Not sure where this particular Christmas tradition arises, but there are at least three cases reported in the last couple days of people jumping into rivers, from Marin to Massachusetts, for a variety of reasons.
In Napa before noon this morning, according to local reports, a man took off his shoes and jacket and jumped into the rain-swollen Napa River from the Third Street Bridge, apparently just to see what it would be like.
Capt. Ty Becerra of the the battalion chief of the responding unit, took part in the river rescue of the 63-year old man, described as a possible transient.
"He appeared to be under the influence of something," Becerra said. He described the man as confused and incoherent, but whether from drugs or hypothermia he could not say. "I do remember him saying 'it's a good day for a swim' while we were taking him to the rescue vehicle."
Becerra estimated he was in the water for ten minutes. About ten rescue personnel were called out to pull the man from the river near the restaurants downstream, and take him to Queen of the Valley for observation. It was not clear if charges were filed.
The Napa Register reported that City Council member Peter Mott was a witness to the man's jump, but it was not clear if Mott or someone else called in the incident.
Meanwhile over in Marin County early Monday morning, a police pulled over the driver of a car in the area of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard and College Avenue, near the College of Marin, on suspicion of driving under the influence. The man escaped by running toward Corte Madera Creek, leaping a fence and jumping into the storm-swollen river.
Police gave chase but lost sight of the man in the water and darkness, according to news reports. The search resumed after daybreak this morning.
In Boston, according to a video on NBC News, a police officer ran into the Four Point Channel last night to rescue a woman who "had fallen into the water." Using a rescue life-saver appropriated from a nearby museum, he swam over to the woman and helped her stay afloat until help arrived.