Summer is a funny time. People seem to have feelings of invulnerability. We see it all the time. Cars driving far too fast on city streets. Young men stupidly diving into lakes, rivers, and swimming pools without first checking depth. Young women vainly scalding themselves pool or beachside without the benefit of proper SPF. Skateboarders, rollerbladers, and bikers weaving in and out of city traffic without the protective gear they so desperately require. Any of these might easily qualify for the 2011 edition of the Darwin Awards but frankly two events this week seem to have the inside track.
First up has to be the poor deluded soul who died this week from a tragic motorcycle accident. The 55 year old man was participating with others in a ride protesting New York State's requirement to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle. He was, of course, helmet-less when his bike fish tailed sending him flying over the handlebars and cracking his skull on the sidewalk. Police and emergency personal say that he probably would have survived the fall had he been wearing a lid. I suppose that his personal liberty was a more important than his safety because he died for the cause. While one could probably successfully argue his libertarian point of view, I am having a difficult time of thinking of his death as anything but senseless and stupid.
Next we have to mention the annual stupidity in testosterone surge known as the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona. Earnest Hemingway romanticized this race against maiming in his 1923 novel The Sun Also Rises. Almost 90 years later, hundreds make the pilgrimage to Spain in order to test their mettle and stupidity against beasts angry enough to kill everything in their path. People are gored, trampled, brutalized, and often killed in a dumb and misguided attempt to hold onto a tradition that should have been outlawed years ago. Sorry! Anybody who chooses this idiocy as a "What I Did on My Summer Vacation" story is kind of asking for trouble and gets my vote for this year's Darwins! Please folks. Let's try to have a wonderful summer, but keep it safe.