Category Archives: Bathtub Safety Officer Rafferty

Lightning Strikes (Almost) Twice (As Much)!

Today’s post comes from professional alarmist Bathtub Safety Officer Rafferty.

At ease civillians!

Relax but keep an eye on the sky, because I know we have had words in the past about my nemesis, lightning.

This past week, we received some hair-raising news – climate change may well hike the frequency of lightning strikes on our planet.

I know you are thinking several things right now that might disarm my urgent message. Let’s take them in order:

  • “Lightning isn’t a big threat to me right now. Two times zero is still zero.” 

Shame on you for using math to diminish a safety problem! That’s like saying there’s little chance you’ll get Ebola if you don’t come in contact with someone who has it. That’s the kind of reasoning that suppresses fear, which is the only tool nature gives us in the never-ending battle against unlikely calamities. If I did that, I’d be out of work today. And don’t forget The Human Lightning Rod, Roy Sullivan! If we apply math to his story, the number of personal strikes goes from 7 to more than 10!

  • The research says lightning will increase 50% by the year 2100. I’ll be dead by then, so who cares? 

Your “dead by then” argument is simply wishful thinking. Scientists are constantly finding ways to extend life spans. And if you make it to the year 2100, you’ll likely be in a wheelchair, which is made out of metal – a conductor! And … if you DON’T make it to 2100, you’ll most likely be in the ground, which is where lightning hits! Frankenstein’s monster thought he was safe on a “being dead” exemption – until lightning struck!

  • Lightning is troubling, but I have more immediate concerns. 

That’s what lightning WANTS you to think.

  • Lightning has no thoughts or desires. 

That means you can’t reason or bargain with it. You find THAT comforting?

Friends, there is no doubt in my mind we will experience more lightning in our future.

My advice:

  1. Buy a sturdy pair of rubber-soled shoes.
  2. Sell your golf clubs.
  3. Keep doors and windows closed in a rainstorm.
  4. Learn to bathe away from pipes and all plumbing.
  5. Yours in Safety, B.S.O.R.

What are you doing to prepare for the future?

About these ads

Duck Opener

Today’s Post comes from Bathtub Safety Officer Rafferty.

At ease, civillians!

But at the same time stay very alert, because there are people walking around our lakes and marshes carrying guns, and they’re looking for things to shoot! The Minnesota waterfowl season opened last weekend, and ducks have been in the news ever since.

As a Bathtub Safety Officer, I’m charged with keeping people informed about the hazards associated with slippery, wet, hard surfaces in and around the bathroom, which statistics show is The Most Dangerous Room In The House. You simply can’t combine the disparate elements of water, tile, porcelain, soap, and naked, vulnerable people without taking crazy risks. And this precarious situation was made even less safe by the introduction of rubber waterfowl into the bathroom environment – a move I opposed but people ignored my warnings and now the bathtub duck population has exploded, worldwide!

Where do they come from? No one seems to know! I am deeply worried that there is some sinister force behind the relentless spread of these creatures, which have no official taxonomy but I categorize them as “Bathtub Ebola”.

Rubber bathtub ducks are eye-catching distractions whose distinctive call (“Squeak!”) can be quite alarming to an unsuspecting bather. Unfortunately, these ducks only sound off when they are squeezed or stepped on, usually by a person who has soap in his eyes and is blindly grasping around for a towel. If you are in that situation it means you have probably already lost your balance and injury is imminent!

That’s why I’m declaring a Bathtub Duck season in Minnesota, which commences immediately and ends only when I say so, which is probably going to be never.

Under the guidelines I am making up right now, you can bag as many ducks as you like as long as you remove them from the bathtub area and either pen them up in a safe, non-slippery enclosure, or extract their squeakers and deflate them so they can be of no harm to innocent bathroom users. I realize that this will offend some who think there should be as many of these yellow floaters around as possible, because they are “fun”.

