THE SEA WAS ANGRY THAT DAY, MY FRIEND

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Gone are the days when a plunge into the ocean at the start of a new year was the province of a few wingnuts bent on proving their iconoclastic chops to a conformist world.

No more. Now, it seems, everyone’s doing it.

Yes, it was unseasonably warm Monday, as it has been in recent weeks. Still, that ocean is damn cold. And there was an intermittent rain, which meant there was no guarantee that the deep chill of a dip in the briny would be offset by the warm, dry, snuggly embrace of your favorite pullover.

So how to explain that at least 560 men, women and children registered for the annual Sons of Ireland charity plunge at Donovan’s Reef on Monday?

FIVE HUNDRED SIXTY.

And by the looks of it, at least that many actually went in. However briefly, they went in.

Credit the guys from the Sons of Ireland for doing a great job getting word around (an effort redbankgreen was pleased to help with). Credit the weather. Credit a culture in which all the cool, edgy stuff eventually gets co-opted by the masses.

Seriously, you think those guys dressed like Run DMC have ever even been to Hollis, Queens?

Whatever explains the huge turnout, it was quite a sight, all those winter-softened bodies overcoming their reluctance, going into the sea, and coming out laughing their butts off with delight.

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