Better safe than sorry are words to live by

I saw in the paper the other day that a guy died while working on his car when it slipped off the jack stands and killed him. As a guy that regularly works underneath cars supported on jack stands, this kind of thing always catches my attention.

Let’s face it, accidents happen. The only way to be totally safe is to do nothing at all, but even then a meteor can come crashing through your roof and conk you on the head so even the couch is not totally safe when you really think about it.

Another one that happens all too often is a guy working out with a barbell and getting killed when it crashes down on his neck. I work out with weights too and I have a bench with support racks but I still get nervous.

What if the rack breaks? Exercise is supposed to be good for you, not kill you. Yet people even die while running when their heart suddenly goes. There’s always something to worry about, it seems.

Tools are another potentially disastrous thing I deal with on a regular basis. If you’ve ever worked with a bench grinder you know it can shoot things straight at your face if you’re not careful. It’s also easy to have it pull in your hair or your shirt sleeve if you’re not paying attention.

That’s the key right there, paying attention. It’s so easy to let your mind wander or to just get lazy.

I read all the manuals for everything I buy including tools. They always say to tie back your hair, roll up your sleeves, and don’t wear jewelry.

Yet you look around and people are drinking beer while riding lawn mowers, smoking cigarettes while working on engines, hammering away at anything and everything without wearing safety glasses, etc. It would be comical if it weren’t so sad. We are so often our own worst enemies.

I’ve been woodworking forever, yet I still have all my fingers, knock on wood. The closest call I ever had was almost taking off a thumb when I was too lazy to walk down to the basement to use the table saw and instead tried to cut a small piece of wood held in my hand with a circular saw. That was a close one.

Hint: Don’t be lazy any time you’re working with tools. Take the walk to the basement if that’s what needs to be done. Much better than almost losing a thumb.

Sometimes I see roofers hanging right over the edge of the roof, working on the lower course of shingles or on the gutters, one leg swinging freely right out in the air. When I see that, I get a physical sensation of dread that is totally unsettling.

There are safety harnesses available, but these young, strong guys are invincible at that age, just like we all were when we were that young. When I think back to all the trees and roofs I used to climb with my buddies (we once even climbed up onto an elevated subway platform, from the street), I can’t believe how stupid I was. Boy, hard to believe I did all that and got away with it, looking back now.

I’m lucky to have a beautiful new grandson to play with, which is great. It’ll be interesting to see and assist his parents as he gets into one potentially dangerous situation after another.

This from a guy who as a kid stuck a bare wire into an electric outlet just to see what would happen. They say there are folks who have to pee on the electric fence just to make sure it’s really on. Yikes! Let’s hope my little grandson is not that type.

Of course these days danger is not limited to working on cars, lifting weights, and using tools. If you click on the wrong link or open the wrong file attachment, your computer can be taken over by bad guys who will then attempt to get mucho dinero from you to unlock it.

The takeaway here is there is computing and then there is safe computing. It’s incumbent on you to practice safe computing if you don’t want this kind of problem.

Yes, it involves an investment of time to learn what to do and, more importantly, what not to do, but that’s the price we pay to be on a worldwide computer network in the kind of world that we live in. It just comes with the territory.

Let’s wrap this up with a true story. One time, a friend from Canada was visiting with his wife and toddler. I had a pot of pasta that was just about done on the stove. I removed the colander so the pasta could drain. Then I picked up the pot of boiling water and headed toward the sink to drain it.

As I turned from the stove with the pot of boiling water in my hands, I felt something and the toddler, out of nowhere, was tangled up right in my feet. To this day, I honestly don’t know how I didn’t drop that pot of scalding hot water on myself and on that baby.

Gives me chills just thinking about it. What’s the saying? “God takes care of fools and babies.” He certainly took care of both of us that day.

Better safe than sorry. Words to live by.