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It’s not cold until you stop and think about it.


Note fearsome shroud of ice, just offshore.

Mother Nature still doesn’t like the idea of me doing cold-weather water-plunges.

A major regional windstorm Friday night almost forced me to work today, instead of carrying out my promise to plunge into Lake Cochituate in Natick to raise money for Special Olympics Massachusetts.

But a colleague was willing to take the 6 a.m.-2 p.m. shift, while I came in at 2 p.m. (Scott, I owe you one.)

So there I was, a minute or two past noon, walking sanguinely waist-high into the chilly waters, then rolling over on my back and dipping in up to my shoulders and kicking my feet, then finally standing up and walking out.

I have lucked into a clement winter in Massachusetts — one of the warmest on record, I think — which means the water was not nearly as punishing as it could have been. (A token crust of ice floated just offshore, serving not much purpose except to add bragging rights: “I plunged into an icy lake!”)

I was surprised at how cold it wasn’t. There was no urge to squeal (the event was remarkably quiet in that regard) and no breath-stilling, heart-stopping slap of chill on my chest.

It felt like business as usual until I was wallowing around up to my shoulders. Around the time I started to notice how cold it was, it was time to get out anyway, since you’re not supposed to spend much time in the water at these events.

Key takeaways, then:

  • Thanks once again to all of you for your generous support! I appreciate it, and your donations are supporting a worthy cause.
  • These are fun and I’d like to do one into the ocean sometime as a real test of my mettle.
  • I have never been great at entering pools and lakes in ordinary circumstances. The perception of cold makes me seize up and hesitate. But now that I’ve just marched right into a frozen lake, I wonder if I will be more forthright in the future. Maybe, maybe not.

It is somehow important to me that I provide proof of having completed this errand, even though I like to think you all trust me.

I wasn’t about to bring my cell phone into frigid water.

Thankfully, Boston station WHDH was kind enough to include me in its nightly news (in a non-speaking role). That’s my soaked midsection at about 0:22, and that’s the rest of me doing my graceless back-leap at about 1:19.

The local paper (and my former employer), the MetroWest Daily News, posted a gallery of six photos. You can spot me in the fourth one, squinting in my Hawaiian shirt and Montreal Expos cap. (Why a news organization would post six photos when they could very easily post 30 or 40 is beyond me. But I haven’t been in the news biz in going on 15 years, so it is not my role to judge.)

I’ll close with my paltry few photos from (more or less) dry land:


My soaked shirt and shorts. (My soaked unmentionables are just out of shot, so as not to give any ladies the vapours.)


The scene of the action. I think this is right at the end of the plunging – I had already changed and was about to head home. Take note, again, of the foreboding wintry mantle of ice.


Stay tuned for the Further Adventures of Aloha Man…

One response »

  1. Congratulations! You did a good thing. Because of the worthy cause involved, the local Rochester version of this has a new (to me) slogan: “Freezin’ for a Reason!”.

    Don’t ever complain about Lake Keuka, whatever time of year you get here!



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