On New Year’s Eve I was in Rabin Square with my kids, where the illusionist Hezi Dean had voluntarily caged himself within a block of ice. He was aiming to break the world’s record for longest time spent in an ice cube – without any food. Maybe I lack a competitive drive, but I don’t get it. And apparently I’m not the only one who doesn’t get it, since the phrase I heard repeated again and again while I stood beside the ice cube was, “what an idiot!”
The first time I heard about Hezi’s endeavor I flashed on Kafka’s hunger artist. By no means did I want to gawk at someone’s suffering. The fact that it was self-inflicted suffering didn’t make it any less upsetting to me. (Or maybe -to him- it wasn’t suffering). But since everyone was talking about Hezi, and my kids were curious, I realized I’d have to confront the issue, so I did what any over-protective mother would do – I went to check out Hezi Icicle myself before I let the kids go.
The truth is that there really wasn’t any reason to go see Hezi. The ice block was foggy and he was almost invisible inside (although at one point I did see his hand rise up and move from side-to-side in a sort of mini-wave). But basically, there was nothing to do there but stare at the giant clock, hanging like a scoreboard over the ice and marking each second that the human icicle endured. The thing is that although there was nothing visually upsetting before me, I was disturbed. In any case, the human icicle was definitely a G-rated event (aside from the aforementioned onlooker comments). So I picked the kids up from soccer practice and we went to the square, where Mike met us. Mike, as I’ve mentioned before, has been training for a marathon (tomorrow is the big day). And I have to say that although I do not consider encapsulating oneself in ice to be the equivalent of running a marathon, on New Year’s Eve standing with Mike (and Hezi), I found myself drawing a parallel between the two. Both are, after all, true tests of endurance. (*Note to Mike: Marathon-training has been hard on family-life, but tolerable. Should you begin to train for encapsulating yourself in ice – or anything other container- we might have to divorce).
As I write this, Mike is packing to head up north to Tiberias. Tomorrow’s marathon is along the Sea of Galilee. About 1,200 runners are expected to turn up. The weather is unseasonably warm (79 degrees F), which is making Mike nervous. There’s a danger of side winds coming off the lake which is making Mike nervous. And then there’s that other thing that he has to be nervous about – that thing that can really mess up your run – diabetes. He woke up with blood sugar of 325 this morning. Today he needs to be meticulous about his eating and dosing. If he wakes up that high tomorrow, he won’t be able to run. Fingers crossed for a few days of perfect blood sugar and a great marathon.
Here’s a picture of Mike in his previous marathon last April (btw–he’s lost 10 pounds since that marathon!). Go Mike!