Thursday, June 23, 2016

Behind the velvet rope, please

I'm not trying to blame an entire educational movement for the foolish actions of some people, but I am puzzled by the tendency of our fellow citizens to do what they damn well please at any time in any situation.

Many teachers follow the Montessori movement, which allows children to be "at liberty to choose and act freely and act spontaneously for optimal development." Theoretically, this means you leave someone in a kitchen with a package of bacon, some green leafy vegetables, a tomato and a loaf of good bread, and if you give them enough time they will learn to make a BLT.

Or, give a person a block of wood and a whittling knife, and they will cut away everything that doesn't look like a duck.

That's the theory, but there is a problem with the "Let 'Em Figure Out How To Do It" school of leaves people feeling that they can just do as they please when they please.  This is why people - not talking about kids here - climb over bars and ford streams to get into the lion's den at the zoo, why they go for boat rides without personal flotation devices, why they play with fireworks, why they run through the streets of Pamplona being chased by bulls, why they jump out of airplanes that are still aloft.

People love to take risks, probably because at some point in their lives, they were encouraged to "think outside the box" and "push the envelope" and "go for the big picture."  

Sometimes, the rules are there to say "don't think outside this box because doing so might mean sudden death in a boiling acidic pool of water."

"No significant human remains were left" to recover after Colin Nathaniel Scott, from Portland, Oregon, decided that his visit to Yellowstone National Park would be best enhanced by going off the designated pathway near a geyser basin.  He and his sister wandered 225 yards off that boardwalk before he lost his footing on gravel and tumbled to his quick death. 

In boiling acidic water.

Of course, there are regulations and rules and signs, the same kind of sign that tells people not to try to engage in civil intercourse with bears, and look how many people break that rule. 

Last year, 4.1 million visitors went to Norris Geyser Basin, where water boils at 199° at the park's high elevation.

Lovely. Fatal.
Please avoid any area where you are likely to fall into a pond of 199° acid. Leave the lions alone, wear your life preserver, attend fireworks shows put on by trained professionals, avoid Spain when the bulls are on the run, and stay in the plane until it lands. 

It might not be as thrilling to live that way, but you'll live longer that way.

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