June 5, 2012
Do you follow all the news that is news, both in Gwinnett and beyond? I do, and sometimes I am astounded by the stuff that goes on out there. Homo sapiens (ironically, Latin for “wise” or “knowing” man) can pull some fascinating stunts - and then get rewarded for them. I will again assert that truth is, in fact, stranger than fiction.
For example, did you read last week about the $3 million awarded by a Gwinnett jury to the family of a man who indulged in, shall we say, a carnal marathon just before undergoing a stress test for a suspected heart problem? The doctor apparently did not warn the man not to indulge in such cardiac calisthenics before undergoing the test. I believe the original financial award was for $5 million, but since the jury felt that the man was 40 percent liable for his own choices and therefore his death, the amount was pared down to a mere $3 million.
I certainly do not mean to be disrespectful to the deceased, but really? Which 40 percent of him agreed to the threesome? And we wonder why medical costs are through the roof? Perhaps the cost of malpractice insurance has something to do with such lawsuits.
A Philadelphia woman was awarded $113,500 for slipping on a spilled drink and breaking her coccyx. Just seconds earlier, she had thrown that same drink in her boyfriend’s face.
An Austin, TX woman was awarded $780,000 after tripping over a misbehaving, out-of-control toddler and breaking her ankle in a department store – and the kid was her own son.
A Los Angeles man was awarded medical expenses and money for “pain and suffering” after his neighbor ran over his hand while he was trying to steal the hubcaps off his neighbor’s Honda Accord.
Yes, people are fascinating creatures. The papers are filled every day with accounts of outlandish exploits and ridiculous rewards for those same shenanigans. Most of the time, I find these accounts amusing but sometimes, I get a little worried that we’re losing both our sense of accountability and our common sense.
What do you think?
Carole Townsend is a Gwinnett Daily Post staff correspondent and author of the recently released book “Southern Fried White Trash.” The book takes a humorous look at families and how we behave when thrown together for weddings, funerals and holidays. She has been quoted on msnbc.com, in the LA Times, USA Today and the Christian Science Monitor, been featured on FOX 5 News and CNN, and is often a guest on television and radio shows nationwide. Her next book, “Red Lipstick and Clean Underwear,” is eagerly expected this summer.