No more crazy polar bear dips

I will embrace the crazy side of my personality in other ways that don’t involve seeking medical attention afterwards.


Call me chicken, call me a wussy, call me whatever you like, but I am not going for a swim today.

I don’t care if it’s a tradition. Jumping into a pool of icy water just because it’s the winter solstice is not my idea of fun.

Been there, done that, got the T-shirt – don’t want another one.

I will embrace the crazy side of my personality in other ways that don’t involve seeking medical attention afterwards.

Some things, I believe, should be done only once – like marriage and suicide. Winter solstice swimming rates in this category.

When I was young and invincible and still knew everything, I did take the plunge once.

On that occasion, it just so happened that the shortest day of the year fell on a Saturday.

A fire, a braai and peer pressure – mostly by Jack Tarr and Charles Glass – eventually saw me and a group of mates line up on the side of a pool, wearing nothing but our jocks.

We were planning on giving some cheek, but that plan was aborted after vehement protests from our other halves – and the fact that there were children present.

At least one element of sanity prevailed. After a 10-9-8 … we took the leap.

The moment my feet hit the water, I thought the pool was frozen solid and that I had broken both my ankles on impact.

But alas, no, I was going down. I was in slow motion. My kneecaps cracked and popped through the skin, or so it felt.

I’m not going to describe what happened to the rest of my anatomy, except that I first had a heart attack, followed instantly by brain freeze.

Two days later I was still shivering – but this time from cold fever. I was convinced I had pneumonia, but my doctor wasn’t.

Just a mild flu and I was dismissed with a handful of pills.

So, today, while all the crazies go out for their annual polar bear party, I’m staying indoors.

I’ll start the day with a hot bath, make a fire in the fireplace and treat myself to hot chocolate and a hearty stew.

No braai. Friends are welcome to pop over – except Jack and Charles.

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