Safety is one of those things that has a fair amount of chance involved. Once a chain of events begins, it can be a matter of several factors that determines the severity of the outcome. For example, I once helped a good friend build a greenhouse in his back yard. He was on a 6′ ladder and he reached too far away from the ladder’s center of balance. When the ladder rocked he slipped and fell to the ground. Right where he fell were the rather substantial roots of a tree that he had removed earlier that summer. Three broken ribs.
If he had fallen a little bit to one side or other of the roots, he may have been bruised but OK. Bad luck was hitting the roots, bad choice was trying to reach too far. We should have gotten down and moved the ladder to where we needed it to be. I think of this every year when I get out the big ladder to do my Christmas lights.
Anyway, there are a few moments of personal safety that I would like back. None of them had serious consequences, but the outcomes could have been much worse. I can’t be lucky forever!
- When Mikey Franco encouraged me to take the short-cut path down the hill to the valley by my childhood home. I tumbled, rolled, and screamed, and in the end I had a few scratches and bruises. It was not a short fall. It could have killed me.
- When I drove my VW hatchback into the side of another car that had spun out on the freeway in a snowstorm. By the time I saw the other car, the best I could do is try and steer between the car and the guardrail, but steering wasn’t really working. I was driving too fast for the weather. Seatbelts saved my life.
- When I was installing some new equipment early in the engineering part of my career. Long hours and frequent changes to machine adjustment led me to reach in where I shouldn’t have. I walked away with a contusion, and I’ve seen others lose fingers doing the same thing.
- Driving in another snowstorm 10 years later because we had tickets to see a play in Schenectady. Nothing happened. It was just stupid.
- Driving after alcohol consumption. I did it, more than a few times. But one time in particular I’d like to have back. Not because of anything that happened, but when you don’t remember how you got home, and you realize you drove, that’s just wrong. That was over 30 years ago and taught me a lot.
- Oh yeah, and the time I picked up the hot end of a just-burned-out sparkler. You never do THAT twice, but wish you had never done it in the first place.
All things considered, I’ve been pretty lucky when I’ve made bad choices. How about you? Any do-overs?
Thanks, and let’s be careful out there.
Anna at abdpbt is responsible for the effort to Fight Listless Mondays. Find other list links on her blog. Her lists and the others linked there always give you something to think about, and may even make you smile!