The “Safe Fun” Paradox

Header image by Manuel QC via Creative Commons 

Today’s post comes from obsessive risk management enthusiast Bathtub Safety Officer Rafferty.

At ease civillians!

But as you take your ease on this Memorial Day, you MUST remember to stay alert to all safety risks that come with holiday fun.  

Personally, I’m against holidays for this very reason!  The very word “holiday” carries an expectation that the day will include some kind of unique, ecstatic experience.

This is exactly the sort of thing that can get you in trouble, safety-wise.  That’s why I’m much more comfortable with days “on”  rather than days “off”.

Boring?  Sure!  So?

The soul-killing drudgery of day-to-day work is great for depleting energy that might otherwise send you spinning off into activities that are questionable and possibly dangerous.

Firecrackers, speed boats, canoes, frisbees,  ATV’s, softballs, bats, fishing hooks, volleyball nets and water skis are just a few of the expected summer holiday accessories that I find alarming.

Beyond that, I question all the assumptions made around the holiday tradition of “grilling”.

The idea that a man who only cooks two meals a year will suddenly be able to prepare massive quantities of thoroughly cooked food over an open flame strikes me as questionable.

That he will be able to handle all that meat safely and cook it properly while drinking a succession of beers is, in a word, preposterous!

Beer and flames do not go together.  Ever!

I don’t know what Memorial Day plans you have made, but  staying on dry land, properly belted, with ample head protection, and eating in state-inspected establishments using properly maintained and not-too-sharp utensils sounds like great fun to me!

Safely & Securely,

What are YOUR holiday plans?

47 thoughts on “The “Safe Fun” Paradox”

  1. Went to a picnic yesterday, so that was my holiday weekend event. Going out for pancakes this morning. After that I’m letting the day go where it will.


      1. I ordered the your basic buttermilk, but lemon ricotta sounds like a truly inspired choice. I’ll have to put Hell’s Kitchen on my to-go-to list.


  2. My parents’ ashes are buried in a cemetery on the age of Brookings, SD. To the west the open fields gently fall to the Big Sioux River. It is a wonderful country cemetery which I hope does not get surrounded by city. Every year on the Saturday of this weekend, a group puts flags on the graves of veterans, which my father was. People start with the flowers on graves, too. Visiting a grave does not mean very much to me, but to go there this weekend is inspiring and peaceful, having not much to do with the fact my parents are there.
    If it were not raining, I would take Sandy to one of the pretty rural cemeteries near here. If you do not remember, I have written a couple blogs about our love of walking rural cemeteries.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. i remember somewhere along the line i was reminded that the greatest generation was also the generation that was the first to live through the depression. the negative outlook and careful planning because even good people get their asses kicked is the way my dad grew up. as the youngest of 5 he never har a bicycle or new clothes or enough money to buy a baseball glove. he was the catcher because they furnished the glove. it sounds like mother mccrea stuff but that is truely how he grew up. never complain never stand up like you are better than any one else but never let anyone tell you youre not as good as them. i heard this speaker say the generation that is now reffered to as the greatest generation ala tom brokaw was so beaten down by the depression and taught never to dream to big because you will be knocked down. some figured out how to thrive in the chaos of the new world but many my father included learned to lay low, dont aspire too high and dont get your teeth kicked in by putting yourself in a position where that can happen.
        my dad went into the service at age 18 and only had 1 year to go before it was over but it made a lasting mark. his brothers and friends shipped overseas he couldnt go because he failed pilots school and got shipped off to be a medic stateside for the boys coming back. i used to wonder how my dad could sit and watch the army movies nadn the cowboy movies and now i get it and love them too. as anti wat as i am i do love a good movie about good vs evil and both army movies and cowboy movies are wonderfula at that.
        over memorial day weekend i have watched a fistfl of goleden oldies a couple of contemporary classics and remembered some of the good ones i have burned permanantly in my brain like sgt york or bridge over the river kwai. saving private ryan. jimmy stweart john wayne humphry bogart and all the wonderful actors of the 40’s and 50’s when the movie industry cranked out feature films like tcv studios crank out prime time television today
        i feel something for the soldiers of today who are in such a different milatary than the one of ww2. ww2 was like fighting the town bully in germany. today is like video game warfare aainst virtual bad guys who we dont see or understand.
        different world different deal. i tend to allow others their views on that today much more than i did when the viet am war was the topic of discussion. i still remember the poster of the guyssitting on top of giant ping pong balls getting picked from the skies above. 911 is pearl harbor but there was nothing like that to shape my gut feelings about war. viet nam was a mess. i think war is outdated as a solution. today it is a reaction to terrorists who hate the big guys getting bigger and the little guys not having a chance. not exactly waving the red white and blue, i am a patriot the same way i am religious.spiritual and proud of america is different than religious and wanting to win the war in iraq.
        what a i dong this weekend. too much thinking maybe