I ASSURE YOU, there is nothing “fun” about these dangerous creatures. Here are two examples:

A giant bathtub duck appeared in Seoul, South Korea this week and after dominating the landscape with its imposing, Godzilla-like presence, it began deflating – much to the delight of the local populace, many of whom took pictures of the weakened rubberfowl. But it has since been pumped up again by its masters, and the people who were momentarily released from its mezmerizing spell have once again fallen silent. Where is the Minnesota duck hunting population when we so desperately need it?


And scientists got the “go-ahead” this week to land a probe on a rubber-duck-shaped object hurtling through space. Which raises the question – could comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko be the extra-terrestrial source of this Flaxen Scourge? The notion that there is a Rubber Duck Mother Ship rocketing around our galaxy is an admittedly wild idea that can only be tested by landing a probe right on its head. I am not a violent person, but I admit I’m comforted by the thought that the first thing the Philae probe will do once it makes contact is thrust a space-harpoon into the comet’s (hopefully soft) head.

Only then will we begin to understand the true dimensions of what we are really dealing with!

Stay Alert!

What was your favorite childhood toy?

Control Issues

Today’s post comes from Bathtub Safety Officer Rafferty.

At ease, Civilians!

Be at ease but be cautious whenever someone else offers to do the driving, especially when that “someone else” is a machine!

Yes, I admit I’m alarmed at the progress Google is making with its Autonomous Car Program.  Why?  It won’t be long before you will be able to buy an automobile that will drive itself to wherever you’re going – regardless of whether you intend to go there or not.

What do I worry about when I imagine our driverless car future? Everything, of course! But mostly, it’s the loss of control.

And here’s another thing that keeps me up at night – Americans who ride around in autonomous cars will eventually forget how to drive. It’s inevitable, because anything that is not practiced withers away. Think of it – when the autopilot switches off, we will suddenly discover that we have lost the talent and the ability to safely operate automobiles.

In other words, it’ll be just like today, only more so!

The downsides here are so many and so negative, I hardly know where to begin!

The upside? Suspense novelists will have a new way to commit murder – cruel geniuses will be able to hack the on board computer of dispensable characters and drive the poor unfortunates off a cliff from poolside using an iPad.

Cue the evil laugh!

And once this starts happening in books, it’s only a matter of time before it’s in your neighborhood, and then in your driveway. Good God, get out! That menacing phone call is coming from inside your own garage!

Stay worried,

The autonomous car is coming. Will you be strong enough to resist?

Fear & Worry to Align in Morning Sky

Today’s post comes from Bathtub Safety Officer Rafferty.

At ease, civillians! But stay vigilant when it comes to bright spots in the sky!

We’ve already discussed the terrible risk posed by Asteroids and Lightning – two glowing airborne things that typically do not have your best interests at heart.

A good rule of thumb for the safety-obsessed (like me!) – intensely bright things overhead are usually a cause for concern.

Any full moon is a great reason to be on guard against strange behavior of every possible type.

The sun is another one that I simply don’t trust. I realize that this glowing orb is responsible for many good things, like warmth and everything we eat, but that doesn’t mean there’s no downside. The sun, to me, is like that generous uncle who is also a bit creepy – always hanging around and often just over your shoulder where you can’t see him, but can sense his presence.

I know I’m not the only one who is worried. Some of the people who write for this blog get what I’m talking about.

And now comes word that we are supposed to look at the northeastern sky just before sunrise this week to witness a conjunction of the planets Venus and Jupiter! It’s wise to question all these things that others simply accept based on propaganda like the following video.

As your local Worst-Case-Scenarist, I would caution against doing everything described in this unless you’re stationary, seated, and completely locked-down. Why?

Looking up in the sky means you’re not looking at the ground, where so many hazards wait to trip you or run into you head-on. The video shows a woman gazing out her window in the early morning light while holding a steaming hot cup of coffee in her bare hands. I don’t have to tell you, I’m sure, about the dangers inherent in this kind of reckless behavior. Gaping in wonder at the sky could cause a person to miss her own mouth while drinking, and she might pour that scalding beverage on her tender skin.

Plus, standing by a window when it’s semi-dark outside makes you a sitting duck for peeping toms and snipers, not to mention real ducks, migrating waterfowl and other natural creatures like bears who love to eat human food and may have already developed a taste for coffee. No one knows for sure what they’re thinking!

