I recall as a boy rhyming at my parents to be allowed to take part in high risk activities such as climbing trees, jumping off roofs and reading Hardy Boys novels.
Each time I was refused permission to take part in a dangerous activity I’d come back with the line, “But Simon Callender does it.”
I didn’t always use Simon Callender as the benchmark. Sometimes it was my cousin Mark. On other occasions I went to the bother of creating a fictional friend to uphold my case for putting my life on the line.
“But Jimmy Staples does it every day.”
The response from my parents would be the same: “If Simon Callender, your cousin Mark or Jimmy Staples stuck their head in the fire, would you do it too?”
At the time I’d have responded by means of a shrug. It’s taken me 30 odd years but now I’ve got the perfect reply.
The conversation would go something like this:
“Mum, dad, can I pour a bucket of freezing cold water over my head?”
“But Jimmy Staples did it and he’s nominated me to do it and if I don’t I’ll be a social pariah.”
“Okay, fair enough, but at your age I’d hoped you’d have knocked imaginary friends on the head.”
A few days ago I was nominated to do the Ice Bucket Challenge by Sean Lawlor and Stuart McElhinney. Having been doused in cold water themselves, Sean and Stuart thought I should join the club.
For anyone unfamiliar with the Ice Bucket Challenge they only need to log onto Facebook and check out every other post on their news feed. The challenge has been carried out by seemingly everyone on planet earth from the humble chimney sweep to the billion dollar sportsman.
There are many reasons why I was dubious about taking part, celebrity and political endorsement being one of them.
The Ice Bucket Challenge is designed to raise funds for charity. It began life as generator for ALS/Motor Neurone Disease, but has also been used to fund research into other diseases. The more the merrier, I say.
At the same time, my heart goes out to anyone trying to get sponsorship for a firewalk or a skydive at the minute. All fundraising ventures might as well be put on hold because getting a bucket of water poured over your head is the only show in town right now.
It’s the trend to end all trends.
It’s the sliced bread of charity challenges.
It’s the marmite that nobody hates.
It’s ‘You’ve Been Framed’ gone feral.
“Wind your neck in, it’s only a bit of fun for a good cause,” is what the masses say.
I’ve no problem with the charity element, but I’m not a fan of organised tomfoolery on a worldwide scale. Fun should not follow a template.
The fact nominees are given a timeframe in which to carry out this challenge makes it feel like a terrorist threat.
When I left work on Tuesday night I couldn’t decide whether to jump on the bandwagon or become a pantomime villain.
In the end a text message made my decision for me.
After reading a message that said, ‘Man up, you grumpy spoilsport’ I decided to go through with the challenge.
I couldn’t very well ignore the text considering it came from none other than Jimmy Staples.