I have mixed feelings about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that's sweeping the Internet. On one hand, it kind of trivializes a truly horrible, awful disease. On the other hand, it's a great way to draw attention to yourself.
I'm still not exactly sure how the campaign works. Apparently, a Facebook friend challenges you to donate money to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), "Lou Gehrig's Disease." But, as an alternative to giving money, you can also help the cause by dousing yourself with cold water. Though I'm not exactly sure how this helps. Do the water pellets morph into some sort of useable currency?
One time, I met a very kind woman in the final stages of ALS. At that point, she couldn't move her limbs, what less lift a bucket of water over her head. Hence, this social media phenomenon is a bit condescending. It's like if someone asks you to donate money to help people in wheelchairs and not only do you not give anything, but then you jump up and down. This woman simply wanted people to visit her and to talk to her like a human being.
Now people are even dumping ice water on their kids. I've seen the clips on Facebook. Ah, yes, because it's important that innocent 8-year-old children are made aware of a terminal illness that leaves you paralyzed. "Hey, kids. Just wanted you to know that one day you might get a horrific, painful disease and die. Now who's hungry? I made tuna fish sandwiches!" When I drive by the playground and see little boys and girls playing on the jungle gym, I think, "What's a fun way to teach these tykes about the 1970s Cambodian genocide? Maybe Silly Putty."
Celebrities have started posting their own ALS Ice Bucket Challenge video clips. That's not a good sign. Once famous people get involved in a project, any semblance of freshness, fun, and sincerity quickly disappears into a fog of emotionally-bankrupt vapidity. Heck, Lou Gehrig himself is rolling in his grave at the thought of Khloe Kardashian using ALS to promote her line of pomegranate-scented headscarves.
And why "dumping cold water?" That's not a punishment. On a hot day, cold water on your face feels pretty good. I would like to see people dump a bucket of boiling, scalding hot water over their head. In comparison to first-degree burns, I bet donating money seems like a pretty good option.
I'm starting a campaign to raise awareness for people with dry eye syndrome. And if you don't give money, then you have to punch yourself in the nads. I haven't decided who I'm going to nominate for the challenge yet, but I'm leaning towards people I dislike.
Some people are adamantly opposed to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. They're writing long online diatribes. And they're posting videos of themselves, explaining their opposition to the campaign. It's a clever way to draw attention to yourself. I mean, you could just ignore it all, but what fun would that be? I predict the next crop of people will be those who want to make it known that they're neither for nor against the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge... which they will explain while dancing naked on rooftops.
One of the opposition videos I watched featured a young woman explaining that the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is wasting water... because there are poor, disease-ridden countries around the world whose poverty-stricken citizens don't have clean water. It's sad to think there are places on this planet where people don't have clean water to dump over their heads. That's why, in solidarity, I don't shower. Well, if nothing else, I hope this viral craze encourages Americans to send their extra buckets of ice water to third-world nations.
I don't know why the naysayers are so angry. Personally, I don't care if people want to dump water on themselves. The people in the videos seem to be having fun. The world needs more fun, especially with the Twilight films so readily available.
I do have one serious complaint about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, however. Some critics argue that this spectacle isn't really raising awareness for ALS. I disagree. It is raising awareness for ALS. And that's the problem.
We don't need to raise awareness for ALS. Look, it's an absolutely despicable disease. It's terrible that this sort of evil shit is happening. Hence, my latest Twitter campaign to stop evil shit from happening: #StopEvilShitFromHappening
But there's not much of a point to being "aware." Have you ever seen anyone suffering from Lou Gehrig's Disease? You need not know anything about nerve cells or motor neurons to see that it's bad. People are trapped immobile in a wheelchair, unable to speak. And there are a lot of terrible diseases. There are a lot of people suffering. There. I just told you. I just raised awareness. Now you're aware. But awareness is not going to help. But there is something that actually could.
Stem. Cell. Research.
We can cure Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Well, I mean, I can't. I'm not good with complicated concepts. I don't even know how to use Instagram. But the scientists could very well cure it someday. How? Stem cell research.
This stem cell research is freakin' amazing. Stem cells are capable of regenerating themselves. Stem cells have the ability to repair and replace damaged tissue. This is the medical breakthrough of the century... I mean, not counting calf implants.
Stem cell research. It's the Holy Grail. It's the magic pill. It's the winning lottery ticket. It's the most dramatic rose ceremony ever. Yes, it's that good.
Dump ice water over your head. Shoot firecrackers out of your butt. Do whatever you can to force the government into putting more money and time and effort into stem cell research.
Remember when stem cell research was all the rage? What happened? Nobody's talking about it anymore. Yes, this is going to take some time to perfect. And we have short attention spans. But I promise you that it's worth the "Oh hey Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon are getting divorced!? That's unfortunate. They seemed like a loving couple. "
Stem. Cell. Research.
I believe this is how we're going to cure ALS... and hundreds of other illnesses, too. Elect politicians who support stem cell research. Donate money to stem cell research. Demand laws that allow researchers more access to stem cell experimentation. You can give all the money you want to ALS foundations, you can get a million "likes" when you post your ice bucket video online. But if you don't support stem cell research, you're part of the problem.
We don't need to raise awareness for ALS. We need to cure it. And there's a chance.
Tell your kids about stem cell research. Raise awareness for stem cell research. Is anyone here following Gwyneth Paltrow on Twitter? Well then tell her to post something about stem cell research. She seems like a nice person. I think she'll do it.
There is a bigger picture here. We, as a society, have left future generations to deal with a cesspool of crime, violence, economic inequality, an eroding culture, a crumbling infrastructure, a devaluing of education, toxic food, and Taylor Swift's new single. But we can leave behind something worthwhile, something that enriches, something that enhances, a gift to humanity.
I believe stem cell research can one day cure Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Take just five or ten minutes to read a little about stem cells. It's fascinating. The possibilities are endless. And I will post as many selfies as it takes in order to get the word out.
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