Department Of Oh. My. Gaaaaawwwwwwwd.
This American Life podcast: The Retrievals. Words fail moiself but will have to do, as I’m not much of an artist and don’t know how to render a primal scream.
If you are a fan of the Serial podcasts, or just human being interested in an astounding, compelling and – warning – gruesome story. This intro, from the podcast website (my emphases):
At a Yale fertility clinic, dozens of women began their I.V.F. cycles full of expectation and hope. Then a surgical procedure caused them excruciating pain. In the hours that followed, some of the women called the clinic to report their pain — but most of the staff members who fielded the patients’ reports did not know the real reason for the pain, which was that a nurse at the clinic was stealing fentanyl and replacing it with saline. What happened at that clinic? What are the stories we tell about women’s pain and what happens when we minimize or dismiss it?
Do y’all know what the procedure for IVF “retrieval” involves? Most women and no men have *not* undergone it; for all of us who fit into that category, imagine a series of long and sharp needles inserted into your most private and sensitive body areas — like your vagina if you’re a woman, and your urethra (yep, up your penis), if you’re a man — and then through the side abdominal wall tissue and probing into another part of the body, without anesthesia.
Perhaps equal to (or arguably worse) than what happened to these women is what all woman face: of having their reality – from social and workplace and harassment, patronization and lowered expectations, to gut-wrenching, making-you-pass-out, physical pain – minimized and/or dismissed.
Acts one through three are available. Act 3 adds another fascinating layer to the drama: the forthright deliberations of the judge – who is essentially thinking aloud – at the nurse’s sentencing hearing, and what is and what isn’t considered as “relevant” to the hearing.
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Department Of Yet Another Tragedy That Didn’t Have To Happen
Excerpts from a press release from the Tillamook County Sheriff’s office (the article was also posted on Facebook in the North County News group):
“On Friday, July 7, 2023, at about 7:23 pm, Tillamook 911 dispatched….  to a reported water rescue at the mouth of Nestucca Bay and the Pacific Ocean.
A 12-foot boat had been crabbing in the area with one 40-year-old male adult, one 17-year-old male and one 15-year-old male on board. The boat capsized and all occupants were thrown into the water. The older male and 17-year-old were able to make it to shore, but the 15-year-boy disappeared in the water….
…the missing boy has not been recovered and is presumed deceased….
… The missing 15-year-old boy was not wearing a life jacket when the boat capsized, and he was thrown in the water.”
This is the not infrequent scenario, on Oregon’s coastal waters, rivers, and lakes: a boat of some kind – whether a commercial fishing boat or a pleasure craft – capsizes, and its occupants are thrown into the water and some of them drown.  And all too often – and by all too often I mean, every effin’ time it happens it’s too often – those who died were not wearing Personal Flotation Devices, aka PFDs, aka life preserver jackets. Thus the request, at the end of the Facebook post, from the deputy investigating the accident:
“…please be kind with your comments below,  this could just as easily have been people you love.”
Moiself felt no need to comment. Certainly, that 15-year-old boy’s father is beating himself up over that decision – and yes, it was a decision, whether passive or active – to not insist that all occupants of the boat wear a PFD.
MH read the article to me over breakfast; we looked at each other, our eyes wide with WTF?!?!? sorrow and disbelief. When we go kayaking, or go out on our friend’s crabbing boat, or do any other water/boating activity, we don’t even step on the dock without wearing our PFDs.
I can’t remember the exact context of this decades-old anecdote moiself is about to share, but I’ll always remember the particular conversational exchange. MH’s parents were out for a summer visit with us on the Oregon coast. Some Person® who was with us, listening to us plan a kayaking adventure, made a startling (to moiself ) admission:
“I *never* wear a life jacket when I’m in a boat.”
“Because I can swim.”
“Even when you’re unconscious?”
As the Tillamook County Deputy investigating the boy’s drowning noted, accidents happen “in the blink of an eye.” People just don’t anticipate – well, that’s the reason accidents are called accidents, right? You weren’t planning for the boat to capsize or hit a swell or a rock or whatever happened which caused you to go overboard; you don’t think about the fact that, at a certain rate of speed (a rate which is much lower than most people estimate), when you fall from a moving object and hit the water it’s like hitting concrete. Or, the boat capsizes at a much slower pace, or you leaned too far over the gunwales – whatever you did to end up in the water, and you’re conscious and an excellent swimmer and the water is calm…but the water is *cold,* much much colder than you realized, and hypothermia sets in, and all of a sudden you can’t move your limbs to even do a dog paddle to keep your head above water….
