Slackjaw
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My Friend Wim Hof Breathed His Way Into Heaven

It started out innocently enough: with one deep breath.

Photo by frankie cordoba on Unsplash

It started out innocently enough. Jamie called me late at night from a rave. I thought he’d finally got a girlfriend or something, but then he started babbling about some Dutch superman.

“Jamie,” I said, “I don’t care what anime you’re watching these days man. I’m over it.”

He assured me this wasn’t about the new season of Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid. The subject of this discussion was a man named Wim Hof. After some confused groaning and head scratches (I had work the next day and it was like 2 am — seriously, Jamie, wtf), I asked him to explain what the hell he was talking about.

For the next two hours, he went on and on about the importance of oxygenating your body and taking control of your autonomic nervous system. He cited science and medical professionals. He usually just cites Joe Rogan and the latest Kung-Fu movie he’s seen. This was a different side of Jamie, and I was actually really happy for him. The next day, I visited him so he could show me the technique.

Laying down shirtless on a tattered yoga mat, I started doing the breathing techniques from the video. I quickly began to feel like I had just taken a handful of Vicodin. Jamie kicked a can of half-empty Mountain Dew under his bed and looked at me with a weird glint in his eye. “How are you feeling?” he said. I had to admit that I was actually feeling pretty good.

“We’re just getting started,” said Jamie.

In the hours that followed, we did some of the weirdest rituals and exercises I’d ever done in my life. We strapped frozen ice-pops to our body and ran around the apartment, all while continuing the breathing exercise from earlier. I was sort of worried that I was hyperventilating, so I sat down. Jamie removed and cracked open one of the ice-pops from his body, assuring me that I was just feeling the electrical charges running through my body and that there was nothing to worry about.

Jamie kept saying that the cold was good for my immune system. He said it was boosting the white blood cells in my body; that basically, it turned your cells into little super soldiers. It turned weak into strong.

Then he explained how he’d taken some money out of his savings and purchased an upright freezer. It looked a bit odd in his bathroom, but he stressed how it was the ultimate training ground for the human body.

Jamie’s routine consisted of taking an ice-cold bath in the tub with hundreds of dinosaur-shaped ice cubes — he saved a lot of money by making his own ice-cubes in his new upright freezer. He would then jump into the freezer for about three minutes. He mentioned that he was afraid of breaking three minutes because his vision began to blur at around that time and it felt like his body was going to burst.

Unfortunately, one evening Jamie decided to take things to another level. He dipped completely naked into the bathtub full of ice cubes with two bowling balls strapped to his ankles. To this day, no one really knows why he did that. It actually wasn’t his cause of death anyways. Jamie just started his breathing exercise and passed out at some point. He slipped into the tub and drowned, surrounded by angels carrying his innocent soul to heaven.

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Casimir Mura

Casimir Mura

Writing about things that I can’t stop thinking about