When Lives Collide
Spud and Julie had just become engaged, and he needed to have a discussion with her that might bring everything to a screeching halt.
“Sweetheart,” he said, which caught her attention right away because he had never used that term of endearment nor any others.
“I want to be a cop.”
“But Spud it is so dangerous.”
“I have checked and cops like to say their job is dangerous but statistics don’t bear that out. However, instead of being a cop, we will go to PEI where my dad still owns a farm and I will be a farmer.”
“Well, I don’t know how good a farmer’s wife I will be but it is safer than being a cop.”
“Honey, being a farmer is twenty times more dangerous than being a cop. I am not making this up. I have checked carefully. Most cops retire after 20 years without ever taking their gun out of their holster. I am not thinking of being a cop in a dangerous place like Toronto. Risk is something that is poorly understood by the public and there are a lot of urban myths that are fed to the public by businesses or people who have a financial interest in you believing what they say. Let me ask you a question, Julie. What is the safest form of travel?”
“Spud, everybody knows that flying commercially is the safest form of travel.”
“Exactly my point. The airlines always tell us that the safest form of travel per passenger-mile is flying. Notice that phrase per passenger-mile. That is a qualifier phrase. But if you compare methods of travel, including the family car, based on number of trips you get a different answer. What is safest, flying nonstop to Hawaii or driving to Sudbury? It doesn’t matter which answer you pick because they are both wrong. The safest per trip travel is a bus. I have taken several statistics courses and one of my profs used to love to say There are lies, damned lies, and statistics. The airlines could find a home in that phrase.”
“Spud are you sure being a cop is safe?”
“Honey, that isn’t what I am saying. What I am saying is that it isn’t as dangerous as many other professions you might think are safe. I promise that I won’t get killed being a cop.”
“Don’t be funny, I am not happy.”
“Are you unhappy enough you want to call off the wedding?”
“Oh, Spud no. I want to make love with you and have babies and I want you to be happy with the job you have to support us. But if you get killed, I will kill you when you get home.”
They both laughed, and she put her head on his shoulder and said,
“I know there are no guarantees in life and I trust you to do your best as a fiance, husband, and father.”
“And I trust you to do your best as a fiance, wife, and mother and that you won’t ever embarrass me about sex.”
“Well, three out of four isn’t bad,” she said.
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