Just in Case

Just in Case

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Mom

Just in Case

Safety isn’t just a slogan, it’s a way of life.
~Author Unknown

If “I love you” are the three nicest words in the English language, then “just in case” must be the three most irritating. They are often followed by those other three “you never know...” implying a whole bundle of horrors if you don’t go along with the “just in case” idea.

The first “just in case” you heard was probably from your mother; do you remember “Always make sure your underwear is clean. Just in case?” You’d ask “In case of what?” and she’d say, “You never know....” If you kept asking she would finally utter the ominous words, “You could be in an accident.” She doesn’t say always make sure your underwear is clean, because that’s how it should be, she had to use the “just in case” threat.

Through most of your school years, in addition to books, pens, etc., you carried around a heavy sweater, sunscreen, and a plastic cape, just in case it got cold, or hot, or it rained. You became paranoid. Thanks to Mom, “just in case” ruled your life. You walked around ladders, not because you were superstitious, but just in case. It was the same with Halloween candy.

“Don’t eat it ’til Mom or Dad can check it out, just in case.”

“In case of what?” you’d say.

“You never know.”

“Know what?”

And then it came, the threat which ensured you would end up letting Mom and Dad eat all your candy, simply because they loved you so much and wanted to protect you from harm.

“There could be poison in it.”

The fact that I know of no proven case of poison in Halloween candy since Ichabod Crane took up horse riding doesn’t matter one bit. Nor can I find any authenticated, recorded cases of Halloween drugging or soda drink spiking, but that doesn’t change the argument. It’s solid as a rock and just as immovable.

As we get older the habit has become so ingrained we inflict it on ourselves. We leave for the airport to catch our flight half an hour before the aircraft leaves its previous location, just in case the traffic is bad. And speaking of flights, what about those hasty extra prayers uttered as insurance as flight takes off, or at unexpected turbulence... “just in case.” The phrase is so much a part of our lives that we buy enough insurance to keep those companies in the lap of luxury for all eternity. I’m not talking about the everyday car and house insurance, but the little extras the agents talk us into, like the four dollar a week extra coverage, just in case we are attacked by a swarm of killer geckos, or are hospitalized with a particularly rare form of athlete’s finger, (an affliction contracted from dirty holes in bowling balls, I believe). When the insurance agent clinches it with those immortal words “you never know,” you’re hooked and sign. Mom’s lessons die hard.

I’m going to print up this article now, but I’ll also save it onto my hard drive, and just in case my computer crashes I’ll also save it on a disc, and just in case the disc gets contaminated I’ll save it on my flash drive. Well... you never know. Thanks a lot, Mom!

~Ann O’Farrell

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