap,’ to assist. You may choose to stay nice and warm on the shore and volunteer. The word we use to describe this group of people is ’Sissies.” No, wait, I’m sorry…I meant ’Sidekicks.’ Yes, that’s it. In the ice-jumping vernacular, “Heroes” are the jumpers and ’Sidekicks’ are known as the sane ones.
I’m often asked if there are any special routines I have or things I do to prepare my body for the shock of being blasted by the frigid waters. Other than sleeping in the fridge every other night the week leading up to the jump, nothing.
Remember the date: Saturday, March 12th at Berean Lake in Highland, NY. Again, get all the information on how you can get involved and help us find the 1st Alzheimer’s survivor at http://www.subzeroheroes.org. Salvatore gave me some sage advice before Alzheimer’s completely ravaged his brain and that was, “If you’re going to do something, try not to screw it up. Now get a haircut!” See you at the lake.