Tuesday, February 01, 2011

The Important Things

The important things are often found among the things we take for granted.

We turn the faucet and expect clean water. We trust that the police will not pull us over unless there is cause and that the firefighters will not loot the house. We assume that our doctors have received a certain level of training and that the plumber can fix a leak.

And yet we also know that trouble can hide in those assumptions. We wave goodbye to some people and they never come back. The procedure that worked 500 times before breaks down on the 501st. The explicit instructions are ignored. The person who epitomized reliability decides to sit on a hill and embrace the moon.

Those moments remind us that few things should be taken for granted.

Check. Assess. Maintain. Review. Revive. Create.


Jeff said...

I remember going to the hospital to have a coronary artery stent put in. The nurse came to put in an IV and get some info. She reassured me that problems only occur in about 1 in 1,000 procedures.

I asked if the doc had just finished his 999th with no difficulties. A very long pause - and she reassured me things will be just fine.

Heck, if you're going to present me with statistics, you'd better be able to back it up with statistics.

I'm just sayin' ...

(PS - The procedure went fine...but I never saw that nurse again...)

- Jeff

Michael Wade said...


Great question! I love it when people start tossing statistics as if the numbers are supposed to reassure us. I immediately start calculating the other direction.

But at least you wound up in the good side of the ledger.