        Liked by 1 person

    1. frank Lloyd wrights limestone marker in Wisconsin is a very cool site. hey where did the upper case letters come from? is word press editing? must be


  3. Weeding, planting (Just a few things like strawberry plants and ferns. The main garden goes in next weekend). Yesterday and Saturday we organized and culled books. Daughter was home and chose the books she wanted to keep and take with her to her new digs in Moorhead.
    She also went through everything in her room and let us toss or give away anything she didn’t want anymore. I guess this means she has, for all intents and purposes, moved out. We are taking many books to the used book store run by Friends of the Local Library, I also hope to organize and sort out papers and documents. We also played bells at a wedding on Saturday. Daughter wanted a “nice family dinner” so we obliged her on Friday with pot roast and garlic mashed potatoes. Naps were taken each day.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Spent Saturday taking out the buckthorn and Virginia creeper that have grown up over 2 years of lawn neglect, only to discover there is precious little red-twig dogwood left on the back fence.

    This is my first real weekend entirely off, and I am not really sure what to do with it or the yard/garden. Mostly prepping the household for a zippy week as track sectionals are this Thursday and Saturday and I expect the adrenaline to be running high.

    For those of you keeping track, s&h PR’d last Thursday with 4:41+ on the mile, good enough for state honor roll, so he was well-pleased with that for about 24 hours. Stats say he is not yet fast enough to qualify for the State meet, but ya gotta run the race to know for sure.

    Too muddy to do much good in the garden (and I don’t know what to do anyway), too cloudy to get enthusiastic about hanging stuff out to air and dry. Should probably crank out some work I know has to get done.


      1. I think we are enjoying it. I’m currently trying to get my tech up to speed. Perfect drizzley day activity. Can’t say it is “fun”, but I’m sure we will be happy it is done.


      1. For the record, his leg of the 4×400 is about 54 seconds and he is not the fastest guy on that relay. They would have won tbat race had they not been dq’d in a questionable post-race call.

        We do not speak of it.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. My father served in the Philippines in WW II, as some people who read my book about my parents will recall. Since it is Memorial Day, maybe I should reflect on his experience.

    My dad’s war was mercifully short. He had to rush home early because my mother worried about him so much she had something like a mental breakdown. His service can be summed up by two events.

    First, he was assigned to a new Engineer company in the Philippines, but nobody there had ever heard of it. My dad spent most of the war hiking all over looking for his unit. He found that amusing for awhile, then irritating and then incredibly insulting.

    Second, he experienced one brief but terrifying firefight. He saved his own life and those of the guys he was with by suddenly remembering a recurring nightmare from his teen years. When he recognized he was marching toward something terrible he had experienced in dreams, he screamed and dove behind a rock. The Japanese soldiers waiting for him in ambush were thwarted by his sudden recollection of the old nightmare.

    We can sum this up. War, my dad came to see, was run by military organizations that were even more incompetent than the other bureaucracies he came to hate in his life. And war, he learned, is profoundly absurd. Better to stay home with those you love.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My dad was also in the Philippines, but (mostly) safely tucked behind a typewriter for the duration of his duty. Only excitement he ever talked about was the night he mistakenly started to crawl into the wrong bunk after a late night run to the latrine…guy in the bunk thought he was a Japanese soldier and pulled a knife on him. My dad was glad then that he had already been to the latrine. 😉

      Liked by 3 people

  6. Well, I had all the weekend fun with fire on friday evening. I had a nice pile of rosebush and dead raspberry canes to burn, and I did that. It was nice to clear the space in the yard – to pile more yard waste in, no doubt.

    I was planning to do some yard work today, putting in some landscape block as edging around some garden beds, but it’s awfully muddy out there. Maybe I will leave that for another day. I’m loving all this rain, though.

