Monday, March 14, 2005

What to do in Case of Heart Attack

In an earlier entry I made reference to a 'what to do in case of heart attack when no one is looking' slideshow that my co-worker sent me. Not that anyone is asking, but I thought I should explain why it was so funny.

The simple answer is the lack of context. It was sent by a co-worker who used to be a volunteer, and it was me who initially hooked her up to the volunteer work (as is my job), so I think she appreciates that and even though I haven't gotten to know her very well, we get along well and like each other. [I have a few such relationships with co-workers and it's a strange dynamic, but not at all a bad one.]

Digression aside (and over with), she sent me this slide show presumably because she knows and trusts me and feels it is important and useful information. Indeed, I remember its advice well (in short, force yourself to cough hard repeatedly to keep your heart going until you find help) because I fear keeling over at a (still) young age, and I know I don't get enough exercise, and for all I know maybe she could tell.

The hilarity of it is that it comes without any context, a random snippet of potentially useful information digitized/pixiliated for easy consumption and memory bank storage. Like everything else. And that's about all I can handle on this potentially important subject. And that's about all it makes sense in the hurleyburleycampbellsoup world to digest on any potentially important subject, i.e. one that COULD save your life but won't likely, and has little to do with your day to day acts of LIVING your life.

If anyone is reading this, I'm sure s/he is shaking his/her head wondering when the laugh track kicks in. THAT's why it's funny! Because nobody seems to think much about how strange this is, the information pouring in from every angle with no varifiable sources (I'm assuming that the coughy technique will save me but for all I know that could have been sent by FLQ terrorist thirsty for my anglo-blood), all de-contextualized, yet all POTENTIALLY relevant, if only the right situation will come along to justify the time we invested in reading all those emails.

All this is not to say I don't appreciate my co-worker's email. I'm glad to know she thought of me, and thought enough of me as a human being to include me in the list of people to forward the potentially useful slideshow to. Just as I appreciate it when my mother sends me virus warnings, or news clippings about violence in my travel destinations. I guess it's just that, being a very contextual person, I strive for a deeper understanding of things that seems to get more difficult the easier it becomes to access information in general.

Incidentally, I just read an obit of a bigtime Canadian journalist whose wife said living with him was like being married to a google engine. But I bet he was better at giving context.

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