I don#039;t want to be rich #045;#045; At least not this way

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 13, 2003

Earlier this week, I had what has to be my most embarrassing accident ever.

I can't believe I'm going to share this with everyone who cares to read this column, but here goes. On Monday, I was running a few errands in Ashland when I decided to hit a fast food drive-thru for a sandwich. I won't identify the restaurant, just because I'm a nice guy.

Anyway, I opened my sandwich and proceeded to take a big bite. When I did, a scalding-hot piece of meat fell from the bun and landed right on my chin. After nearly wrecking, I pulled off the

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road to examine my injuries -- and collect my thoughts.

Looking in the mirror, I noticed a nice, round red spot on the left side of my chin, just below my lip. I thought, "hey, it will go away soon," and headed back to the office. As the day grew longer, though, my wound grew larger. Eventually, it was scabbed over.

The first person to notice asked me if I cut myself shaving. Sheepishly, I explained what had happened. Her first response was "are you going to sue them?"

To be honest with you, I really didn't think of that when my accident happened. After all, I was more embarrassed than anything. And, besides, I wanted a hot sandwich. If I wanted a cold one, I would have ordered one.

From then on, everyone who asked me about my "boo-boo" and I explained how it happened, every last one of them mentioned lawsuit. Even my wife, who was a little amused by my mishap, asked if I was going to make us rich because of it.

Now that I have had a couple of days to think about it, I have realized two things. One, scalding-hot meat on the chin does not feel so good, and, two, we live in a world where people want to sue for their own stupidity.

Just look at all of the crazy fast food lawsuits that are popping up all over the place. When you think about it, it was only a matter of time before opportunistic lawyers started fishing for clients near the fast food industry.

Whatever happened to people having a sense of personal responsibility? Sadly today, some people think it is easier to blame others for their own mistakes. Even worse, some want to get rich at somebody else's expense.

In New York state court, a 56-year-old man has filed suit against four restaurant chains, blaming them and their food for his being overweight. The now-famous McDonald's coffee case has led to signs being posted to protect the restaurant chain, telling us we need to be careful when drinking our java. If we drink it too fast or spill it on ourselves while driving, we will likely get burned since it is very hot.

It is all about common sense. Would we sue our own mother or wife if their food burnt us? Probably not. When you

have a faceless entity with a lot of money, though, people tend to see a cash cow.

Sure, I want to be rich just like the next guy, but I don't want to have to tell people, "yeah, I became a millionaire because I burnt my chin on a piece of hot meat from a fast food sandwich." I guess I have a little more pride than that. Besides, my wound will heal and I don't expect to suffer from any emotional stress.

Shawn Doyle is managing editor of The Ironton Tribune. He can be reached at (740) 532-1445 ext. 19 or by e-mail at shawn.doyle@irontontribune.com