I have a massive pot of chili simmering on the stove for dinner, and I've been invited by the munchkins next door to join them for a campfire in the back yard later.
If you don't see the safety implications of this, you're just not paying attention.
There's a helluva headline for ya.
But it's not what you think, ya perverts.
Pretty cool story, actually.
Whattaya wanna bet he's smarter than half the class? (You knew I wasn't going to let that one go.)
Rob at Gut Rumbles is talking about Southern nicknames, and judging by the ones mentioned by his commenters, weird nicknames are not just a Southern thing. Canadians certainly have 'em too. Whenever someone mentions nicknames though, I always think of one of my father's boyhood friends.
The kid had the misfortune to suffer from epilepsy. I got to meet him once, and even then, after all those years, and with a totally straight face, dad introduced him to me as Fit Tuttle. Poor bastard had gone through his whole life with that handle. To this day, i don't know his real name.
As a teenager, I had both the good and bad fortune to work with 2 of my sisters at a camp as pool staff. It was an unbreakable tradition that every staff member had to go by a nickname. Not just to the other staff, but to campers as well (so they had to be reasonably tame). If you didn't already have one, one was assigned to you during the couple of days before camp started. Poor Pete ended up with Ralph, for reasons we could never explain to the kids. I didn't have any choice about mine, as my sisters made sure to bring up the childhood nickname that had never failed to make me angry as a kid. Fortunately Pollywog got shortened to Wog, and it became kinda cool. It wasn't until years later that I learned the potentially pejorative nature of the word.
To this day, each of us siblings refer to each other by our camp nicknames, (confuses the hell out of the nieces and nephews) and I am always hard-pressed to remember the real names of those we worked with, when they are met in person or come up in conversation. It was like a secret code for all of us - a tie that bound us together. Many of us were very close during those years (I worked there 3 years) and went through a lot together. One of the disadvantages of living so far away... I've lost touch with most of them.
If you want a really good giggle, there's a pic of the lifeguard team below the fold.
So, what was your nickname as a kid? Do people still use it?
This one closer to home.
Maggie over at Something Up With Which I Will Not Put mentioned that a student at Queen's University died in a climbing accident while 'buildering' on campus. (And yea, nice dickheaded headline from the National Post - cacksackers.)
When I was at Queen's, the sport of buildering was just getting started. In a surprisingly common-sense move, the administration realised they had very little chance of stopping us, so they put a set of safety guidelines in place, installed some belay anchors on the roofs of the more popular buildings, and allowed us to go at it.
For those not familiar with the term, buildering is a take-off on bouldering, where climbers attempt extremely technically difficult routes, but on boulders instead of rock faces. The climber is often only a few feet off the ground, and generally wears no rope or harness, just a pair of sticky-soled climbing shoes, (and normal clothing, although I'm sure three's a naked-bouldering competition out there somewhere) with a crash pad positioned beneath him.
Being on the edge of the Canadian Shield, Queen's buildings were constructed of wonderful, locally-quarried limestone which made a great climbing surface. The Phys-Ed Centre was a favourite, as it's walls were built at a slight inward-leaning angle that made climbing a little easier for the less experienced. Of course, in order to be allowed to climb there, one was required to wear a harness and be belayed by top-rope.
It appears (since I can't find any publicly accessible news coverage), that the student was climbing well off the ground without protection. Of course, there are plenty of people calling him 'shit for brains' (see comments on Margaret's post) but those doing so simply don't understand the minds of those who revel in such risks and challenges.
I am not a thrill-seeker or adrenaline junky. I wouldn't be caught dead that high up a vertical surface without a damn good rope and reliable belay partner. But there is a whole subset of humanity who simply don't feel alive unless they are that far out on the edge. They know they court disaster. That is precisely why they do it. They do everything they can to pull the risks within (to them) acceptable tolerances, then depend on their skills and strength to survive.
The kind of stuff these guys (and girls) freeclimb would put the general population into apoplexy. They choose to intentionally stake their lives on their abilities. And yes, accidents do happen, even to the most skilled. And it's a tragedy when it does. But it would be just a big a tragedy for those people to be forced into a mundane life of safety, security, and boredom.
This world would be a very different and lesser place were it not for those willing to accept and even embrace risk beyond 'common sense'. For one thing, we'd all still be huddled on the European continent, too afraid to venture onto the oceans in search of the New World, because "there be dragons", as the old maps used to say. Problem is, there's very little opportunity in modern society to indulge that kind of behaviour, outside of extreme sports.
Our modern society has been become so risk-averse that it's practically a mantra. Don't take chances. When a risk is discovered, litigate against it - and when someone suffers as a result of a risk, they insist on litigating against anyone they they can think of to make them responsible for that harm. I especially see this rigidity applied to kids, because the parents couldn't handle the guilt if something preventable happened to their children.
But the children are suffering for it anyway. They're so overprotected that they have no opportunity to gradually developed an ability to assess risky situations. At some point they are confronted with a situation, and have no skills to bring to bear in assessing it, because that decision-making has always been done for them. Too often that results in a bad decision, and a dead or severely injured kid. Exactly the outcome the parents thought they were avoiding.
Kids need to screw up. To take their knocks. But they need to start doing it when a bad choice equals some scrapes and bruises, not a car wreck. As I see it, that kind of independence prepares them a lot better than insulating them could. And, it allows them the experience of succeeding on their own too - something over-protected kids seldom get to enjoy.
Bottom line: everyone has a certain amount of risk they require in their life. For many of us, as little as possible is more than enough. Just don't be surprised that there are those who revel in it and intentionally seek it out, as opposed to wanting to eliminate it. They think we're just as crazy for sitting on our asses playing it safe.