19 October 2006

Only in America (a never-ending story..)

I've heard it before, but it's just as amusing this time. Americans' fear of being sued knows no limit... This time an elementary school in Attleboro, Massachusetts has banned playing 'tag' and other such games where kids may get hurt. Other schools have similar bans on games where kids may be in physical contact with eachother.

Yes, kids do get hurt sometimes when they play. But sue? Sue the school, the teachers, the other kids?? Really, doesn't make any sense. It's putting too much restrictions on them. It's a little like all the EU regulations about playgrounds - you've got to have the right kind of sand under the swings etc. So when a kid's off school or kindergarten - and away from the safety sand and the ban on games - how will s/he know that falling off a tree will actually hurt? That throwing a rock at someone is not a good idea?

An entirely different matter - someone apparently tried to dry their poodle in a microwave, it died (of course), they sued; "the instruction didn't say you couldn't dry animals in it" - and won. Or so the story goes. So now, the instruction's got a "do not attempt to dry dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters....", does it?

And a few years back, some friends were travelling in the US in a rented car. Their son got his hand stuck in the car window, two of his fingers nearly came off (sic!). Luckily, they were right next to a private hospital, so his dad carried him there. "Look, his fingers are coming off!" to which the receptionist answered "payment?" He produced a travel insurance card - not valid, they said. But when he produced a wad of gold and platinum credit cards, they were ever so helpful. Really. And when his fingers were back on, and he was transferred to a different hospital for recovery, this first hospital called every hour. Really! They were so afraid they might otherwise be sued...

On a lighter note, Sting was once asked by an American film company if he would consider playing in their next film, it would be set in the remote English village of Newcastle, they said. "That's where I was born and bred", he answered... (And "the village" holds 276,000 people, when including surrounding area it's England's 5th most populous
conurbation.) Don't they do background research?

I've got nothing against Americans. (Although I'll make an exception for
Dubya..) But all of this is a big contrast to life here in our secluded little corner of the world. A few years back, a man sued a ladder company after an accident. The case went all the way to Supreme court, where they ruled in his disfavour - as an average person ought to understand how a ladder works (or more precisely "the producer was not to foresee that a user would put the ladder upside down")...

And should anyone now feel a need to diss Norway, feel free ;)

1 comment:

Muggle said...

During my irresponsible student days we'd have endless fun putting objects (inanimate , of course) in a microwave and seeing what happened. I always liked putting light bulbs in the microwave and seeing them light up.