573: Unacceptable Risk


In America these days, there is no acceptable risk for something someone does not find useful to themselves.

We all get in our modes of transportation on a nearly daily basis, and willingly take the (rather significant) risk that our routine daily trip will not, this time, come to a horrible, bloody end. It does happen that way for many people the world over. We take that risk with nary a qualm.

We take other risks with insouciance, too.

Have you actually read the warning labels that come attached to most small appliances these days? Seriously? I think we should just improve the gene pool and leave these labels off, thanks very much. WHO showers while using their toaster? Or tries to dry their hair while still in the shower? The awful part is that SOME one obviously did it, or there would not be a warning label for the rest of us…who don’t actually need one, thanks.

I remember the prenatal class I took during my first pregnancy. They were very careful to warn us moms-to-be not to have sex (immediately after delivery) while we were still in the hospital.  I’m not too sure about the other moms, but that was a totally unnecessary warning for me – any man who got anywhere near me immediately after delivery had better have had a shot of morphine, not sperm. It wasn’t actually an experience I was looking forward to beginning all over again at that point, believe me. It took me nearly three YEARS to forget about how much better it felt going in than coming out. Once again, this warning prompts the question: WHO did such a thing, and was she conscious at the time? And as for risk, pregnancy and childbirth are still (even in this modern age) statistically pretty high risk endeavors, and still women do it all the time.

Risk. Actually, I take lots of risks when I get out of bed in the morning. Your home is full of mortal dangers: the electrical circuits, the bathtub, ceiling fans, the stuff crammed on the top shelf of the closet, the pets that weave in and out between your feet, assorted cleaning chemicals which can’t be combined (that bleach  and ammonia thing gets a few people every  year), food left on the counter, or saved a few days too long in the fridge….you  just don’t know all the stuff that can kill you once you take the risk and get out of bed.

Let’s just understand that risk is part of living. The only way to eliminate risk is to die – and then you have to hope that the funeral home dude isn’t a necrophiliac. You just don’t know – and at least, at that point, you just would not know (or care much, either).

Let’s get on with the business of living – and be mostly careful, without being nuts about it.


2 Little annoying things

I have just discovered this afternoon that I have another infection for which I will be taking medication for the next 10 days. Such a genuine delight. At least we now HAVE medication we can take for routine, common, ordinary little infections – those are the ones that USED to routinely kill people, not too long ago in history! I have only 10 days of abdominal discomfort to put up with (nasty side effect of the medication), and then I will be fine again.

What did people of long ago consider little annoying things? They had BIG annoying things to deal with. I don’t have to worry overmuch about where my next meal is coming from, and that was an ever-present worry back in the day when whether you made it through the winter depended on how well the crops did. If the crops don’t do well here, food can be shipped in. Might cost me more, but I am unlikely to starve. Plus, I am relatively unlikely to die of bandits, or warfare. Both of those were pretty common killers long ago, as well as the germs you might get. And what about other things? I probably won’t be killed by a wild animal, or by riding a horse. I do have to worry about cars a little, though. And for women, childbirth is still one of the most dangerous, life-threatening things females go through (at least on a regular basis). Let’s face it, for a guy, childbirth was (is) a piece of cake. They faced lots of other obstacles, though. Just chopping wood was a risky business. If you cut yourself doing it, infection and blood poisoning could set in, and before you know it, it’s time to build a coffin!

I read once in a history book that long ago, if you lived to over the age of thirty, you were considered a wise old person, because most people died in their twenties. Wow. That is a sobering thought. I did not consider myself mostly human until I turned thirty. What would it have been like to have lived in that sort of world, where you were a wise old gramma if you made it into your thirties? At age thirty, my own children were still toddlers, and I was REALLY appreciating how wise my mother was, finally. She still gets smarter and wiser the older I get, and I am 51. At age 51, those ancient peoples probably would have put me in a cage and charged admission: “One ear of corn to see the ancient granny!”

I do feel a little smarter now than when I was younger, though. Maybe I would have finally made a wise old granny. Maybe I still will!