    I’ll stick with an indoor project today: I’ve talked for a couple years about scanning my old slides and negatives – well, I’m starting that in earnest NOW. The desk is clear, and more importantly, after running a couple test tries last night, the software has been uninstalled and reinstalled (twice – first, it just wasn’t working, then the installation worked but the device driver software didn’t install); now that it’s functioning properly, I better dive in and get some of the scanning done, before the scanner and the software decide they don’t like me.


  7. Good for you, “loving” the rain even though it makes things muddy. While Oregonians love sunshine uncritically, I am thrilled by rain. Rain is life-sustaining. Drought is the opposite. One of the lakes in California is down 84 feet. Down 84 feet!


    1. Steve, I really don’t “get” people who think all our days should be sunshine. I garden and it’s easy for me to know when it’s too dry. But it seems you don’t have to be a gardener to be concerned about drought. This year it warmed up in March, but everything stayed brown and dormant until rain finally comes weeks later – can’t people see that it’s not right to have weeks of 60 and 70 degree weather, but nothing is green? Not to mention water level – there are a lot of lakes and rivers in this fair state, but there could be a lot less, if it stops raining and snowing. See how all the water-skiers and boaters and snowmobilers will like that.

      A lake down 84 feet? That’s mind-boggling.


  8. Today is Darling Daughter’s birthday. Sleepover last night with one friend, different friend the night before. Both mornings have been lazy (I did have to muster myself out of my bathrobe yesterday before noon as I had promised the girls breakfast at a local coffee shop…today’s incentive for dressing is, well…um…let me think…). Have been allowing myself a weekend to putter about and not feel like I need to be highly motivated to do anything – BSOR would be proud. He might question turning on the oven to make cinnamon rolls (it is a burning hazard you know), but I was willing to take that chance for Daughter on her birthday.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. son graduated from st thomas on saturday. family came in from chicago for the event. perfect weather no rain not too hot or cold. outside had my weather alert carrying inlaws looking at their site every 2 minutes Friday and saturday up until we got there then as we were sitting under a cloud covered 70 degree canopy the others file in for 1200 students to be spoken to philosophized to and inspired (c+ on all three) and then have names read. (I can never believe the number of people who leave after their persons name is read)
    head for home cook up the celebratory meal. good stuff and eat a cake to allow the son to go back and see his college buddies one last weekend before life intercedes.
    yesterday was a full day of nothing. mom and in laws came and discussed lifes observations. in laws are staying in a hotel down the road.
    in laws blew town at 1030. we are sitting in the gray enjoying the slow day. lazy lazy lazy

    Liked by 2 people

        1. only sort of

          Quote Investigator: John Lennon did compose a song containing this saying and released it in 1980. The song was called “Beautiful Boy” or “Darling Boy” and it was part of the album “Double Fantasy”. Lennon wrote the lyrics about his experiences with his son Sean whose mother is Yoko Ono. YouTube has a streamable version of the song, and the phrase can be heard at 2 minutes 16 seconds into the track which has a total length of 4 minutes 12 seconds. Lennon sings [BBJL]:

          Before you cross the street take my hand.
          Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.
          But the general expression can be traced back more than two decades before this time. The first known appearance was in an issue of Reader’s Digest magazine dated January 1957. The statement was printed together with nine other unrelated sayings in a section called “Quotable Quotes” [RDAS]:

          Allen Saunders: Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans.
          —Publishers Syndicate
          The newspaper comic strip “Steve Roper” was written by an individual named Allen Saunders and distributed by Publishers Syndicate. It is likely that the attribution above was referencing him. Saunders also worked on the strips “Mary Worth” and “Kerry Drake.” But the saying has not yet been located in any of these comics. Three important reference works list the Reader’s Digest citation to Saunders: The Dictionary of Modern Proverbs [DPAS], The Quote Verifier [QVAS], and The Yale Book of Quotations [YQAS].

          Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.

          Many of the quotations published in the widely-circulated Reader’s Digest were reprinted in other periodicals. For example, a Charleston, South Carolina paper printed the saying in January 1957 [SCRD]:

          “Life,” reads a line of an article in The Reader’s Digest, “is what happens to us while we are making other plans.” How true.
          The trouble is most of us don’t realize this except in retrospect and then life has already happened.
          In June 1957 the adage appeared in a Texas newspaper as a freestanding filler item. The attribution given was the same as that in the Reader’s Digest: “Allen Saunders, Publishers Syndicate”, but the magazine was not mentioned [DRAS].

