Polar Plunge is dangerous

One of the classic scenes in the classic movie “Rebel Without a Cause” has Jim Stark, played by James Dean, accepting a challenge from high school tough guy Buzz to a game of chicken in which each drives a junky hot rod toward a cliff.

First one to jump out is, of course, chicken.

Jim jumps, Buzz tries to jump but his sleeve is caught in the gear shift and … well, watch the movie.

The point is, we have no way of knowing how many American teenagers learned to play chicken from Jim and Buzz. It would be nice to think that none did, but that’s probably not the case.

Teenagers, if they think about mortality, shrug it off as something applying only to someone else, which is why a game of chicken seems harmless.

Which brings us to the new game of chicken called Polar Plunge in which kids jump into ice water and, they hope, splash around a bit and eventually emerge unscathed.

Unless they don’t. Recently, the Union Leader reported, a group of teens was planning to jump into what was described as “the raging Connecticut River.” Fish and Game got word and strongly warned against it because, “the Connecticut River is boiling with fast, high water from the spring snow melt, with chunks of ice and debris coursing past.”

Still, kids were considering taking the plunge because that is what kids do: They take risks without actually realizing the extent of the risk they are taking. What’s the big deal? It’s just jumping into water. Debris? What debris? I don’t see any debris.

All we can do is hope that our own children are too smart to do something so stupid, and most of them are. The few that accept the absurd online dare can count themselves lucky if all they get is frostbite.