Editor’s note: The following press release is provided through the National Association of Slippery Surfaces, a group consisting of clear-headed professionals who hope to one day rid the world of all slipping incidents except those in which the participants actually want to slip. Any resemblance to overwrought safety releases belaboring the obvious is purely coincidental.
Every year millions of people slip unnecessarily, often with unpleasant, even dangerous results.
Research indicates that slipping is often followed by “falling,” and that falling frequently leads to “injury.”
And while a slip is not always followed by a fall, nor is a fall invariably followed by injury, these dominoes align often enough to warrant concern, alarm — even uncontrollable panic.
Sure, many among us seem to feel immune to the slip-fall-injury paradigm.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
OK, OK, you could probably find something further from the truth, but it’s still pretty far.
Anyone can slip, fall and injure him or herself (or theirselves in the case of group activity, like caroling or picketing a foreign embassy).
Acrobats, ballet dancers and tightrope walkers have all slipped and fallen at one time or another. And while these instances can make for hilarious videos, it’s time we all got serious about giving slipping the slip.
And this objective is never more important than during this season.
For while slipping is a dangerous hazard throughout the year, it’s particularly prevalent during the winter months.
That’s due to a phenomenon known as “freezing.”
Without getting too entangled in the scientific lingo, freezing occurs when the temperature dips below the freezing “point.”
We’re chiefly concerned here with water’s freezing point, though other substances have freezing points, too. For example, liquid nitrogen freezes at 346 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, which is interesting but doesn’t come up a lot in everyday life.
Water, however, abounds in our daily existences, frequently in the forms of rain, snow, and, yes — ice.
And though ice rhymes with nice, there’s nothing pleasant about it when it covers the sidewalks, streets and ornamental hedges of an unwary neighborhood.
But what, you may ask, can I do to avoid this often hidden peril? (It should be noted that ice is frequently transparent, and can thus be camouflaged from view like the wily chameleon.)
Here are four tips that could prevent your brisk walk from turning calamitous:
• Stay inside
• Walk real slowly
• Pay someone to walk places for you
• FedEx yourself
Frank Mulligan is an editor in GateHouse Media New England’s Plymouth, Mass., office, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.