By Dr. Max Hammonds

Many years ago, a book was published “Everything I Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” It contained some of the simple rules of life that we all learned when we were very young. “Hold hands when crossing the street.” “Brush your teeth after eating,” and many others. We learned as children that someone somewhere came up with some really good ideas that keep us safe and make us healthy.

But when we become adults, we somehow forget those simple rules. We get the idea that we have become smart enough to write our own rules. We can ignore those rules that were, after all, written for kids. Because now that we are adults, we are stronger, smarter, quicker, healthier, less vulnerable than when we were kids. Now we can do what we want to do – without consequences.

Don’t believe it. If it makes you more likely to be injured, if it unnecessarily endangers you or your loved ones, if it makes you sick, don’t do it.

We think we are indestructible and can engage in dangerous activity – like riding 4-wheelers or dirt bikes in rough, challenging terrain. If we are especially skilled, we drive these vehicles even faster, insuring that the consequences of a wreck will be even greater. 

We climb ladders, clamber about on roofs, and work in trees without proper precautions. We totter along on high heels and slouch at our desks. We work with caustic aromatic substances without using gloves and without proper ventilation. 

If it makes you more likely to be injured, don’t do it.

We take chances – while driving, while hiking, while biking – on our roofs, on our ladders, in our attics – using our tools, fixing our food, playing our outdoor games – with our family, with our friends. And we frequently don’t think of the danger we are courting until it suddenly strikes our carelessness. 

If it endangers you or your loved ones, don’t do it.

We take our medications, either taking too much or too little, without regard to instructions. We self-medicate using unknown or unproven ingredients. We ignore our medical professional’s advice on weight control, dietary restrictions, proper exercise, deciding that we know best. We don’t sleep as we should, don’t eat as we should, don’t relax as we should, don’t exercise as we should. We don’t wear our masks as we should nor social distance as we should. 

If it makes you sick, don’t do it.

We eat and drink and smoke what we like when we like, go where we want with whom we want when we want. We work until we are exhausted and play until we are drop. We binge on whatever appeals to us. We ignore common sense and delight in our freedom of expression. We are invulnerable and the rules don’t apply to us. Besides, what could happen? 

These are the simple rules of living on this earth: 

  • The world is unkind to the ignorant and the rebellious. 
  • When challenged by the foolish and/or defiant lifestyle, the body always wins. 
  • All unwise choices will have consequences; we will pay the piper. 
  • Regardless of age, sex, ethnicity, socio-economic status, no one is immune to consequence. 

Look around; observe what’s happening to others. Consider what is prudent practice. Make wise choices. If it’s likely to cause injury, if it unnecessarily endangers you or others, if it makes you sick, don’t do it.

Max Hammonds, MD (retired) MPH.