THE SHORES OF LAKE MICHIGAN (FOR NOW) — Enjoy Lake Michigan while you can Chicagoans (and Michiganders, Hoosiers and Wisconsinites, come to think of it) because at 2:10 p.m. Saturday, it will be drained.
At least that's Tim Mack's plan, and he doesn't look like a liar.
The baby-faced 23-year-old with the kind of sweet smile grandmas fall in love with, insists that his goal to drink Lake Michigan on Saturday — not drink from Lake Michigan but drink the entire lake — is sincere.
"I figure I'll be the youngest to drink the lake," said Mack, who lives in Mt. Prospect and graduated from Loyola University. "Also the only."
Your choice here is to: A) consider the young man capable of going deeper into character than Joaquin Phoenix punking David Letterman or B) take Mack at face value.
Most of the 16,000 people following Mack's "I am going to drink Lake Michigan" Facebook page — yes, sixteen thousand — which he created Dec. 6, have opted for the latter.
Many have offered encouragement:
"I just saw the lake and said my goodbyes. I just want to tell you good luck. We're all counting on you," posted one fan.
Plenty have expressed logistical concerns — "Are you worried about having to drink Lake Huron too because they are connected?" — a factor Mack said he hadn't really considered.
"I guess I'm more of a dreamer than an analyst," he said.
Others shared environmental and digestive concerns:
"Please don't do this, we need the water."
"I am looking forward to seeing the boats and bodies and stuff go down your esophagus."
Even more have offered to provide straws, or Brita filters.
"I'm going to go with a mug," said Mack, but filters would be welcome, particularly after his first exposure to lake water — part of his "training" — left him dizzy and a bit sick to his stomach.
"It is drinkable, but I do have wean myself onto it," he said. "I want to discourage people from joining in; it could be dangerous if they haven't trained."
Here's how things will go down on Saturday:
Mack and his team will arrive at Montrose Avenue Beach, 4400 N. Lake Shore Drive, at 2 p.m. Shortly thereafter, the drinking will commence, with Mack setting a time limit of 10 minutes.
"I figured I would eyeball the lake after I'm done, look out and see whatever was under all that water," he said. "I guess I'll shake some hands and take a few pictures."
The idea came to him last New Year's Eve, he said, as he drove along Lake Shore Drive with friends. Before you ask, no, he wasn't drunk at the time.
"I'm not a big water drinker, this is something to push my own limits," he said.
Whether he succeeds in draining all of Lake Michigan, Mack said the attempt is important, if only to give people a whimsical break from the harsh realities of everyday life.
"I'm no hero," he said, "I'm just a man, drinking the lake."
To stream the event at 2 p.m.: download the Periscope app, log in via Twitter, follow @timdrinkslake.
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