May 18, 2007

The fear of walking on sidewalk grates.

Not entirely unrealistic.


Bissage said...

That article evidences quite the writing style. This must have gotten edited out: "If she had plunged differently, Jessica Hinksmon, 26, could have been internally decapitated."

I shouldn’t make light of what was surely a horrible incident. But, holy cow!!! Do they really teach that kind of writing in school these days or does the Daily News have some kind of in-house training program?

In other news:

Sound of an explosion out of vision. Cut to reveal Mrs. Nigger-Baiter's chair charred and smoking. Mrs. Nigger-Baiter is no longer there. The upholstery is smoldering gently.

Mrs. S: "Oh, Mrs. Nigger-Baiter's exploded."
Son: "Good thing, too."
Mrs. S: "She was my best friend."
Son: "Oh, mother, don't be so sentimental. Things explode every day."
Mrs. S: "Yes, I suppose so. Anyway, I didn't really like her that much."

KCFleming said...

Poor thing. But damn, those grates are huge. More, someone had stepped on it just seconds before, so that very next step was the tipping point transforming a seemingly stable part of the sidewalk into an open hole. Criminey.

There's something almost biblical about the earth "opening up to swallow you whole". Enough to make an atheist a believer, and a believer into an atheist. For an investment banker like her, what will it do to her view of risk-taking, I wonder? Embrace it? Reject it? Condolences and a swift recovery.

I am reminded of Nassim Taleb's new book The Black Swan, about the unknowable unpredictability of the world. Quite apropos.

Telecomedian said...

Weirdest thing - my mom and I were walking her dog Bubby through the old historic part of downtown Frederick, Maryland, on Mother's Day, and Bubby absolutely refused to walk on any of those metal grates. She'd go around them each and every time.

Maybe Bubby knew.

vet66 said...

That is why cattle guards are so effective. We could learn from our animal friends.

Also, don't walk under ladders.

jimbino said...

Why don't we have a federal program to protect us from loose grates?

Anonymous said...

I won't step on those things, if I can avoid it, for exactly this reason.

Drew W said...

After I read this story this morning, I wondered if it was going to make me more cautious when I walked on sidewalk grates in New York. Then I thought, naaah.

But since Prof. Althouse linked to a story in today's NY Daily News, I can't pass up a chance to praise the News headline writer who came up with this one in the same issue, about accused rapist Peter Braunstein (ever referred to as a "fiend" by the paper). A psychologist at the trial said that Braunstein's suicide attempts were the result of anxiety about imprisonment, not schizophrenia:

Fiend’s a ditz, not a schiz, shrink says.

Eat your heart out, NY Times. (Sadly, on the Daily News website, the headline is considerably less sonorous than it was in print.)

Jennifer said...

"She's very lucky."

That comment in the midst of a big accident always cracks me up. She managed to step at the exact right moment on the exact right spot to send her plunging through the sidewalk into a 12 foot fall. Sure, she managed to not get electrocuted on the way down, but I kind of doubt she's feeling "very lucky" about the whole thing.

KCFleming said...

Re: "I kind of doubt she's feeling "very lucky" about the whole thing."

Go ask Alice.
I think she'll know.

Anonymous said...

Con Ed response:
"It was an accident, we apologize to [the victim], but why it happened we don't know," said Con Ed spokesman Chris Olert.
"You would have to hit a certain spot on [the transformer] to be shocked or burnt," he noted. "It's not as if the whole thing is dangerous."

Glad they aren't my electricity provider...

Galvanized said...

See, I'm somewhat obsessive-compulsive, so this really just confirms everything. Oh, maaaaan, and I was just getting over this one...not even kidding.

Anonymous said...

Galvanized: This is something you don't want to "get over". Step on those things and your trusting that it's latched properly, the hinges are sound, etc, etc. Why would you do that?

Reading this blog may have saved your life!

Bissage said...

Wow. Did anyone read the follow-up story? It turns out Ms Hinksmon is a recent emigree from Burma and she was wearing wearing one of these when the apparently sound grate gave way.

That's irony you can't beat with a stick.

rhhardin said...

Breaking your mother's back is the usual hazard on sidewalks, if you step on a crack. After a while it's too much trouble to avoid them.