An older gentleman, well-dressed and white-bearded, passed me on the sidewalk riding a child’s scooter. As he passed he called out, quietly but distinctly: “On your left! Yield to the right! Run for your lives!”
Perpetual Adoration: not just a clever name.
Last week, our lab had a safety inspection. Leading up to it, we spent a fair amount of time (some of us) moving boxes that were illegally stacked within 18 inches of the ceiling, throwing out razor blades that are usually lying around any lab, and worst of all labeling all buffers and solutions with their full names and potential hazards. Get this: H2O is an inappropriate label for a bottle of water. The bottle must be labeled WATER. Likewise all the other abbreviations that are second nature to anyone who’s spent more than five minutes in a biology lab (EtOH, PBS…).
On the day of the inspection, we all hid our remaining unlabeled bottles and falcon tubes in the backs of cabinets. Some of us donned lab coats for the first time in years so we could stay in the lab and get something done; others simply went and hid out in the lunch or conference room. (No one EVER wears lab coats or goggles, as is technically required.)
Obviously some level of regulation is critical; I’m all for fire codes and working eye-wash stations. But mostly I was thinking about how much waste of money and man-hours is due not to the institution’s concern for our health and well-being, but rather, to an attempt to avoid any and all legal responsibility for said health and well-being. Let’s be honest: the extremes to which the safety regulations have been taken are simply because no one wants to get sued when I splash acid in my eyes.
Fair enough. But it occurred to me there may be a simpler, cheaper way to cut down on liability. Instead of wasting my time writing “Ethanol: flammable” on a tube smaller than your thumb, etc., I’d be happy to sign something that says I understand the risks of my profession and I will not, under any circumstances, hold my employers responsible if I do something stupid. Done.
And then it also occurred to me that in addition, we could institute a similar opt-out mechanism for society as a whole. For example, I’m all for smoking bans; cigarettes are inarguably bad for smokers and everyone else who has to breath their second-hand smoke. But why did NYC have to ban trans-fats? What was the reasoning behind this? The usual arguments for nanny-state regulations are two-fold: first, the state wants to protect you from yourself, which I tend to disagree with on principle (i.e., I’m happy to let you smoke anywhere that no one else is forcibly exposed to your smoke); second, your self-destructive behavior places added costs on society as a whole, which is unfair to the rest of us.
That second argument I tend to agree with, but I’m afraid of the slippery slope. So here’s my solution: You want to eat McDonald’s three meals a day, get diabetes at age 35 and become a useless drain on society? Fine, sign here: absolve the taxpayers of any responsibility for your welfare, your medical bills, your meals-on-wheels…. You want to drive around without a seat belt? OK, sign here: promise you’re not going to hold the other driver, the state, or anyone but yourself responsible when you fly through the windshield and crack your noggin.
The nanny state opt-out. What do you think?
that’s a Friday bitches!
What I’ve learned about Chad Ochocinco from his twitter account (@ochocinco) since he joined the Pats:
- drives a prius
- eats dinner at starbucks
- really likes modern dance
- dislikes controversy (?)
- loves Karate Kid
- doesn’t drink
- addresses EVERYONE as “kind sir”
Does the following interaction in the break room at work make me a dick?
3:30 pm. My boss’s admin and I trade pleasant hellos as she cleans her lunchbox and I make myself a coffee.
My boss’s admin: (sighs loudly, twice. Getting no response…) Long day. Long weekend, really.
Me: oh, sorry to hear that.
Her: yeah, well, it got off to a bad start.
I remember she was out sick or something on friday, and then I make a very conscious decision NOT to ask her what she means by that. Because honestly, I do not care.
Awkward silence ensues as I wait for my coffee and she leaves.
Am I a dick?
We wandered into a bookstore on Sunday that specializes in romance novels. They had sections for sub-genres and sub-sub-genres….
- Wall Street Journal story on ticketholders denied seats at Super Bowl. Not the alternative destination I would have expected.
So, Saturday at 9 o’clock I stop by Jillian’s near Fenway, which according to their website is “a 70,000 square foot Food Entertainment Universe,” and I haven’t been there before but a couple of friends are in there shooting pool so I stop by for a couple of games. I get to the door and show the doorman my ID, and a funny thing happens: he looks down at my feet and asks in an apologetic tone, “Are those boots?” It seems sort of like a rhetorical question since they obviously are, but after a moment of confusion I reply that yes, they are indeed boots. He points to a sign describing the dress code for this particular Food Entertainment Universe, and says he’s sorry but he can’t let me in. The sign says no boots and, in fact, specifically mentions Timberlands, which mine happen to be. So, three things I find funny:
1. This is the middle of January in Boston. There is snow and slush and shit everywhere. (Yes, literal shit. Apparently some Bostonians harbor a belief that if one’s dog’s shit is separated from the ground by a layer of snow, it doesn’t need to be cleaned up because it will magically dissolve into the snow and melt away.) ANYWHO, we have had a major snow storm every week for the past month, I have to hire a sherpa to get from my front door out into the street, and YOU HAVE A “NO BOOTS” DRESS CODE?
2. Yes, these are Timberland brand hiking boots. They’ve been to the top of Mt. Washington, and not in a car. I have sprayed them with silicone sealant to make them extra waterproof, and they serve me quite well in this winterland wonderscape. I have, in fact, probably been wearing Timberlands since this dipshit doorman was in daycare and certainly since before Q-Tip was guest-rhyming about them on Beastie Boys albums (that’s ‘94, if you know me and are checking my math). Which brings me to
3. Do I look like I’m going to get inside Jillian’s Food and Entertainment Universe and start brawling? I’m not wearing these and a gang-colors doo rag; I’m wearing something like these and a dorky fleece hat WITH EARFLAPS. You’ve clearly been taking profiling tips from the TSA.
Not much else to say except I doubt I’ll be going back, or try to go back, to Jillian’s. Ever. I guess I’ll have to get my 70,000 square feet of food and entertainment in some other universe.