Lawlor / Things that can kill you
I have fallen short on a few areas of being a dad. I was supposed to prepare both my daughters for the real world. I’m afraid I have failed.
One of my adult daughters came home for a visit the other day, and I arrived home a few minutes after her. She was sitting on the couch watching TV. I smelled gas and I asked, “Do you smell gas?” “Yes, it smells a little gassy,” she said and went back to her Netflix binge.
I opened the doors and windows in the house, and noticed the problem with the pilot light that was causing the smell. Then I confronted my daughter: “If you think you smell gas, you can’t just sit down and watch TV. You have to react. Do something!” She was understandably defensive: “I didn’t know if it was a new smell. I don’t know what you guys do here since I moved out.” She acted as if her mother and I had maybe made the lifestyle choice to have the house smell like gas since she went to college.
My other daughter had FaceTimed me a few days earlier as her and a roommate had a problem with a light at their apartment and had taken it off the wall without flipping off the circuit breaker. I said to put the light back and call her landlord.
I then explained that electricity can kill you. And I explained to her sister that gas can kill you. I realized that I had not done an adequate job of explaining to my newly adult daughters things that could kill you in addition to the gas and electricity mentioned already. I will attempt to remedy my deficient parenting:
Cars: I am going to include all motor vehicles. They are large objects that can go very fast. The human body is just a sack of bones, blood and soft tissue. Cars, motorcycles, planes and boats will always win. We have lost a lot of friends to these. Please be careful around them.
Water: They say you can drown in a teaspoon of water. And don’t get your aunt Ellen going on getting caught on the mudflats when the tide comes in. Boating accidents, riptides and river currents, but water can also steal your heat if you are out in the cold. Stay dry and out of the wind.
Guns: They are designed to kill things. Be careful of them. I know we have them out at the family camp for bears, but you know they are not toys. Be really mindful when handling them. Again, they are designed to kill things
Lions and tigers, and bears: They are not the only animals that can kill you. I don’t even like you putting your face down near a dog. Respect all animals.
Alcohol/drugs: This is a big killer. You have already seen it in your life where alcohol kills someone you know, and my generation has seen it kill people more slowly after years of abuse.
Fire: Not just the wildfires raging in California, but fire kills a lot of people and not just the flames, but carbon monoxide also kills. Make sure your smoke detectors have CO detectors built in and you put fresh batteries in twice a year.
Combinations: If you think one is bad, imagine two or more. One from column A, and one from column B. Such as alcohol and cars. Actually alcohol and any of the things on the list does not just double it, it exponentially raises your odds of dying. Any combination can be lethal, water and electricity, alcohol and fire, etc. If you combine three of them together such as drinking then driving in a car with a bear forget about it.
I’m coming over to your apartments to check your fire alarm batteries and pilot lights.
Thomas Lawlor lives in Southport with his wife and two daughters. His column appears every other Friday. He can be reached by email at Tlawlor@mcommunications.com.