Sunday, January 15, 2012

Snowblower Operator Safety Helmet Awareness

Gretchen Prunebowel is a library worker facing unemployment thanks to the unjustified persecution by extreme right white wing fringe meanies. I talked to her at her office only the other day. She was sad. I was so sad that I wanted to raise taxes just to make her stop crying. Always active in activist causes, she is one of the prime movers for the installation of needle drop off jugs in library washrooms. As she put it not having a safe place to shoot up in a library is a leading cause of oppression. Especially when she/he/it/whatever is waiting around after a job opportunities seminar to pick her/his/its/whatever kids from the library reading program. But there is more of her good works. She is working to bring in a Toronto bylaw requiring snow blower operators to wear an approved snow blower operator safety helmet when operating a snow blower...

Gretchen sat behind her desk and looked sadly at her empty in and out trays. She may face some sort of golden parachute layoff thanks to fascism. Just like the fascists to get rid of people by laying them off, eh what? She looks sadly at her pin up boards: places she has gone, like Cuba; seminars on inter generational gender affection hatred; and raising awareness of the need for safe injection sites within two hundred meters of child care centers. She holds up some reports she has written, all well received by the same people whose reports she has received well. It is a tight circle of mutual admiration in the tax spending matriarchy. Even if she is facing early retirement with a wheelbarrow of money, she is still active for activism; which explains her latest way to make people safe and safer through regulation, snow blower operator safety helmet laws...

Gretchen gets quite animated when she talks about how important it is to wear an approved helmet when operating a snow blower. She shows me statistics about snow blower accidents. Most are hand injuries, so the statistics mention, but she cannot hear me over her hysteria. When I mention it again, she starts to cry, and shifts into her worries about being able to keep her mortgage on her cottage in Muskoka if she has to work somewhere where there is no parking subsidy. I suggest we cross off this particular fact, the hand injury emphasis. The mangled hand is of a white person on the report, so it must be biased. This calms her down, and we return to the need for an approved helmet for snow blower operators.

Studies are needed to determine the best design for a snow blower operators safety helmet. She has her own study, which she prepared in a scrap book, with pictures printed from the internet or cut out of magazines in the libraries magazine collection. The report starts with a poem she wrote, in lime green crayon, to express her emotions. I can tell the little cottage she drew with the smiley faced sun is really her cottage. I nod and listen. She likes the motorcycle helmet selection at Crappy Tire: the most expensive must be the best. A stop gap, for sure, at least until a new design can be approved by an as yet unfunded Snow Blower Safety Helmet Approval Agency; at which point all the then currently active snow blower safety helmets will no longer be approved and have to be replaced. Stickers and a registration apparatus are needed.

Gretchen thinks she should be on the Snow Blower Safety Helmet Approval Agency board. She has no qualifications, but that is precisely why she should be on it. For gender balance. To strike back at abilityism, the patriarchy, and bias against fat people. Then she talks about the danger of the 360 degree blower that snow blowers have. What if someone sets the snow exhaust to blow right back at their own face? It only takes three minutes for a face to get frost bite in the blast from a snow blower. Someone could lose an eye. That is why the temporary status snow blower safety helmet needs a face guard. Everyone in public should be wearing a hockey mouth protector anyway.

The shop steward stops by to remind Gretchen that it is nap time. She heads out the door of her office without saying much of anything. I am sure we will be hearing more from Gretchen and her activist sisters/brothers/whatever in the future agitating for more spending on stuff, regulations, oversight, and administration that we did not know we needed. You should run out and wear a helmet anyway when running a snow blower. You can get some use out of it before it becomes unacceptable and you have to get an approved one.

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