One account attempting to promote this remarkable convergence says some people may mistake it “for a UFO.” Not only is it troubling to think that people in the tender early morning hours will look at the sky and be thrown into a state of panic (especially while driving), but Science Fiction fans know that any naturally-occurring astronomical event that “looks like a UFO” can be used by actual space aliens to mask a real invasion!

Yes, “they” know our calls to 911 will be discounted, which gives their landing forces extra time to gain a foothold (if they even have feet – we don’t know!). And if you think the chances of any of this actually happening are beyond remote and bordering infinitesimal, congratulations! That’s exactly what they want you to think!

My advice on this is the same as I offer for most worrisome things – note the hours when this effect will be a fascination for most people, and stay in bed with the covers drawn until it is over!

You will probably be able to leave the safety of your protective cocoon shortly after sunrise, which is not a great sacrifice for most people. Please, sleep late all week in spite of attempts in various media to convince you to put yourself at risk.

Stay vigilant, but with your eyes closed!

Your safety-obsessed friend,

What constitutes “sleeping late” for you?

A Bolt From the Sky

Today’s post comes from Bathtub Safety Officer Rafferty.

At ease, Civillians!

After all, it’s summertime – the season when lots of people dream of taking an afternoon nap in the soft grass beneath a shady tree. But before you relax remember this – the outdoor environment is dangerous and unpredictable, and there’s a good chance that just as you begin to drift off to sleep some backwoods cowboy will come riding through your peaceful glade on his ATV (All Terrain Vehicle).

And if you think that’s disturbing, just wait. Because I’m about to ride through your picnic on my ATW (Assume the Worst)-mobile!

Outside is NOT the place to be this summer. Sorry, but in case you missed it, my arch-enemy lightning has recently gone on a spree and is striking people at will.

Lighting is the safety maven’s nightmare – the Ace of Spades – a dealer of almost certain death striking randomly from the sky! This is the reason I became obsessed with security years go, and when it comes to lightning, no one A’sTW more vigorously than I.

People ask how they can be safe outside in a storm and I say don’t go outside! Stay inside! And while you are inside, keep far away from all windows, phones, television sets, reinforced concrete (including floors), electrical things, and plumbing.

Basiclly, if you can suspend yourself in mid-air without any physical support connecting you to the walls or ceiling inside a first floor room that is designed to be a place where you do Absolutely Nothing, then you might be safe from lightning!

Otherwise, you’re exposed.

Even people taking a bath or a shower can be shocked by lightning during a thunderstorm because current can be carried along by pipes and fixtures. Don’t believe me? Here’s a quote from the New York Times about being zapped in the shower:

Ron Holle, a former meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who tracks lightning injuries, estimates that 10 to 20 people in the United States are shocked annually while bathing, using faucets or handling appliances during storms. “There are a ton of myths about lightning,” he said, “but this is not one of them.”

Just thinking about that gives me the willies. Now I know the true meaning of “Naked and Afraid.

So my advice is to stay indoors this summer. Or if you go out, wear a fully insulated non-electricity conducting head-to-toe body suit.

And before you take a shower in the morning, check the weather radar! Sometimes there are good reasons to go to work smelling like you are a bit past your expiration date.

Yours in safety,

I’m wondering if Bathtub Safety Officer Rafferty begins each day mapping his paranoia on a worry chart – will it be asteroids or lightning today? After all, either one could strike suddenly and without warning.

Have you had a close encounter with lightning?

Ocean Mishap Stokes Aquaphobia

Today’s post comes from Trail Baboon’s resident risk-minimizing maven Bathtub Safety Officer Rafferty.

At ease civilians!

But never feel SO at ease that you topple off your speeding boat and are left stranded in the ocean overnight, forced to tread water for 14 hours while praying that someone will find you even though you are miles from shore without a life jacket and have no means to call for help.


Yes, it’s true I have been accused of less-than-positive thinking in a worst-case-scenario- worshipping kind of way. But before you call me a fantastical alarmist, know that this happened to some people over the weekend, and miraculously they lived to tell the tale, otherwise we might never know that any of this occurred.

