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Winter is enough of a ‘challenge,’ thank you very much



March 18, 2014
Tuesday PM

(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska -  For a week or so, it seemed like everyone in Southeast Alaska was obsessed with something called the “Winter Challenge, 2014.”
jpg Dave Kiffer

To complete the challenge, apparently you had to do a video “selfie” of yourself jumping into the water, but not before you challenged several of your friends to also complete “the challenge.”

Then, of course, you posted the “Awesome Selfie Splash Down” and challenge on Facebook, because as everyone knows, if it’s not on Facebook it didn’t happen.

Once upon a time, people used to say that if you didn’t get “it in writing” then it didn’t happen.

But in our Technopalooza Life, if you don’t film it and post it on Facebook it really, really, really didn’t happen. Everything about us, must be examined and in a very public manner.

I’m sure that Socrates was thinking about Facebook and selfies when he allegedly said  that the “unexamined life is not worth living.”

Of course, he also allegedly said “as for me, all I know is that I know nothing” but that is a less useful quote when you are trying to win an argument (and why else would you quote Socrates?). I mean who wants to get caught spouting something like that.

But, as usual, I digress.

Apparently this challenge thing-a-ma-bob started off with children challenging their parents to go jump in a (semi frozen) lake or other navigable body of water larger, and colder, than a hot tub.

Now, I don’t know about you but I generally shy away from doing things that my child suggests I do. I mean, really, is there anything that toasts a child’s cockles more than watching his or her parent(s) do something silly?

Until adolescence of course, when any silly action by a parent is cause for the deepest imaginable, life scarring, world ending embarrassment, especially if is occurs when another adolescent (s) is present.

For example, Charlotte mentioned that Liam had been in Boy Scouts when she asked a question at a “parents of new students’ assembly” at Schoenbar last year.

Happened months ago.

Liam is still embarrassed and very cheesed off about it.

He is saving up his allowance so he can consult an attorney.

Something about emancipation.

Oh well.

So, forgive me, but I am a little skeptical about engaging in a child-suggested “challenge.” Perhaps, we should “challenge” them back with “cleaning their room” or “doing their homework.” Or “not suing their parents!”

Now, those are more difficult challenges than jumping in the bay.

After all, one of the definitions of challenge is to “invite someone to do something that one thinks will be difficult or impossible.”

Seriously, this is Ketchikan, how hard is it fall in the water?

Imagine if I have “challenged” my father to jump in the cold water. I can presuppose his response.
“Sonny, this is Ketchikan,” he would say while rolling his eyes in a manner that has already passed generationally to my son. “If you just wait long enough, everyone eventually falls in the water around here. That’s a challenge? Challenge them to not fall in the water. What kind of imbecile are you?”
Funny, I always knew there were many imbeciles out there. But I had no idea there were different kinds of imbeciles. Go figure.
At any rate, before you complete the challenge, you must pass on the challenge to some of your “friends.”
Not sure I would consider someone even a “Facebook Friend” if they passed such a challenge on to me. And yes, several people already have, but I’m courting seven years of bad luck (and actual accidental falls off the dock into the water) by ignoring them.
I guess I should give the founder of this imbecilic challenge “kudos” for finally coming up with something more obnoxious than the chain letter.
Shootfire, I Just lost about half of you with that last reference.
Once upon a time, we used to take a pen or pencil and write our thoughts on a piece of white material called paper. Some of us, with penpersonship similar to patterns made by chickens chasing corn bits in the dirt, even went to the trouble of using a machine (without spell check!!!!) to imprint those thoughts on paper.
Then we would put that paper inside another piece of folded paper (herewith referred to as an envelope), put a stamp on it and put in a steel box and wait for a guy or gal in silly gray shorts with red and blue piping to pick up and eventually deliver it to someone else.
Quaint, yes, but it worked kinda sorta okay for about 2200 years.
Naturally, if something works kinda sorta okay for two millennia, we feel a strong need to change it.
So computers were invented solely to change how we passed along our most important thoughts, emoticons and hashtags.
Now you can type something into a computer or an IPhone or even an electronic toilet paper dispenser, hit the send key and have it arrive, more or less instantaneously with no gray shorts or plastic pith helmets involved.
Of course, at the same time, we invented computers we also invented bugs that can not fixed with even the largest sized can of Raid. So once you hit send you are left wondering whether the message got where it was supposed to go.
Did it go to the intended recipient?
Did it go to someone who would be highly offended to read the message?
Did it go into Outer Space?
Did it end up jumping in the semi frozen Tongass Narrows because a slightly newer message challenged it?
You only know for certain that it has been received when you get back a reply.
“What kind of imbecile are you?”


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Dave Kiffer is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.
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