Saturday, February 16, 2013

Saturday Short Subjects: You Can’t Save the World If You Are Dead

A few weeks back Jared Diamond (of Guns, Germs, and Steel fame) wrote an Op-Ed piece for the New York Times: “That Daily Shower Can Be a Killer.” Heed his warning

According to the CDC, each year one in every three adults 65 and older falls. Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of injury death, as well as the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma.

Here’s an easy first step. Buy a tub mat for your own bathroom(s) for sure and some more to give loved ones. [Younger people can fall, too.] This smiley-faced blue one was a bargain at IKEA; the large holes makes it easy to hang up to air out between uses.

Part of a line of home safety products called PATRULL, it was displayed next to an array of bright yellow safety vests with silver reflective stripes, available in sizes from kids to Adult XL. Also a bargain, they will not prevent a fall, but they may keep you from being hit by a car. They are perfect for anytime you find yourself on or near a busy road — whether riding your bike, shoveling snow, picking up trash, planting trees, or crossing 101 in the dark. Keep one or two in your car trunk in case you have an emergency and need to exit your vehicle. These vests conform to established safety standards and are washable up to 25 times.

Diamond’s piece was inspired by his recent experiences among traditional New Guineans who have a “hypervigilant attitude toward repeated low risks,” such as the avoidance of sleeping under dead trees.  I happen to believe that some of the “exaggerated risks” Diamond makes light of in his article — including genetically modified crops, nuclear radiation, and “crazy gunmen” —  do matter. But I realize that you can’t be an agent of change if you are dead or incapacitated because you fell and broke your hip or smashed your head while taking a shower.

Be Safe. Go buy that tub mat (and perhaps a safety vast, and maybe some Yaktrax if it is icy where you live). 

Stay well. Enjoy the rest of what for many of you is a long weekend.

And, please come back on Monday to learn about yet another ancient grain.

Why Saturday Short Subjects? Some readers may recall  being dropped at the movie theater for the Saturday matinee — two action-packed feature films with a series of short subjects (cartoons or short movies, sometimes a serial cliffhanger) sandwiched in between. Often the short subjects were the most memorable, and enjoyable, part of the morning. That explains the name. The reason behind these particular posts is that we are all short on time. My Short Subject posts should not take me as long to write or you as long to read (or try).

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