Monday, January 11, 2010
....may be closer than they appear.
So said the little stickered bit of writing on the American Cadillac El Dorado or whatever it was called that I pulled up next to the other day.
I heard a head teacher being interviewed on the radio the other day. She'd been asked exactly how schools make the decision whether to open or close at the moment, in view of the extremely snowy conditions we're facing here. All the kids love a day off school, the parents are usually less enthusiastic.
This head teacher went on to explain that, in this litigious ambulance chasing society we've suddenly found ourselves living in, through no fault of our own of course, they have to consider very seriously the possibility of being sued, or the threat of being sued, if a child, or anyone for that matter, falls on ice and gets injured.
The commercial radio station we have on in the background at work is awash with adverts for no win no fee compensation seeking companies. "Have you had an accident lately?" "Have you fallen over recently? Then call us, you may be entitled to compensation." they scream at us.
Life over here is like that. It's getting to the stage where someone has to be at fault for everything, not the same person, but you know what I mean. Slip over on some ice and someone's accountable. And, by accountable I mean that you can get money from them. You don't even have to be injured, you just have to be prepared to say you're injured.
Have a car accident here, go to your Doctor and tell him you've got whiplash and you get a certificate. Then you get money. You have to make a couple of phone calls and sign something to say you're telling the truth and that's about it.
In Lanka of course things are different. I like that. There you can drive into a sixty foot pothole on the Galle Road, fall down to the bottom of it, get eaten by deadly poisonous snakes, then get electrocuted just for good measure and it's an act of God, one of those things. The official verdict will be something like "death by falling down a pothole and snake bites and electrocution", the important thing is that no one's responsible.
On those very rare occasions where someone is responsible they usually suffer a fatal illness while in custody or have to hurriedly exit Sri Lanka for the most urgent of medical treatment. Allegedly.
If a chap had an accident in Sri Lanka and he was driving an American car, one of the ones with the "objects in the mirror" thing, he could probably claim that he wasn't at fault because he was too busy looking at the mirror, reading the text, which I reckon would be ironic.
I do yearn a bit for the days when people would slip over and not sue someone, just accept that bad stuff happens and get on with their day. The days when Americans would have accidents and not blame it on their wing mirrors making the image too small. Not that their cars are ever fast enough to have accidents, but you know.
Have a good week out there. We've got more snow and the fun and games that entails.