Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Good Start

Shit. I don’t want to do this. Five years is enough, isn’t it? When can we stop this craziness? When do we freakin’ grow up? Shit. I don’t want to do this.

Out of bed and dreading another New Years noon dunking in the neighborhood pond. Forty-four degree air temperature. Water temp's not much higher. Leaden skies. Spitting rain. Only the diehards will keep the string going this year. Only the fools.

Everyone’s waiting for someone else to flinch. To say that this is a bad idea and bag it. Everyone’s hoping, but not wanting to be the one. The one to crack. The one to balk. The one to be mature. Someone. Please. Save us from ourselves.

But tradition is tradition. Such a stupid statement. Who the hell’s idea was this anyway? Oh, yeah. I remember. It came up six years ago. In coincidently close proximity to the keg at Rich’s. Seemed like a good idea at the time.

No. Not going to take the fire pit down there this year. Don’t plan to stay that long. Get there at 11:55. Keep the truck running. Jump in. Leave. Hot shower. Hot chocolate. Hot toddy. Hot anything.

Better crowd than I expected. Down a little for the crap weather, but a good group. At least we’re not clearing ice from the edges this year. But then, maybe that would push someone to stop this madness.

Everyone seems happy, though with a nervous edge. No one’s overtly hung over, but I know better. There’s at least one of us here that’s hurtin’.

Shit. I don’t want to do this.

Countdown takes us by surprise. Thirty seconds! Strip the warmups off quickly.

Twenty! Quick count of noses to be sure that the same number that goes in comes out. Thirteen. Great.

Fifteen! The clock keeper’s enjoying this too much. But then, he’s bundled up, not going in. Wuss.

Ten Seconds! Kick the crocs and start looking for a lane down the small sand beach.

Five! Smile at Mary. Here we go again, dear. Together. I am so incredibly proud of you.

Four! I don’t want to do this.

Three! Shit.

Two! Shit.

One! SHIT!

Five running steps and a headlong dive. Crushing cold. Icy lock on chest, southern regions. Bodily functions start shutting down. Time stands still. Swim, dammit. No, the other way. Back to shore! Legs don’t want to work. Feet strain to find bottom as I get close to the edge. Torture.

And it’s over.

And it feels great. There's no rush to wrap up. It feels positively balmy out here. Even the rain’s okay.

What do you say we hang around for a while, dear?

2013’s off to a good start.

Note: Thanks to my good friends and neighbors Martha and Paul for the photos. How they got such steady shots of this insanity while laughing so hard is beyond me.


Feather Chucker said...

At least you don't have to worry about parasites when it's that cold. I think waiting with a count down would be worse than just getting out of your truck and jumping in.

Mike Sepelak said...

I think waiting with a count down would be worse than just getting out of your truck and jumping in.

There's some truth in that, Kevin, though just getting out of the truck is an act of personal will. The countdown, however, pulls you along, whether you like it or not.

You need all the help you can get.

Besides, it's really about being with your fellow crazies.

Anonymous said...

I would have balked, no problem. But then I would have been the guy standing on the shore with a defibrillator, just in case...

Mike Sepelak said...

Hmmm... A defibrillator. Not a bad idea, Ken. I know that I missed a beat or two.

Chris said...

Outstanding... and ballsy. Turns out, you're not too old... yet!

Unknown said...

Need to get some sun on 'em cheeks.

Mike Sepelak said...

Yet!? I don't plan on being too old for a good while, Chris. I've got too many annual trips with you ahead of me to start slowing down now.

And Alex, I couldn't agree with you more.

Travis said...

Yeah! haha good to see you East Coasters ;) enjoy a good dunking in the frigidness! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Years friend! God Bless!
I spent mine in northern MT shooting handguns with family and eating sweet potatoes!

cofisher said...

Completely sane people don't do this Mike. One day the grandkids will look at these pictures fondly...and think how cool you are.

Mike Sepelak said...

Happy New Year Travis! I'm thinking that eating sweet potatoes makes a hell of a lot more sense than this dunking. Maybe next year. It's always great to hear from you, friend.

Partially sane folks don't either, Howard. And I hope you're right about the grandchildren. I think they are pretty cool.

sweet harvest moon said...

Happy new year!

Unknown said...

Interestingly I have never had the desire to do these polar bear plunge things. However, I've always been curious to know what it would be like. Well, now I know. And I am no more inclined to try it than ever before. By the way, any fish in that pond?

Mike Sepelak said...

And to you as well, Miss Moon!

I'm glad, Kirk, to have relieved you of that temptation. And yes, fish. Bluegill, sunfish, crappie, and some serious LMBs. Took an eight pounder out a few years ago (and put him back).

Anonymous said...

I LOVE IT!!! Living crazy! On the edge! Remember you're still alive!!! Great job!!!

Mike Sepelak said...

You got it, Seth. Once done, you DO feel alive and ready to take on most anything. That's why we start the year just this way.

It's the lead-up that's hard... :-)