It has long been known that people who get sick or injured on the weekends generally have a statistically worse prognosis than those who come in during a normal work day. A recent study by the Canadian Stroke Network demonstrates that this trend persists for sufferers of stroke, indicating that regardless of severity of the infarction a 7.0% chance of death raises to 8.1%, when they walk into the door on a Saturday or Sunday. I think this is clearly just a case of hospital’s bringing up the B squad on off days, but I suppose there could be a more insidious reason: one or two weekend night nurses killing thousands of patients in the lonely late night hours with their syringes full of sodium pentathol?
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Things I Learned Today.
I went snowboarding and skiing in Canada this weekend with the family, actually part of my family and part of two other families, a tradition that has more often than not been my only opportunity to get on the mountain each year. We have been going to Apex Mountain Resort for either five or six years, I can’t exactly remember, and although my mother and I had this discussion, I may have been drinking. Carlo Rossi boxed wine tastes remarkably like fizzy cranberry juice. It’s not a spectacular mountain, often short on show and a little overpriced, but it has just the right amount of blues and greens to satisfy the mothers on the trip, which, in the end, is all that really matters. I was immediately struck by how effusive the Canadian border guard seemed to be, taking himself awfully seriously for a man patrolling one of the safest border crossings in the world. He was friendly, however a bit overbearing, and his questions seemed a touch more than necessary for a simple jaunt across to see a man about some snow. He was extremely concerned that the vehicle we were driving “might have at some point been used to carry or transport firearms, pepper spray, bullets, shells, any type of weapon, or weapon related paraphernalia.” Good thing I left my atomic-powered particle cannon at home.
Generally, Canadians are kind, soft-spoken, and good-natured people, and I can’t complain about the service at the condo or on the mountain, but on the other hand, there’s something fishy about a nation full of pacifists. Just what are they hiding? This question was begged by an older gentleman with whom I rode up one of Apex’ two chair lifts, as he opened conversation with a simple question: “So, are you a Democrat?”
I delayed answering right away, wondering to what extent I felt it necessary to educate a foreigner, and in the end I chose the middle path: “No, I don’t believe in the two-party-system.” Our conversation went along predictably for a few minutes, wherein he suggested how exciting the “hope” and “change” were going to be for our economy, while I suggested the entire problem is in fact the product of irrational fiscal policy brought upon by unfounded regard to Keynesian economics that will eventually collapse the entire system. I jokingly remarked that “what we need is another war,” making reference to World War II and its effects on the Great Depression, but I’m not sure he understood me, considering his next statement was: “We Canadians don’t understand your American bloodthirstiness.” I stared at him, dumb-founded for a moment that this remark had actually come out of his mouth.
Now that I think of it, I shouldn’t have been surprised, considering he is a citizen of a nation that has had no need to defend itself for nigh on two centuries because of its big-sticked neighbor. Are we to blame for Canadians’ undue sense of entitlement? This ski-clad businessman continued to tell me about how, “although [the Canadian health care system] has its problems, it was still superior because it meant that having a heart attack didn’t mean bankruptcy, etc…,” how he “understood the importance of a free market for research and development, but the American system is way too expensive, etc…,” how “rich nations should be giving more to the needy in Africa and Asia, etc…,” and how “blah, blah, blah, socialism.”
At least for the time being, as an American I have the freedom to oppose this ideology of entitlement, the right to live and die on my own terms, not the safe, controlled terms of my democratically elected government. I am glad I’m not a Canadian, coddled in the lap of socialism from cradle to grave, never risking, never worrying, never suffering, never truly living.