And the tale is not finished. Yet to come – details on what they were doing when they fell overboard, and why they were not wearing flotation devices. One can only guess at the possibilities, and while all of the options I’ve imagined are foolhardy and some are downright embarrassing, none of them are worse than perishing in the sea at night.

See? That’s somewhat positive, thinking-wise!

And I hope this will be a powerful safety lesson to everyone – don’t ever go anywhere on the ocean. I know some people like to go there for fish and others for flotsam, but let’s face it – the ocean is too big and powerful and you can easily get lost out there. There is a reason humans don’t have fins, flippers or gills. Every time I notice these things about myself, I’m glad I didn’t join the merchant marine.

Plus, the ocean is packed full of scary creatures like stinging jellyfish and great white sharks. I happen to know from a careful examination of movies and TV shows that sharks are pretty much everywhere. You can’t go swimming in any kind of a movie without running into one, and they are especially fond of terrorizing us. Throughout my personal movie-viewing history, sharks have been the leading ominous music-triggering creatures, even more so than bears or Bigfoot.

Again, strictly from a safety-oriented viewpoint, it is crystal clear that we have no business on or near the ocean!

You may argue that a journey aboard a cruise ship is a fairly safe way to experience the sea but I would advise against it. A quick check online revealed that getting thrown off the back of a cruise ship by a nefarious stranger, while it is something that never ever actually happens, is still a vivid fear that requires, among other things, at least one what-to-do-if explainer from Wikihow.

If I were going on a cruise (which I would never do), I’d memorize this protocol because being heaved off the aft deck by a psychopath is almost certainly a death sentence. That said, making every move on the checklist is important and you should do it.

But note that by the time we get to step #10, you are being advised to “… console yourself with memories of good times.” There is very little hope left at this point, though the Wikihow authors are quite optimistic that in your final moments you’ll somehow be able to remember what they said about the proper frame of mind.

That’s positive thinking!

Yours in low-risk travel,
Bathtub Safety Officer Rafferty

How long can you tread water?

Fire or Ice?

Today’s post comes from Bathtub Safety Officer Rafferty.

At ease, civilians!

But when I say ‘at ease’ of course I mean you should remain extremely watchful. A healthy amount of trepidation is better for you than multivitamins, as we just discovered, though that’s mostly because everything is better for you than multivitamins.

And do not worry that you will ever run out of things to fear because there is always another catastrophe looming on the horizon.

Case in point: I have spent many hours worrying that a major asteroid will crash into our planet, causing an enormous explosion that will eject massive amounts of dirt and gas into the atmosphere, obliterating the sun and making life as we know it unsustainable.

But last week I discovered that maybe I should be looking down instead.


New research suggests the supervolcano under Yellowstone National Park is much bigger than previously thought.. Now they’re saying it could be 55 miles across, which makes it big enough to cause an enormous explosion that will eject massive amounts of dirt and gas into the atmosphere, obliterating the sun and making life as we know it unsustainable.

Of course scientists say they are monitoring Yellowstone closely and there is no indication that it is in any way about to blow. Should changes occur that suggest an eruption is at hand, we would have time to prepare.

Somehow I’m not comforted.

And what if an asteroid crashed into the Yellowstone caldera? Wouldn’t that set it off immediately? This is the sort of thing that keeps me awake on long winter nights, which is, by the way, the season we’re in. It is a time of despair, which suits me just fine. I may be the only person who has seasonal affective disorder all year round. Stepping outside, I pause to wonder if the prevailing northwest wind will freeze us in our tracks before we can be incinerated by speeding rocks from above or molten rock from below.

It reminds me of my favorite poem about armaggeddon, Fire and Ice by Robert Frost.

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Yours in Safety, B.S.O.R.

Bathtub Safety Officer Rafferty is at his usual life-of-the-party best here. He suggested this post should run on Christmas Day because it might give families a chance to talk about their Volcano Evasion Plan over dinner, but I hinted to him it was a bit of a downer and we might go with it a day or so early. He said the prospect of things happening before he expects them to is another scenario that keeps him up at night.

Fire or Ice – what’s your preference?