Why You Should Always PRepare for the Worst

In the course of a day, you might well think that you have a solid plan for what is going to happen and that those things will go relatively smoothly. This is, as I’m sure you know, not always a great assumption to make and the world can often make your day go sideways in ways that you could not have predicted.

In this piece, I want to walk you through two scenarios I have been a part of in the past week as a larger lesson to prepare for things you think might happen even if they’re extremely unlikely.

On Mud

In my life, I’ve had three major careers: construction, saxophone playing, and teaching. Care to guess which one has had me covered in mud on a work day? Believe it or not, teaching.

One of the campuses at which I work has been undergoing a fair bit of construction as of late, and it’s also been raining. That means that right by my office there is a lot of thin, slimy mud covering the sidewalks. Last Thursday, rushing to my 9:30 class, I slipped on such a sidewalk and fell. This left my pants, shirt, and bag completely covered in mud, and my right knee somewhat bruised.

I’m extremely lucky that I didn’t break anything: I dislocated my shoulder in a not dissimilar set of conditions a few years ago. I’m also happy that I was prepared and that I keep a full set of clothes in my car. One embarrassing walk through campus and a quick changing session in the front seat of my car later, and was more or less prepared to teach, if a little bit jarred by the whole experience. After that day, I added a few things to the bag I keep in my car for such occasions, including a towel to dry off and some shoes with good traction in case of mud.

On Gravity

Just yesterday, I was answering some emails on a different campus on a bench near my classrooms. Without any notice, wind, or clear cause, a branch several inches wide and about three feet across fell out of a tree and onto a busy sidewalk. By some miracle, no one was hurt. But, I could not help but think: could I have helped if someone had been injured?

I keep a fairly well-stocked first aid kit in my car, and I took a CPR course a decade ago. But neither of those would have helped me if someone had a serious head injury. Now, that first aid kit is in the bottom of my backpack, and I’m looking to sign up for some basic first aid courses that go beyond CPR.

Both of these stories go to show that something as simple as a day at school can turn embarrassing, dangerous, or even deadly. As such, it’s a good idea to get the training and gear you might need if, or rather when, things do not go according to plan.

Leave a Comment