Thursday, September 13, 2007
Catchy Things--Part Two
The fever broke. Once I remembered about liability insurance and all the sue-crazy people in the world today, I started thinking about selling stuff on eBay instead. If I had to buy insurance for giving a couple of lessons a week, it would eat right into my profits and what would be the point?
I’m scared for all the locals around here. They have no idea about sue-crazy people. It’s still like the old days down here when people took personal responsibility for themselves and if they tripped they paid for the Band-Aid themselves or if they hit their head on an awning that fell too low because a wind kicked up, they chalked it up to accidents happen—no one meant for that awning to fall on their head.
But where I come from, people search out reasons to sue. They are just waiting for their chance. They figure it’s the only way they can get even after all the taxes and insurances they are forced to pay. People up north are scared to death of getting sued because they know what they would do if they lost their balance on a loose railing. Therefore, they go above and beyond the call of duty and refuse to let children play on dirt playgrounds or metal slides. A kid might skin his knee or burn his butt. There’s a million dollars right there. They install special footing and plastic climbing equipment that is environmentally safe, organically created, strategically placed, with ergonomic corners and encapsulated bolts. And still, they get sued.
When we had our flooring business in New Jersey, Kurt got sued four years after he installed carpet in an office building because a worker tripped on it and supposedly, the key word here being supposedly, because we know she was lying, was irreversibly disabled. She was completely shot. Kaput. Might as well have been hit by a Mack truck. Couldn’t even have sex with her husband anymore. It didn’t matter that this woman had a history of frivolous lawsuits. It didn’t matter that the photographs of the carpet showed that it was in perfect condition. We fought them for years until our insurance company finally settled with them because it was cheaper to give up. And then the insurance company dropped us. Even though we never had another claim before. The new company was a high risk company with sky-high rates we couldn’t afford. In effect, it put us out of business. Which turned out to be a lucky thing because that’s when we hightailed it out of there and moved to Oklahoma.
What’s even scarier about Virginia is I heard they can take your house if you get sued and don’t have enough insurance to cover it. I worry about the people around here because they have the same kind of thinking they’ve always had but now they are surrounded by northerners who think differently and who will sue at the drop of a hat.
When we were driving home from looking at some hay the other day, we saw someone at the light with Jersey plates. We always get excited when we see Jersey plates. It’s not all bad up there. But Kurt thought he was funny. As we passed, he yelled out the window, “Go home Yankee!”
“I can say that because I am one. Of course it’s by association and that would be your fault…”
Kurt is really from Washington State. I said, “That’s up north too.”
“But we weren’t involved in The War.”
All you have to do is say, “the war,” around here and everyone knows what you mean. The Civil War. There was no other war so important or interesting.
“Well, she’s going to think the people around here are mean if you’re yelling ‘Go home Yankee!’”
I’m always protecting them. They are innocent. They are nice. Most of them wouldn’t think of suing if an accident happened, but what if I’m giving a lesson to a Yankee and I don’t know it? Or what if it’s a local but the Yankee ways have rubbed off on him? He watches TV. He knows this may be his chance to hit it big.
I have plenty of stuff I need to get rid of anyway. There’s a nice gas fireplace in the garage with a wood mantle that has just been sitting there all summer and a set of hand-painted antique lamps. Of course I will have to buy shipping insurance. But at least I won’t lose my house.