Saturday, September 29, 2012
There But For the Grace of God ...
I had jury duty most of this week, a civil trial regarding a minor vehicular accident. When the case went to the jury on Thursday, things didn't go well for the plaintiff: We awarded most of various contested medical bills, and $3000 for non-economic damages, which effectively is nothing at all.
The problem was that the plaintiff was obese with a sedentary lifestyle, diabetes, high blood pressure, and on disability from an old foot injury. To us, the "Preponderance Of Evidence" standard was not met that his lingering pain was from the accident. Quite frankly, with one party clearly at fault for the actual accident, the aftermath was amazingly murky.
Friday I was back at work at Google, where I had lunch guests of a high school classmate, her high school-aged twin sons, and a friend of the sons. I wowed them all with our free food, climbing wall, foosball tables and other amenities. When the boys all announced they wanted to work for Google, I gave them the lecture: First, most of the employees we saw were not using the amenities, but rather sitting at their desks quietly working, and second, to be good enough to work where you want, one has to both embrace and command your field. I also pointed out the physical plant was effectively a big parlor trick: The real Google shows in how the company treats us, which is in fact pretty good.
I skipped the part about pure luck being involved, I didn't need to depress them. But I did think about my own luck, especially with the contrast of Thursday. I am (still) obese and have various aches, but I have an interesting and well paying job, and I've avoided the abyss of declining health.
I've glimpsed the ghost of lifestyle future, and I dearly reminded why my self-improvement efforts this year are important.