Over the life of my career (as a lawyer, not in food service, music or equine-related ventures), I have seen accounts of many unfortunate events. This experience has left me with a kind of perverse relief that I have thus far avoided fates similar to those bringing lawsuits against my clients, or whose stories I have read in the medico-legal literature.
Among the things for which I am thankful is that I have not fallen down in front of an audience of interested bystanders at the grocery store, in the parking lot, or en route to the root canal. Okay, a long time ago, I went roller skating at an indoor rink. The management made me replace the hardware in my roller blades, so as not to scratch the highly waxed wooden floor. I didn’t do it right, and went splat in full view of a few dozen people. I hoped they were distracted by the mirror ball.
Some other things I am delighted to report have never happened to me are having a light fixture fall on my head while applying for employment, encountering a foreign body in the Caesar salad, and having urine in a paper cup hurled in my direction (this was something that happened to my client, not something alleged by a Plaintiff).
I have been the victim of an animal bite, but I walloped the offending horse in the nose, and we called it even. By the grace of Providence, I have never ridden my bicycle while intoxicated, skateboarded into the side of a truck, or attempted to enter a revolving door which was revolving to the left in a clockwise fashion at a dead run. No one has ever hurled him or herself in my direction on the dance floor, causing me to fall to the floor. All losses of consortium that I have sustained over the years have been the result of my own bad behavior. No commercial vehicles have ever run over my feet. The caterer has delivered on time, and accurately remembered the food I ordered. There was plenty of it, too.
Luckily, my yacht has not exploded in the middle of New York Harbor leaving debris and products liability defendants in its wake. There have been no foreign objects detected by radiography in my large or small intestines. I have not ever employed anyone who burned down my house while attempting to cook me breakfast. No one has ever misappropriated any body part of which I claimed to be the rightful owner.
Of the many untoward happenstances about which I have read, or actively investigated in the defense of a legal matter, I had never had cause to be so exhilarated by escaping the hand of fate as I was the other day. I was conducting some medical research. The article in question popped up, as they sometimes do, bearing no relationship to the topical queries entered on the subject line. I was scanning in a desultory manner, meanwhile eating several dozen Lindt dark chocolate peppermint truffles to improve comprehension, and hoping to glean clues from the titles of the abstracts to the content of the research itself, when I came across this arresting title: “Transorbital penetrating head injury by a toilet brush handle.” I am not making this up.
I clicked for access. The one-paragraph summary described that the patient (male) had presented at the institution’s emergency department with a “toilet brush handle in the right cerebral hemisphere.” The object did not have to be identified with sophisticated imagery; however, the authors described that the toilet brush had been removed using intraoperative computed tomography to guide the extrication process. Drily, they intimated that transorbital penetrating brain injuries should be addressed using CT technology to reduce the risk of fatal intracranial hemorrhage. This happened in Heidelberg, Germany. The next time someone compares my job favorably to a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, I will remember to be grateful. •