Ice Cold Water
Published: July 31, 2012
“Ice cold water/Only one dollar,” Joshua Anderson sings through a megaphone. He looks something like a black Mr. Clean, with a shiny bald head, a sculpted and shirtless torso, shorts, gold teeth, skeleton gloves, and an Otakon pass around his neck. “Ice, ice, ice/ice, ice,” he chants in his inimitable rasp. “Cold, cold, cold/cold, cold.”
“Would you sign my dollar?” a grinning young man in an elaborate red costume asks as he approaches Anderson. Several other people in seriously detailed attire snap photos.
Anderson takes out a Sharpie and signs the bill. “He’s a really well-known figure,” says the young man, Patrick Snyder, who came up for Otakon from South Carolina. “I came here last year and he just really blew up. I heard all about him and I just had to find this guy.”
Though he normally sells water at Orioles games, Anderson is a celebrity among the Otakon set. The organization put him onstage on opening night with bottles to throw out to the crowd.
“Everyone was singing along with him,” his wife Candice says. And the festival is auctioning a painting of him, which, by the middle of Saturday afternoon, is fetching $175, according to Anderson’s son Chase.
“If you just search ‘ice cold water only one dollar guy’ [on the internet], you’ll find shirts and sweatshirts and all kinds of stuff,” Chase says.
“It makes me mad that other people are making money off of him,” Candice adds. “We tried to patent it, but they said it was too short.”
But Anderson is still doing OK. “I make eight or nine [hundred dollars] on a good day,” he says.
“It’s not like we’re trying to be rich,” his wife says. “Even if we were rich, he would still do it because he loves it. But they’re making money off his work.”
Another vendor walks up and buys a loosie from Candice.
“He’s killing me,” the man says. “People say ‘you’re not the Ice Cold Water guy.’ I say ‘yes I am.’”
An otaku comes up for a picture with Anderson. Someone else buys a water—which Anderson keeps cold with dry ice, getting a leg up on the competition—and hands the money to Chase.
“I love Otakon,” Chase, 12, says as he puts the money away and scrolls down his phone to show off a picture of himself with a scantily clad woman.
“Ice cold water/Only one dollar,” his father sings as another group approaches for pictures.
> Email Baynard Woods