Friday, January 2, 2009

Cold Water

December 31 was my birthday and it marked the passing of another decade of life (hint: I received a membership card from a powerful organized interest the day before my birthday). A few weeks earlier my kids decided that I needed to mark the occasion in grand fashion, so they convinced me to participate in the annual New year's Day Polar Bear Plunge into Lake Michigan. I agreed, figuring I could worm my way out of it somehow. Unfortunately, too many people had been told about it and had pledged to show up to cheer me on, so I had to take the plunge.

Other than floating chunks of ice that cut up my legs, and toes and fingers that I thought would never get warm again, it was really pretty fun. In fact, it was what I would call a real happening. The fire department (on hand to pull out frozen sinkers) estimated that there were about 2000 plungers and another 2000 people on hand to watch. It was a really party atmosphere.

Anyway, here are a few pics that summarize the experience:

Well wishers and support groups were on hand with fires, tents, and alcohol. I'd say there were a couple dozen fires:

This is what I saw (below) as I got ready to jump in. At this point it occurred to me just how cold I was about to be.

Of course I was heartened by the site of rescue personnel. Note the icebergs about twenty yards from shore:

Brace yourself; that's me (below) on the way in. Note the floating ice debris. That stuff really hurts. I'd say I was in for about 15 seconds. Getting out was the hard part, as the ice ledge kept crumbling.

Here I am with my kids, and several layers of clothes, about ten minutes after getting out. As we walked to the car my daughter said, "Dad, I don't think you realize just how cold I am." Kids can be so sweet sometimes!

Anyway, it was a hoot. Happy New Year!

PS: I suppose I'll get around to posting about politics again sometime soon.