We all remember Ralphie Parks in The Christmas Story and his quest to get a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200 shot Range Model air rifle, and even Santa warns that “you’ll shoot your eye out.” And then the joy of Ralphie getting his wish on Christmas morning after he has given up all hope.
I know you are thinking, come on, it isn’t even Halloween yet! Why are we talking about Christmas? Well, we aren’t. Not really. We all want things that may have some danger that accompany them. I can imagine babies awaiting for conception telling the gatekeeper, just as they would tell their future parents a million times, “I know what I’m doing, I really want this.” There is risk. There are no guarantees. I am sure they are asked to sign a waiver that states they will not sue if they are terminated, miscarry, are premature or breach, have a heart murmur, born to a poor family, their parents fight and split up, they don’t get a dog or cat, they get a childhood illness, break something, and on and on. I think you get the drift.
Ralphie didn’t have to sign a waiver, but plenty of people told him about the danger. It did not change his mind. Boaters, sailors, rock climbers, mountain climbers, bungee jumpers, hang glider, hot air ballooners, and many others are told how their chosen activity is dangerous to them. They do not change their mind. The bit of adrenaline that pumps through your body while doing these things are part of what makes the experience fun. The testing of our abilities and limitations gives us a feeling of accomplishment, and a feeling that we can meet any of life’s challenges.
When we drink hot coffee, walk near or cross a busy street, use a knife, light a candle, start a fire, cook, mow a lawn and do a many other things each day we are taking a risk, but we trust our experience and feel the risk is minimal. Even with our experience, emergency rooms are flooded with people with burns, cuts, breaks and wounds of all kinds. In fact, people even die from their mishaps.
But sometimes we have to take a risk that isn’t within the normal everyday realm of our experience. Sometimes we have to put our lives into the hands of others. We sign waivers. Yes, we realize surgery is dangerous. Yes, we will have scars. Yes, we can have an unexpected reaction to medication. Yes, we realize we could die. We sign these waivers, and put our trust in our doctors, and we head into surgery.
Signing a waiver proves you have been informed of every possible risk. Signing a waiver does not protect anyone who does not act in good faith, or behaves recklessly, carelessly, or incompetently. So sign their waiver, but know you are not signing away any of your rights when you do.
And I will see you later in the week after my procedure has gone smoothly and the drugs are out of my system.