          In September 1957 the quote was included in an advertisement for Swanson’s, a clothing retailer. The words were listed together with several other sayings and no attribution was provided [THSW]. In November 1957 the quote appeared in “The Irish Digest” as a filler item. No attribution was listed [IDAN].

          In March 1958 the popular syndicated columnist Earl Wilson published a version of the saying in a subsection titled “Earl’s Pearls”. The words were identical except for the use of the contraction “we’re”. This time a new person named Quin Ryan received acknowledgement [EWQR]:

          Some people have everything – except fun … Life, says Quin Ryan of Chicago, is what happens to us while we’re making other plans … See no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil — and half the women’s clubs would fold up in a hurry.
          In April 1958 a slightly modified version of the saying was printed in a column of the Boston Globe. The word “when” replaced the word “while”, and no credit was given [BGAN]:

          Life is what happens to us when we are making other plans.
          In September 1958 a variant of the adage was published in a Chicago Tribune column “A Line O’ Type or Two”. The statement was credited to Quin Ryan [CTQR]:

          Life is what happens to every man’s Career while he’s making other plans. Quin Ryan
          In 1961 the maxim was associated with another person in the pages of the Los Angeles Sentinel [LSWW]:

          Bon vivant, Walter Ward, from somewhere in Italy writes to say, “Life is what happens to us while we’re making other plans.”
          In 1962 the syndicated columnist Larry Wolters reported on the expression in “Radio TV Gag Bag”. This column specialized in collecting jokes and bon mots that were broadcast on radio and television stations in the United States. Wolters identified the performer who delivered the line [CTHC]:

          Henry Cooke: “A thoughtful man is one who gives his wife a birthday present without mentioning her birthday past.”
          Also: “Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans.”
          In 1963 the saying reappeared in the column of Earl Wilson, but this time the word “busy” was inserted, and the phrase was reassigned to Henry Cooke [EWHC]:

          REMEMBERED QUOTE: Life is what happens to us while we are busy making other plans. — Henry Cooke.
          In 1964 the syndicated columnist and quotation collector Bennett Cerf ascribed a version of the saying to the author Robert Balzer [BCRB]:

          Life is what happens to you while you’re making other plans. —Robert Balzer.
          In 1964 the maxim reappeared in the column of Larry Wolters now called “Gag Bag”, but this time the phrase was reassigned to Robert Balzer [LWHC]:

          Robert Balzer: “Life is what happens to you while you are making other plans.”
          In 1965 Earl Wilson decided that the expression was interesting enough to print another time. He assigned the following concise version to someone named L. S. McCandless [EWLM]:

          REMEMBERED QUOTE: “Life is what happens while you’re making other plans.” — L. S. McCandless.
          In 1967 a variant of the adage was printed in the popular “Dear Abby” column of Pauline Phillips [DAPP]:

          Confidential To Del Ray Beachcomber: Yes. See your lawyer about changing your will. Fate is what happens to you while you’re making other plans.
          In 1979 “1,001 Logical Laws” compiled by John Peers included the saying and connected it to someone named Knight [LKJP]:

          Knight’s Law: Life is what happens to you while you’re making other plans.
          In conclusion, based on currently available evidence this piece of wisdom can be credited to Allen Saunders. John Lennon also included it in the lyrics of a song many years later. The expression is quite popular and has acquired multiple attributions over the decades.

          (Many thanks to Jay whose question initiated this exploration.)

          [BBJL] YouTube video, Title: John Lennon – Beautiful Boy, Uploaded by TheInnerRevolution on Nov 22, 2009. (Accessed at on May 4, 2012) link

          [RDAS] 1957 January, Reader’s Digest, Quotable Quotes, Page 32, The Reader’s Digest Association. (Verified on paper)

          [DPAS] 2012, The Dictionary of Modern Proverbs, Compiled by Charles Clay Doyle, Wolfgang Mieder, and Fred R. Shapiro, Page 145, Yale University Press, New Haven. (Verified on paper)

          [QVAS] 2006, The Quote Verifier by Ralph Keyes, Page 123-124 and 305, St Martin’s Griffin, New York. (Verified on paper)

          [YQAS] 2006, The Yale Book of Quotations by Fred R. Shapiro, Section Allen Saunders, Page 666, Yale University Press, New Haven. (Verified on paper)

          [SCRD] 1957 January 27, News And Courier, Lowcountry Gossip: Beaufort TV Viewer Finds Quiz Programs Distasteful by Chlotilde R. Martin, Page 11-B, Column 1, Charleston, South Carolina. (Google News Archive)

