Hello again from the last frontier!
Too much in my brain this week…hard to decide on topic…must have some chocolate…
Aaaaahhhh, much better. Now I can think. Yes, there are a multitude of thoughts swirling around in the grey matter this week but foremost in my mind is the upcoming visit of Miz Liz – owner of our little grass shack and our dear friend. I’m counting the days until her arrival even though it means we will have to cancel the Friday night raves and Saturday night naked Jell-O wrestling; oh the sacrifices we make for friends! Liz’s email announcing her intention to come down was unexpected (though very welcome) and has quite a bit to do with a topic that’s been nagging at me for quite some time.
I’m thinking of writing a letter to someone in the U.S. government suggesting that the name of the country be changed from the United States of America to the United Sue-ers of America. That way they won’t have to change the acronym but the name will more accurately reflect the nature of the country. Well, at least the nature of the state of California. Honestly, there oughta be a law against some of these lawsuits!
Case in point: Miz Liz v The Stupids.
Ten years ago Big Wave Dave found himself being sued by a couple he had never met over an incident that was silly and frivolous to say the least. Big Wave and his wife, Miz Liz, had to essentially put their lives on hold for nine years because of this lawsuit. And for the last year Liz has had to cope with the loss of her husband with the black cloud of this legal matter hanging over her head, threatening to take away everything she and Dave worked their lives for. I won’t bore you with the details of the case but anyone who’s had the good fortune of meeting Dave or Liz would eagerly agree, I am positive, that they were two of the most ethical and socially conscious people on the planet. That this could happen to them, that the legal system could so utterly let down two model citizens, is a travesty…is a crime.
The good news is, the matter has finally been settled and Liz will be coming down to Posada very shortly to celebrate the end of this ordeal. But I’m still angry. Folks you know I don’t advocate violence but I sincerely want to find these people and their lawyers and anyone who’s played any part in bringing this upon my good friend and beat them within an inch of their lives.
What has happened? How has a legal system designed to look out for the little guy turned into a litigious monster hell bent on squeezing every last nickel out of any Joe with a dollar to their name? Truly, Dave’s only crime was working hard and having some money. And if Liz and Dave’s story was an isolated case, a fluke, then I’d chalk it up to bad luck but it’s not, frivolous lawsuits are rampant. That coffee was too hot and it burned me…I’m suing!!! Hello? What about testing the coffee first, maybe blowing on it a little until it cools down? What ever happened to personal responsibility?!!!
At a recent dinner party down here, Diane, a former bar owner, told me that she has been sued four times. Four! She gave me the details of each case and each was a blatant example of some stupid human doing something stupid and looking for a scapegoat to pin the blame for their stupidity on. The sad part was that, at the urging of her insurance company, she actually had to pay a couple of these morons off because if the matter actually made it to court the moron might find way too much sympathy from the jury.
Here’s another good one: another friend of ours here is a nurse and while driving home one day she witnessed an accident. It seems that yet another one of the intellectually challenged out there decided that the “bike” lane should also be for motorcycles – hey, we call them “bikes”, right? Mr.Smarty Pants is revving up at the stop light and when it turns green he guns it; problem is the car on his left turned right at exactly the same time. Had Mr. Smarty Pants been in the correct lane, he would have seen the turn signal, as it was the last thing he saw was the car’s passenger side door shortly before he rammed into it. Ouch. Our friend the nurse, being the good Samaritan that she is, rushed to help the injured gentleman who looked up, bloodied and battered and said these immortal words of gratitude…”I’m gonna be rich!”. At this point the helpful nurse exited the scene hoping, no doubt, that the ambulance would be slow to arrive and this piece of scum would be filtered from our gene pool.
Many of my American friends are surprised to learn that we do not have this problem (yet) in Canada. Instead of suing, the injured party agrees to a 200km dogsled race through the arctic tundra to decide the winner of the case. It’s less expensive this way and dog sledding is an excellent cardio workout! OK, seriously, if you want to sue then there is a legal body that actually decides whether or no you can first. Call us communists but, comrade, I like the fact that my neighbour can’t sue me for “pain and suffering” caused by my cat hacking a hairball on his Lexus or some other nonsense.
To us Canucks, the sue-frenzy to the south of us is baffling, not to mention scary. While in Key Largo, Florida, I went to a McMedical clinic to take care of a flu that would not die. I was greeted by a warm and welcoming, locked, frosted glass window with a notice to take the clipboard, fill out the information, sit down, and shut up. On page five of the required paperwork, in bold 36 point font was the declaration, “BY SIGNING THIS FORM I ACKNOWLEDGE THAT I KNOW THIS CLINIC CARRIES NO MALPRACTICE INSURANCE” with a line below for me to sign my name. Suddenly my flu didn’t seem too bad! Oh I can’t complain, the treatment I received, after a mere three hour wait, was top notch, and I barely miss the right arm I gave as payment.
I have said before that I believe that everyone should come to Baja (remember, not all at once, not enough room) and that goes doubly for these people who choose to solve life’s challenges by abusing the law.
In places like Mulege, and many, many other parts of the world, if you don’t look out for yourself, if you don’t exercise common sense and personal responsibility, then tough-titty kitty cause there ain’t no herd of lawyers with 1-800 numbers standing by to protect your legal rights. You are on your own amigo. Two days ago there was a big fire in town. Five very nice gringo homes were lost, burned to cinders, and one Mexican home. The cause was, most likely, someone burning trash and not ensuring that the fire was completely extinguished before leaving the scene. There will be no CSI team in to hunt down the culprit through state of the art DNA testing. Those who lost their homes, if they do not have proper insurance, will get no compensation. Is this fair? Perhaps not, but if you don’t protect yourself then that’s what you get, suck it up and move on. Do I sound harsh? Well, considering that the Prez’s first Baja home was uninsured and burned to the ground (along with his boat, all his fishing gear, and all his diving gear), and he sucked it up, learned his lesson and moved on with me by his side, I feel qualified to speak on the issue.
What it comes down to is responsibility. We are becoming a finger-pointing society, and I say “we” because Canada seems to be two or three steps behind our southerly neighbours in most respects. It could be just a matter of time before you read that Tim Horton’s is being sued because someone broke a fingernail while r-r-r-olling up the r-r-r-rim to win (Not sure who Tim Horton is? Spend five minutes in Ontario, you’ll figure it out). Stop blaming everyone else, just stop it! Take control!!
And I’m spent.
In closing, I’d like to say that Prez and I are definitely not ready for a dog. It was a joy babysitting Max the black lab for two weeks but it is hard to snuggle and be romantic in the morning when the canine is staring at you non-stop in anticipation of his morning walk and crossing all four of his legs. Yes, I know this has nothing to do with the topic but it had to be said.
Miz Liz, we cannot wait to have you back in the 30th Palm – Prez is cleaning the Jell-O from the floor as I write this. You need not bring anything but yourself.
But if a bar of 70% cocoa, Swiss, dark chocolate should happen to fall into your bag, well; I’d help you eat it! That’s just the kind of friend I am!
Until next week, I hope this finds you healthy, happy and lovin’ life!