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.