          [DRAS] 1957 June 21, Denton Record-Chronicle, Round About Town by R. J. (Bob) Edwards, Page 4, Column 3, Denton, Texas. (NewspaperArchive)

          [THSW] 1957 September 24, Titusville Herald, A Little of This and That, [Quotation within an advertisement for a store named Swanson’s], Page 2, Column 2, Titusville, Pennsylvania. (NewspaperArchive)

          [IDAN] 1957 November, The Irish Digest, Volume 61, [One of two unrelated freestanding quotations at the bottom of the page], Page 52, Irish Digest, Dublin, Ireland. (Verified on microfilm)

          [EWQR] 1958 March 01, Rockford Register-Republic, Earl’s Pearls by Earl Wilson [Syndicated], Page 2-A, Column 4, Rockford, Illinois. (GenealogyBank)

          [BGAN] 1958 April 10, Boston Globe, “All Sorts: That Boston Accent…What Did He Say?” by Joe Harrington, Page 25, Boston, Massachusetts (ProQuest)

          [CTQR] 1958 September 18, Chicago Tribune, A Line O’ Type or Two, Page 16, Chicago, Illinois. (ProQuest)

          [LSWW] 1961 September 14, Los Angeles Sentinel, Theatricals: The Stem by Paul C. McGee, Page C2, Los Angeles, California. (ProQuest)

          [CTHC] 1962 August 12, Chicago Tribune, “Radio TV Gag Bag” by Larry Wolters, Page C28, Chicago, Illinois. (ProQuest)

          [EWHC] 1963 April 30, Aberdeen American News [Aberdeen Daily News], Earl Wilson’s New York, Page 4, Column 5, Aberdeen, South Dakota. (GenealogyBank)

          [BCRB] 1964 January 15, State Times Advocate, Try and Stop Me by Bennett Cerf, Page 10-C, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (GenealogyBank)

          [LWHC] 1964 May 17, Chicago Tribune, Larry Wolters’ Gag Bag, Page 115, Chicago, Illinois. (ProQuest)

          [EWLM] 1965 November 19, Dallas Morning News, It Happened Last Night by Earl Wilson, Section: A, Page 27, Dallas, Texas. (GenealogyBank)

          [DAPP] 1967 December 8, Plain Dealer, Dear Abby: Fresh News; Stale Money by Abigail Van Buren, Page 39, Column 4, Cleveland, Ohio. (GenealogyBank)

          [LKJP] 1979, 1,001 Logical Laws, Accurate Axioms, Profound Principles, Compiled by John Peers, Edited by Gordon Bennett, Page 81, Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, New York. (Verified on paper)

          This entry was posted in Allen Saunders, John Lennon, Quin Ryan and tagged Allen Saunders, Henry Cooke, John Lennon, L. S. McCandless, Quin Ryan, Robert Balzer, Walter Ward on May 6, 2012.
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          One thought on “Life is What Happens To You While You’re Busy Making Other Plans”

          May 7, 2012 at 11:15 pm
          Thank you QI! I am happy to report that I no longer use this quote as a tagline in my email signature. As we approach the one year anniversary of my husband’s brain tumor diagnosis and successful surgery, our lives are back on track…but with a philosophical difference — “living life one day at a time.” If quotes have a corollary, this would be it!

          Comments are closed.


        2. welcome dale. i sometimes wonder if you would like to throw your two cents into these wonderful topics you birth daily. good addition. good topic. thanks


  10. Greetings! One of my older sisters turned 60 on Saturday, so we drove 3 hours to be there for a party and family gathering. Nice sunny day on her patio, saw her 2 grown children who are rarely around as they both taught English in Korea for a couple years. It was a fun day, stayed overnight and drove back yesterday. Just chilling out today.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Whoa, something ate the post I thought I’d left here. Spent a good portion of Saturday removing buckthorn (you’re not alone, mig) with Linda’s Weed Wrench. Yesterday went to Malmborg’s since it was rainy, got stuff to plant today…

    After visiting my mom, we went and got water at the Miller Spring in Eden Prairie – a ritual we do every couple of months or so…

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Went to some of the annual festivities at Lakewood. Toured the incredible chapel, went on trolley tour and ate cookies. One advantage of the overcast weather was smaller crowds than usual. Then went back to a friend’s condo to catch up on Downton Abbey missed episodes while eating pizza. A good day.

    Liked by 1 person

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