I nearly didn’t make 2010…
I promise you there is a marketing message behind the fact that I nearly brought about my own demise over Christmas. Some would say that’s a good thing, others might not. I’ll prove to you that minutes, even seconds, not only mean a lot but they can actually save your life.
Here’s what happened…
Picture this… I am at the “Bike Entrepreneur” in Osborne Park, with the intention of buying a push bike for a friend. You see, my idea of being healthy and getting healthy is to ride my push bike 3 to 5 times a week along the coast in front of my house, usually ending up at a coffee shop as my form of reward.
Most often, it’s 13 to 15 kms in any one direction, and if the Fremantle Doctor (a big wind) comes up I have been known to “phone a friend” who summarily deposits my now dismantled bike in the back of their car and runs me home.
It does get worse…
My daughter claims that she has ridden to Hillary’s Boat Harbour with me about 13 kms up the road and because of the now howling gale that has come up I have requested that she ride home, get her car, and drive back to Hillary’s and pick me up.
Now she is prone to exaggeration but only to the extent that I claim she volunteered.
Unfortunately I am not on solid ground for this one. My good pals, Cheryl and John Denton, have a story to tell of my “wimpiness” also. Sadly it’s true – remember I told you I am a flawed individual. Anyway… John rides from the opposite direction to me to a common destination. Most times, Cheryl meets up with us and we have breakfast together. John and I then hop on our bikes and head off in the opposite direction again heading home.
On this particular occasion, we had an extended breakfast and on completion realised that a storm had set in. Here is the best part… Cheryl offered for me to put my bike in the back of her car and take me home, dry, safe and sound. But husband John had to ride home.
John hasn’t quite got over that yet. I can still hear Cheryl’s words clearly… “Mal can’t ride home in this weather! You’ll be fine dear. Just park under a bridge!”.
John claims that he actually spent an hour parked under a bridge and he has never seen so much water in his life. I figure being wet is a small price to pay for my friendship.
Anyway, let’s get back to the point of the story. I am at the bike shop where I bought my “neat” bike a year or two earlier. Now, don’t get a picture of me in lycra – it’s not who I am anyway – but I do want a good lightweight bike with plenty of gears that makes my life easier. Obviously, I enthused my daughter and her girlfriend Anita because not long after I got my bike, they bought theirs.
So, I’m at the bike shop and the phone rings. It’s my daughter Denva and she is offering me advice. That is not unusual – she gives me plenty of that, but for a change this is free. She has a habit of taxing me for everything. She figures that’s the price I pay for the pleasure of having her as my daughter, and frankly, it’s a small price.
Anyway, here is what she says – “Dad, make sure you test drive the bike”. Not something I am prone to do because I am a “boy shopper”, in the shop, out the shop. Unlike my daughter, I actually take her advice and asked the sales guy if I could test drive the thing.
We immediately had a problem. He couldn’t allow me to ride it unless I wore a bike helmet. Now I accept that’s not a problem for most, except I have never worn a helmet in the 18 years it’s been made compulsory to do so. To say I have a problem with authority and regulation is an understatement. I figured as an adult I don’t need any regulator to force me to wear a helmet. I am old enough and ugly enough to make that decision on my own. And in this case, I have openly protested for the last 18 years by not wearing one, and get this, never been pulled over by the cops once.
By the way, I am not the only one to protest against this sort of regulation…
Here is a quote from the Cyclists Rights Action Group about the low-down on bicycle helmet laws. “Since the Mandatory Helmet Laws for Bicyclists, huge declines have occurred in the numbers of cyclists. The government has neglected to consider that many people would give up cycling rather than wear a helmet, and it is only in rare cases that these declines have been accurately recorded. In the ACT the decline was measured at 33% on weekdays and 50% on weekends. The overall decline Australia-wide is estimated at 30% to 50%. Some people just don’t want to wear a helmet.”
The amount of cyclists in Perth shows an average of 483 crossed the central Narrows Bridge survey point each day in 2005, compared to 996 cyclists in 1992.
Considering that WA has had greater than 25% population growth since 1992 that’s a pretty big reduction in riders who cycle for health benefits. You can read some more about this here: www.cycle-helmets.com/helmet_wa.html
All that said, if I wanted to test ride the bike, I had to wear a helmet. Protesting as I did, I complied. On my return, the debate continued. The sales guy, an avid rider himself, said his helmet had saved his neck a dozen times at least. So in that moment I said “Ok, give me a bloody helmet”.
Now, I owe this guy a thank you and a bottle of wine or two and frankly, that might not be enough. Why? Because 2 weeks later, although an accident not of my making, I got knocked unconscious when I crashed my bike and finished up in Emergency. You see, I was taken out by “friendly fire” when someone passed me, cut me off and took out my front wheel accidently and sent me flying. I’ve got to tell you things did go in to slow motion as I was catapulted head first into the first wooden power pole for miles.
The end result for my brave helmet was it was flattened on one side and cracked in 3 places. I didn’t however completely escape unscathed. I did knock myself out, the right side of my body was battered and bruised and had much less skin on it than when I started to ride. In Emergency I was quickly put in a neck brace – even thought I might have had a head injury. I suppose they didn’t know how thick my cranium could be.
It did appear that I had broken my wrist and maybe busted my shoulder or so. Several X-rays later, no breaks but tons of damage. I certainly don’t roll with the punches like I used to. I am still wrecked and having a deep tissue massage this afternoon to try to get full movement back.
So in a personal sense, fleeting advice given and taken can save your neck and I am absolutely convinced if I hadn’t had a helmet on, the minimum damage that I would have suffered was a cracked skull. I don’t really want to think about what else might have happened.
Guys like Donald Trump know that seconds and minutes can count in business and I will tell you a Trump story that proves my point. I am, however, unsure as to the truth of the story, but I choose to believe it, at least in part. And it goes like this…
Trump is in one of his Atlanta hotels – he is having a guided tour with the Manager and a guy with the clip-board who is taking notes. They enter the toilets or washroom if you prefer, only to find it’s a mess. Overflowing paper towels strewn over the floor and water everywhere. Trump says “fix it” to the clip-board guy. Off he goes and Trump’s inspection continues.
10 minutes later after inspecting the kitchen, he heads back to the toilet only to discover that nothing has changed. With protests from the Manager that it has “only been 10 minutes” Trump says to him “You have now got 10 minutes to fire the other guy and fix it also, or you’re fired”.
You see, Trump gets that minutes count. He knows that if a patron, or anybody else for that matter, walks in that washroom and slips over on a dirty and wet floor, you have a multi-million dollar law suit on your hands. He also gets that if a “high roller” who could lose a million dollars at his casino walks in, sees it’s a mess and decides to stay somewhere else next time, and lose his million dollars somewhere else. It costs you money.
So my friends, it is good to be with you in 2010. I nearly didn’t make it so trust me when I say literally, moments count. In my case, a fleeting request from my daughter and a moment of stubbornness on behalf of the sales guy probably saved my life as I know it today.
All the best,
Committed to Elevating the Financial Wealth and Wellbeing of Society
Through Entrepreneurial Excellence and Guilty of Conspiracy to Create Capitalism
P.S. One final comment – Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital Emergency was spectacular. It really was an Emergency Room, not a waiting room and the dozen or so staff I came in contact with were all brilliant, hard working, caring individuals who preserved their sense of humour under trying conditions.
P.P.S. If you’ve missed any of my previous Rants, I have them all available
for you to see on my website.
Simply go to www.rebelliousrant.com and enjoy!