Like many people, my friends and I often pass along e-mail “forwards.” Most of the time, they consist of silly jokes, cute pet photos, or dire warnings about some “critical situation” that Snopes.com has already debunked. The majority of the time, I read them and pass some along to a few other friends. Sometimes, by the end of a long day, I can barely remember what a number of them even said.
However, I recently received a forward that has left an impression on me. It is the “obituary” for Mr. Common Sense. Mr. CS’s obituary goes on for many paragraphs, recalling how he taught valuable life lessons to several generations … things such as knowing when to come in out of the rain, taking responsibility for your own actions, and realizing life isn’t always fair. The tribute ended by saying how few attended his funeral because most people didn’t realize he was gone. I had to sheepishly admit, I was one of those who hadn’t noticed. I imagine I am not alone.
Modern society has conditioned us to accept as the “norm,” what would have been considered ridiculous a mere fifty or so years ago.
In my grandfather’s day, a person who got in a moving vehicle (in his case, a streetcar) with a boiling hot cup of coffee between their legs would have been considered to be the village idiot, not the village millionaire, courtesy of a ridiculous settlement.
My new refrigerator shouldn’t have come with a sticker affixed to the door warning me not to try to lift it on my back and carry it to another location. Do I really need to be warned not to drink the contents of a bottle of drain cleaner? Even if I were so foolish, shouldn’t the taste be a turn-off?
I suppose in the spirit of “if you didn’t laugh, you’d cry,” the Stella Awards were created to routinely spotlight those who file ludicrous lawsuits based on situations the now departed Mr. CS would have just shook his head at in utter amazement.
So now we find ourselves living in a world where basically, when anything goes wrong, it’s no one’s fault, and suing a large corporation is a far easier way to make a quick buck than by winning the lottery.
But, maybe it’s not too late to change. Maybe we can do it in memory of Mr. Common Sense.