Mike Buzzelli

Column Mike Buzzelli

Mike Buzzelli is a stand up comedian and published author. He is a theater and arts critic for 'Burgh Vivant, Pittsburgh's online cultural talk magazine, and an active board member of the Pittsburgh New Works Festival, the Carnegie Arts Initiative and the Carnegie Screenwriters. His book, "Below Average Genius" is a collection of essays culled from his weekly humor column here in the Observer-Reporter.

Ice, ice, baby

August 22, 2014

It’s been a crazy week. I mean really crazy. Perfectly sane friends are dumping buckets of ice water on their heads. My family members are doing it. My friends are doing it. My favorite celebrities are doing it. Men, women and children are wetting themselves for charity.

I need to point out an irrefutable fact: Buckets of ice are best used to chill champagne. Maybe after you drink all the champagne, you can drown your sorrows by nearly drowning in partially frozen water.

I watched a lot of people challenge their friends. At first, I was grateful my name never came up. Then, the enormous ego played peek-a-boo. I was starting to get angry that my name wasn’t on anyone’s lips. It’s like being angry that the guy carrying the collection plate doesn’t make it to the back row of the church. I should have been relieved.

Finally, my niece, Brittany, challenged me to support ALS, just as her boyfriend threw ice water on her (hey, she asked him to do it). I had been skating by, on thin ice, literally and figuratively. Thanks, Brit.

I cheated. I wrote a check instead of dousing myself. It seemed like a more rational way to go. Giving away a stack of hard-earned money to a good cause never gave anyone pneumonia. I should be proud I donated money. Somehow I felt a little cowardly. Though, not enough to participate in soaking myself with water best suited for polar bears.

Last summer, between the end of July and the beginning of August, ALS raised $1.4 million. This year, during the same time period, they’ve raised $4 million. People are still donating. It might be a crazy thing, but it’s good crazy.

Note: Good crazy reminds me of those old-time appliance store salesmen who would come on the television and say, “Our prices are insane!” There were “Crazy Eddie” and “Crazy Bernie the Close-Out Consignment King,” among a host of other nutty storeowners. I think they locked them all up in the loony bin for selling half-price audio equipment.

I digress, like I do. There’s always going to be a thing that takes the Internet by storm. At least no one’s singing “Do you want to build a snowman” in the middle of August. I loved “Frozen,” but two months after I saw it, I sort of wanted to club people about the head after hearing all the cover versions.

Today’s ALS challenge is tomorrow’s “Gangnam Style.” Remember Psy? Yeah. I didn’t either. I had to look him up. Thank you, Wikipedia.

Next week, some new, equally maddening thing will conquer your news feed. I am glad that some people are reaching into their wallets before or after they reach into their ice buckets.

If you have a few bucks for ALS, you can reach them at www.als.org. Technically, I just challenged all of you. You can even keep your ice in your freezer as long as you get out your checkbook.

P.S. If you feel another charity is more worthy of your money, give to them instead. I won’t tell anyone.



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