Safety Second


Anzen Dai-ichi (安全第一) appears in big characters at train yards, manufacturing facilities, and any number of other facilities. It means ‘Safety First’ or ‘Safety is Number One’. Today, if all is going according to plans, I am riding to Nagano (長野) with the track and field coach to go skiing. Last year he had half his face shattered when a snowboarder decided that was a good place to land. He spent a bit of time in the hospital getting patched up and looked pretty normal when I met him in April.

This month he disappeared from work. Often he is out in the field or in the gym, so it took me awhile to figure out that he really was not there. Turns out, he got a lot of extra parts for his head last year and the doctors had him come in to give back all that extra metal. At our year-end party last week he was in good spirits and looked pretty good. Closer inspection revealed one cheek was bigger than the other and he made me poke it to see how hard it was. We expect almost all the swelling to be gone when we hit the slopes.

He has made it very clear to me that he loves speed. On the last day of school we resolved in a discussion that: Safety is Number Two; Enjoyment is Number One. I hope nobody at school stumbles across this and takes it too seriously or we could be out of work.

Also, the snow is sparse this year; however, the worst day skiing is better than the best day at the office.



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