I'm passing along a word of warning for today from our always-on-orange-alert friend, Bathtub Safety Officer Rafferty:
All receiving this message should be on the lookout for imminent danger related to the reckless and wanton distribution of trinkets on Mardi Gras.
It has come to my attention that the Mardi Gras pageant in New Orleans involves the random tossing of many strings of plastic beads, which are not only a choking hazard, but when underfoot may undermine personal equilibrium and could also be a very dangerous accessory when working with and near mechanical equipment.
This sort of rampant carelessness with beads is shamelessly promoted through the media and glorified as appropriate "fun" before the beginning of Lent, but please, please, don't throw strings of beads at anyone.
If you have a string of beads and would like to give it as a gift, make sure the beads are contained and, if the string is broken, the beads will not run onto the floor and create a footing hazard.
Present the beads with both hands. Make sure the recipient has full control of the beads before withdrawing.
Don't expose flesh to get beads. Exposure of any kind works against all the principles of safety. I oppose exposure whenever it happens, for whatever reason.
When receiving beads, secure them immediately. If you must put them around your neck, make sure you are at lease one mile away from any operating mechanical equipment, particularly the type that uses belts and pulleys.
The same caution applies to feather boas and also to masks, which could be ripped from your face quite suddenly by fellow revelers, and then released; causing a painful snap-back impression that may last for days.
When large numbers of people gather to express the loss of their inhibitions, safety is compromised. I recommend avoiding all areas where large numbers of people celebrate anything.
The term "safety in numbers" does not apply for Mardi Gras.
If you must observe Mardi Gras, do it in the secure envelope of your own home, alone if possible. If there must be other people, be sure they are trusted friends and family members.
And as always, keep both feet planted firmly on the floor.
Yours in Safety,
Bathtub Safety Officer Rafferty
As usual, BSO Rafferty takes things to extremes.
I'm pretty sure he's never been to Mardi Gras. How about you?
Any happy stories about trading beads, or celebrating with large groups of strangers?