Several weeks ago moiself spoke with a family member of one of the crew members of a crab fishing boat which capsized.  She told me that even the so-called professionals, the crab and salmon fishers, generally don’t wear PFDs. We both agreed that that was insane, but, “It’s their culture,” she said. And then a big wave upends the boat and the crew scrambles to put on their survival suits….and another aspect of their culture survives: attending the funerals of drowned comrades.
And so, there will be another such story, and another, and another request for “thoughts and prayers“ and to “go easy“ on the survivors in the comments section…and another sad opportunity for a Coast Guard or sheriff’s department representative to remind people of the obvious:
“These types of incidents happen in the blink of an eye. It is important to be wearing life jackets, or have them readily available immediately,” said Deputy Greiner. “Oregon law requires children 12 and under to be wearing a properly fitted USCG approved PFD while on a boat that is underway. All non-swimmers, regardless of age, should be wearing PFD’s when on the water.
Even in the summer, our bays and rivers have dangerous currents present during tidal events and recreating on the water near the mouth of a bay or a river where it meets the ocean is particularly dangerous. When you need a life jacket, it’s often too late to put one on.
Tragedies like this are often avoidable by simply wearing a PFD. You should also avoid crabbing, fishing, paddling or swimming on an outgoing tide anywhere near the mouth of a bay or river. Your survival in a boating accident greatly increase if you are wearing a PFD, no matter what your age. No family should have to go through something like this.”
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Department Of Thought® Of The Week
Dateline: Monday, circa 11:30 am; driving to Hillsboro from the coast, listening to a No Stupid Questions podcast, What is the Worst Kind of Regret? Early on in the podcast, this question was posed, “What do you most regret: the things you’ve done, or not done?” When I first heard the question moiself thought that I couldn’t answer it, at least not right away. That question is the kind which requires some serious self-reflection. The podcast hosts approached the issue from a variety of angles and possibilities while I ruminated on the kindness aspect. Do I most regret times when I, intentionally or not, had been unkind to someone, or do I most regret not intervening when I witnessed someone being treated unkindly?
Later in the podcast one of the hosts was talking about the fear of rejection – from personal relationships to business ventures – which keeps people from saying or doing or pursuing ____ (fill in the blank with just about anything). The host quoted from Trevor Noah’s memoir, “Born a Crime” a book which moiself has read and which I highly recommend…even as I cannot recall this quote from it, which I now think is one of the more tantalizing assertions I’ve read in some time (my emphases):
“I don’t regret anything I’ve ever done in my life, any choice that I’ve made. But I’m consumed with regret for the things I didn’t do, the choices I didn’t make, the things I didn’t say. We spend so much time afraid of failure, afraid of rejection, but regret is the thing we should fear the most. Because failure is an answer; rejection is an answer. Regret is an eternal question you will never have the answer to.”
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Department Of The Philosophy You Didn’t Know (Or Care) That I Have
Someone asked me once about how I wanted “…to be remembered, as a writer.” Which felt rather odd, to moiself, seeing as how I don’t know or even care. 
It seems I have a kindred spirit in the devilishly delightful Tim Minchin, the Australian composer/singer/actor/comedian/writer. The chorus of his song Talked Too Much, Stayed Too Long I’ve adopted as my own anthem in such matters:
♫ Don’t wanna be in your club if you take me as a member
I’m not even slightly interested in whether I’m remembered
I say ashes to ashes, dust to dust
Get me a tombstone if you feel you must
Saying, “Here lies the clown who wrote some songs
He talked too much and stayed too long.” ♫
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Freethinkers’ Thought Of The Week 
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May you talk too much and stay too long;
May you pay attention to both kinds of regrets;
May you always wear a PFD whenever you’re in a boat; 
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
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 Five different rescue groups, including the Coast Guard.
 Time for another footnote? No; not yet.
 The temptation to spout “Why the hell were they not wearing life jackets ?!?!?!” is understandable, if cruel…and too late.
 A relative of hers was killed in the accident.
 …which is why I likely won’t be remembered, as I’ve done a good job of keeping out of the limelight, much to the dismay of editors who chastised me re my lack of interest in self-promotion.
 “free-think-er n. A person who forms opinions about religion on the basis of reason, independently of tradition, authority, or established belief. Freethinkers include atheists, agnostics and rationalists. No one can be a freethinker who demands conformity to a bible, creed, or messiah. To the freethinker, revelation and faith are invalid, and orthodoxy is no guarantee of truth.” Definition courtesy of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, ffrf.org
 Or safe at home, on the couch, just thinking about getting in a boat….