Facebook craze for Deaf people emptying water over their heads shows our community’s love of silly fun

Posted on July 11, 2014

I don’t think I’ve had as much fun watching any of the summer sporting events, such as the World Cup, Tour De France or Wimbledon as I have in the last few evenings watching Deaf Facebook users dump water over their own heads.

Yes, you read that right. Deaf people on Facebook are challenging each other to tip cold buckets of water over their own heads.

Like this guy.

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This girl.

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And this guy.

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And a few dozen other people. With each person challenging five others to do the same within 24 hours, we may even see the whole UK Deaf community take part by the end of the month, the way things are going.

Over the last year, I’ve seen a few challenges grow like this. Irish swimmers encouraging each other to run into an icy cold sea, people compelling one another to upload their childhood photos, for example. Apparently this craze began in New Zealand, but it now feels very much like it’s ours.

It’s silly, ridiculous, pointless.

In a way.

But it’s also nice. Because it’s a reminder of the Deaf community’s love of random fun. The kind of crazy fun I’ve seen in Deaf offices, at Deaf parties and Deaf clubs.

And the way it’s spread through Facebook also shows how Deaf people across the UK are all now linked online. We’re able to be silly in front of hundreds of other people, so we shall.

That’s not to say there hasn’t been a backlash. Some users have pointed out that a man in New Zealand died after taking the ice challenge, although it’s also reported that he drank a whole bottle of whiskey after the ice had been tipped over his head.

And today, a Deaf actor has refused to take part in the craze, donating money to a water charity instead.

But as long as people go easy on the ice cubes (and I suspect some of the water hasn’t been all that cold, even if people are showing how much they’re shocked and shivering afterwards) it’s hard to see the harm.

Go forth and have fun, Deaf folk.

Twitter_CharlieBy Charlie Swinbourne. Charlie is the editor of Limping Chicken, as well as being a journalist (Guardian, BBC Online) and award-winning scriptwriter. His short film The Kiss was shown at Bradford International Film Festival in March, and his comedy Four Deaf Yorkshiremen go to Blackpool can now be seen on the BSL Zone by clicking here.

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