When I was a young boy I looked up to and was inspired by my peers. As a young man entering industry I clamoured to achieve and surpass that which my peers achieved. I didn’t watch older men levering parts from precarious positions with anything less than ambition. The scars and wounds of an industrial life formed the pictures for enthralling stories over a mug of tea.
I am not sure when this changed, but it has. No longer are the achievers and the risk takers looked up to. Not just in industry but in the commercial world to, safety has become the ruler. When I push the boundaries even a little the next generation tell me that we shouldn’t do that. I no longer see the enthusiasm in their faces, the drive and desire to become the man. The scars of learning are no longer respected, instead derided as the result of not following the rules.
Ladders are almost outlawed in most industry now for fear of falling. The men that I watched in awe carrying huge weights speedily up wooden ladders are mere memories. Balance is no longer learnt but actively discouraged. As injuries have reduced so the most minor if incident warrants an investigation, its even frowned upon to laugh. This is not true human nature, our nature tends to efficiency and constant improvement. People do get hurt, pain is nature’s greatest educational tool after all. But innovation costs, there is no free ride.
When the zombie invasion starts we still have a chance. There is a generation that knows how to achieve and how to take risks still hidden under the suffocating blanket of Health and Safety. Don’t look at my age and above and think we’re past it remember we may be your saviours. We still remember how to keep going when we are hurt, we know how to work without risk assessments. If zombies are chasing us we will leap first and worry later. Don’t misunderstand me, I offer no guarantees in the zombie situation. I do know that I offer more chance with a Leatherman than a team of Health and Safety with clipboards.
The next generation are not so lucky, they know no better. Shoot a zombie? Without training? Certification? Calibration of the weapon? Oh no I think the face being chewed off option is for me. Will the Health and Safety team be there to paint yellow warning lines on your camp in the woods. There is no hope of eating meat as you know it once the loons have introduced the 100:1 mass ratio for determining safe animals to attack for food.
That is the thing with the safety madness, it was enabled by risk taking daredevils. There would be no electricity to power their laptops if the odd person hadn’t had a shock or two. Hell they would have starved to death in a committee meeting on the safety risks of eating berries. It is almost as if they believe that we have finished evolving. There is no need to take risks now people because we are as good as it gets, there is no more benefit to be had.
I have another startling observation for the day and it’s hats. What is it with hats and authority? My understanding was that they were generally used to disguise hair cuts and personal features whilst drawing eyes up for better contact. Formal hats are dying out but occasionally they still appear. So why is it then when my train driver chose to wear a traditional peaked cap, as would have been his obligation in days of old, it looked so odd? Firstly I don’t understand why anyone would add such a feature to a mandatory uniform. But the site of a formal hat on a middle aged train driver’s head made me think of Harry Potter or some evil soul gathering demon. If it had been a steam train it would have been ok, if it had been a frivolous hat then this to would have passed without incident.
But there was something unnerving about the formal officer’s cap. I could almost here him muttering curses as he piloted his train of souls into the afterlife. Perhaps he was an over stayer from the necropolis express* indeed was the train really a glimpse at the eternal journey of the dammed? Some could say that I read too much. Some would question my voracious consumption of the excellent James Patterson’s Witch and Wizard, they are welcome to. Me? I just got on the next train and watched the driver pilot his cargo into the distance.
* Well worth a google