Okay, I’ll admit it. Wednesdays scare me a bit, not because it’s Wednesday and not because it’s “Hump Day.” I have nothing against Wednesday the day. When I was growing up in New York, on TV commercials Wednesdays were called “Prince Spaghetti Day.” Not in my house, but it was a thing, I guess.
It’s not Wednesday the day. It’s what happens on Wednesdays. The town where my office is located, Occoquan, Virginia, is a tiny riverside enclave in Northern Virginia that borders Fairfax County and Prince William County, the Occoquan River dividing the two. Wednesday is garbage pickup day in town. Occoquan is a town of three streets by four streets, all pretty small and narrow and difficult to travel in any kind of traffic.
But Wednesdays, it’s garbage day, and no offense to our hardworking trash disposal experts, but they have a schedule to keep, and they are doing their best to keep it. They can come around corners pretty quickly. They can back up unexpectedly. As we used to say in my Navy days, you have to keep your head on a swivel and be alert and be listening and be careful. When I’m out walking our office dog, Lucy, sometimes she’s wandering, so I have to pull her in close once we start hearing them. But the good news is you can generally hear the garbage truck, and you can kind of prepare yourself for it.
Unfortunately, that’s not always the case with the dangers that are out there for us. I heard a story recently about the incredible number of people who are injured or killed in selfie accidents, trying to get that great selfie picture, an extreme selfie picture, leaning out over a ledge or stepping out into traffic. Just this week there was a woman at a zoo who crossed a barrier to get a selfie with a jaguar and the jaguar didn’t take kindly to it and attacked her. It’s frightening how much that has become a thing, people being seriously injured, disabled, or even dying as a result of trying to get that selfie picture.
Don’t even get me started on hybrid cars and the silent danger they present because, while they may be very fuel-efficient and good for our environment, I’ve been nearly hit several times by hybrids because you can’t hear them, and sometimes you don’t see them until they’re actually coming out of a garage or a driveway, so that’s a whole thing in itself.
What’s my point in all this? My point is risk and probability and the unfortunate likelihood that someone is far more likely to suffer from serious injury or illness or disability than a premature death, and being prepared for that. Obviously, try to avoid it if you can, which is not always possible, but should something unfortunate (or in the case of selfie incidents—completely avoidable!) happen, have your legal and financial affairs in order so that people can help you when you need help.
That’s the essential elements of what we call a Peace of Mind Plan or legal readiness plan, and statistically, it’s something that most people don’t do, particularly young people, even young families with small children because you’re young. Nothing’s going to happen to you. But it can, and it does.
So I use my Wednesday analogy to show that unexpected things can happen or even expected things that happen can happen in unexpected ways. Think back to former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld with his now infamous remarks about “known knowns” and “known unknowns” and “unknown unknowns.” There’s a lot of those. Secretary Rumsfeld may have been subject to some humor at his expense, but there’s some truth to all those concepts.
But one of the “known knowns” is that many people simply just don’t have a plan in place at all, and that the statistical numbers for accidents, illness, and disability are significantly greater than premature death. And as I said, there are some unusual activities these days that have increased some of these risks. Centuries ago, you might have livestock injuries or machinery injuries or various illnesses that were not able to be treated correctly or with the medicine at that time, and now those things have evolved into selfie injuries and, well, diseases that still can’t be cured or hybrid vehicle injuries or just car accidents, plane crashes, things that were unfathomable centuries ago that are now all too real, too common.
So, it’s not just Wednesdays that are scary, but there’s something we can do about it. Keep your head on a swivel. Make sure you stay out of danger. Don’t take selfies near wild animals, even ones that seem friendly. Listen for those garbage trucks and those hybrid cars. Stay safe, be alert, but have a plan in case something happens. Make sure that that’s not something that your loved ones have to worry about in an already difficult time.
A good Peace of Mind Plan will take put Wednesday back into its proper place in the week and maybe it will no longer scare me—or you!