“My New Abundance of Caution Lifestyle (Because You Can Never Be Too Careful),” by R.D. Ronstad

Jul 28th, 2021 | By | Category: Nonfiction, Prose

A phrase has been frequently popping up in the media and on signs in establishments recently that I’d never heard before: “out of an abundance of caution.” It most commonly appears, of course, in reference to mitigating the Covid-19 pandemic, though I have also seen it used in military contexts such as the holding back of 12 National Guardsmen from inauguration day duty.

I agree it’s a commonsense approach to the pandemic but it would also, it seems to me, be a commonsense approach to life. We all face a multitude of risks daily, in light of which I think it’s only prudent to adopt an “abundance of caution” lifestyle. If everyone did I’m convinced we’d have a lot more centenarians walking around than we do now.

So I’ve compiled a number of “abundance of caution” steps for me to take (see below). They do not, of course, cover all the risks I face, which are probably innumerable because even an activity seemingly risk-free is most likely not.

Take playing board games as just one example. In Monopoly you could conceivably choke to death on a battleship or top hat if you have some kind of oral fixation.[i]*. Or you could be playing Monopoly with Little Johnny and just at that moment you can’t stifle a yawn Johnny impulsively launches a six-sided die into the air (kids!) which enters your mouth and lodges in your throat and before you know it you die. Or a player could possibly become so enraged at a foreclosure that he/she violently assaults the banker, which just happens to be you.

And as I said, that’s just one example. We don’t need to dwell on the multitudinous unanticipated and unpredictable ways a person can be maimed or killed–just remember, these things do happen.

The following list, then, is by no means complete and probably never will be, though I do intend to update it from time to time. I encourage you to create your own list based on your particular life situation. Because you can never be too careful.

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Risk: Walking (tripping over your own feet or an untied shoelace or some impediment on the ground)

AOC: Develop a natural waddle

Risk: Showering (slipping/tripping/dozing off and falling; electrocution)

AOC: Strap in like a window washer; wear galoshes

Risk: Eating (choking)

AOC: Adopt a diet primarily of nonsolids (soups, oatmeal, baby food, mush(?), popsicles, gravy, etc.). When eating any solid food, cut it into pieces smaller than your esophagus opening. (Note: check medical reference; estimate) Practice Heimliching yourself.

Risk: Using cutlery (sharp knives, cleavers, etc.)

AOC: Strap cookie sheet to chest. Wear flashing rubber ring from niece’s birthday party on non-cutlery-wielding hand.

Risk: Flying

AOC: Don’t

Risk: Driving

AOC: Don’t

Risk: Using power tools

AOC: Are you crazy? Don’t

Risk: Riding bike

AOC: Forgot how. Keep it that way.

Risk: Getting haircut

AOC: Insist that barber agree to “terms of use” for your head. There are only two: 1. Must attest that he/she hasn’t drawn blood from anyone for last 10 years, at least during working hours. 2. If he/she does draw blood and you survive, he/she must fund haircuts for a year at barber of your choice.

Risk: Getting dental work

AOC: Same as for getting haircut although some allowance made for bleeding in mouth

Risk: Windblown debris, flying insects, neighborhood Ralphie Parkers

AOC: Wear beekeeper hat when going outside. (Note: retrieve beekeeper hat from attic.)

Risk: Falling objects

AOC: Wear motorcycle helmet over beekeeper hat when out of doors if possible. (Wait–no, don’t. Bad memories!) Keep eye out for falling pianos, air conditioners, bodies, etc.

Risk: 5G (conspiracy theory debunked but remember: “abundance of caution”)

AOC: Probably won’t come up; won’t be traveling much (see above). But map out all cell towers in city just in case. Stick with 4G. Keep tin foil hat on hand.

Risk: Ascending or descending stairs

AOC: Watch your step intensely.¬† Pretend you have a crush on your shoes (no double entendre intended). Always use handrails if present. If not, or if handrails appear sketchy, look for elevators. If no elevators, consider not going up or down. If going up or down absolutely necessary, consider added safety measures to watching your step like you have a crush on your shoes. (Note: maybe rethink motorcycle helmet ban…No, don’t! Really bad memories!) Rub hands on pants for two minutes before engaging handrails. (Note: Remember to order carpeting and handrails for basement stairs. Or, to save money, maybe consider fastening long rope to ceiling above stairs like that fastened to tree branch behind childhood home. Swing down. Walk up holding rope.)

Risk: Stray dogs

AOC: Always put couple of meatballs (cooked or uncooked, in baggie of course) in right hand pocket when going out. If barked or growled at (even if, or perhaps especially if, not by dog) throw meatballs and run like hell.

Risk: Broken glass on floor.

AOC: Keep your distance. Get someone else to clean it up.

Risk: Crossing intersection on foot

AOC: Cross only with walk signal even if street appears deserted (AOC not only against injury but also against getting jaywalking ticket). Wear colorful clothes (think clowns or matadors) if likely to cross one any given day. Cross briskly so as not to arouse murderous tendencies in impatient drivers turning on red light or green arrow. Remove beekeeper hat before entering street. Swivel head.

Risk: Natural disasters (hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, tsunamis, Mormons at door,[ii] etc.)

AOC: Curl up into big ball inside bigger ball (Zorb). Hope for best. (Note: Buy Zorb.)

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A modern day Davy Crockett, R.D. Ronstad “kilt him a b’ar when he was only”…two! Unfortunately¬†because of his tender age he had yet to learn the difference between a black bear and a grizzly. He spent his pre-school years in toddler juvie.

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[i] It would be interesting to look into whether there’s a correlation between smoking and board game accidents.

[ii] jk

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