Fried at “Fry’s”

Yesterday my eldest son, Levi, got electrocuted at

No, I don't want FRYs with that!

“Fry’s” Electronics. The irony of that is not wasted on me. It was truly a horrifying event. We sat down in these massage chairs and when they weren’t working, Levi went to check and see if they were plugged in. When he picked up the cord it exploded into flames, knocked him back about three feet and singed his hand badly. It was terrifying. He then became completely hysterical and I tried to comfort him while also barking out orders to nearby nitwit employees who just stood there staring at me.

He is fine, albeit a bit fearful of anything electronic. But the fact remains that this could have been a grave, irreparable tragedy. That’s the part I can’t get beyond. I’m haunted by the “what ifs.” What if the current had been stronger? What if the explosion had caught fire and spread. What if something truly terrible had happened to my son?

It’s funny. When bad things happen, I almost always realize how lucky I am. It’s that Jewish “imagine the worst” thing that guides my thoughts towards the worst possible scenario. Then I’m deeply grateful for whatever minor event has befallen me. But I can’t forget how quickly life can turn — forever. It can leave you shattered, alone, sick, lost, afraid; for no other reason than random chance, and there’s simply nothing you can do to control it.

I stood right next to my son as he innocently picked up a cord, an ordinary event that had an unexpected, extraordinary outcome. A friend of mine told me how her toddler daughter had fallen and broken her arm, twice, as she walked helplessly alongside. I remember countless times when minor accidents occurred under my watch and only through luck and good fortune amounted to only a few cuts and bruises.

It’s all very frightening. I want this realization to make me live more fully, embrace every moment, appreciate all that I have. Instead it makes me want to slip under the covers, barricade my front door, and turn out all the lights in the house like my lame neighbors on Halloween night. I want to keep my family safe, my boys alive and unscathed by life’s darts and daggers.

Today my car was broken into. The window was shattered and an expensive item was stolen. My first reaction? Relief. Thank God no one was in the car. Thank God my husband and kids were safe. Thank God no one was hurt. But maybe I’m too passive. Maybe I ought to be more proactive, see potential bad things around the corners before they appear. Maybe my “thank god it wasn’t worse” attitude is really just a manifestation of fear, helplessness and the reality of how truly ineffective I am in life.

Help, I think I’ve fallen into a philosophical minefield and I can’t get up.

Legally Inane

I don’t know about you, but if I was a passenger on US Airways flight 1549 last week that miraculously landed in the Hudson River without a single casualty, I’d be dancing a jig and celebrating every breath I inhaled for rest of my days. Not so for Joe Hart, a Charlotte based salesman, who suffered a bloody nose during the emergency water landing. He wants “to be made whole” for the incident and scoffed at the gracious $5000 check US Airways sent each and every passenger on board that plane. A little something to “help with immediate needs” after the crash, explained US Airways.

But, lo and behold, it’s not enough for Joe and a few other disgruntled passengers, all of whom have contacted lawyers and are considering legal action against the airline. Their cause is being championed by the National Air Disaster Alliance and Foundation who claims that the $5000 is merely a drop in the bucket.

Passengers argue that they lost more than $5000 worth of laptops, nursing equipment, clothing, etc… And poor Mr. Hart, he’s having a hard time flying again. He’s tense and super sensitive to turbulence. Oh, well, maybe he ought to notice THAT HE’S ALIVE!

My cynical husband said this would happen. “Just wait,” he warned on the day after the crash. “It’s just a matter of time before one of those lucky-to-be-alive passengers sues US Airways for some kind of negligence or reckless endangerment.”

“That’s utterly absurd,” I told him. “What would make you say such a horrible thing? Those people have got to be so grateful for just being alive.”

Fast forward to yesterday when the stories began to emerge about pending legal action against the airline that saved 155 lives because of the amazing forethought and technical prowess of one Captain Chesley B. Sullenberger. It’s enough to make a person sick. This may be the single most inane illustration of voracious greed I have ever witnessed. There’s no one to blame for what happened to flight 1549. The plane collided with a flock of geese, for God’s sake. It’s not like the pilot was banging the flight attendant and slammed into the side of a skyscraper.

The law firm “Kreindler & Kreindler” in NY, that represents crash survivors, confirms that they’ve been contacted by several passengers. I really can’t get my mind around this. What kind of negligence, malfeasance or mechanical misdemeanor are these ungrateful nitwits charging? Geese are kind of outside the pilot’s jurisdiction.

There is some shred of hope in all this. Amber Wells, another Charlotte passenger on board flight 1549 says that she’s so grateful to have survived and be with her 9-month-old baby, she hasn’t even thought about her belongings. “Everything that’s gone can be replaced,” said Wells, “My life cannot be replaced.”

Well, Halleluiah for one voice of reason in the midst of the cacophony of insanity and entitlement. I hope US Airways fights every single lawsuit that comes their way. They did everything right, and if they settle even one of these baseless law suits, whose sole purpose is to make some fast, easy cash, they’ll be demeaning themselves and discrediting the heroism of Captain “Sully” and his entire flight crew.