When I was in grade seven, seven people died in Chicago from taking Tylenol that had been laced with potassium cyanide somewhere along the distribution chain. My not-well-loved social studies teacher used the incident as the starting point of a discussion about our modern reliance on pre-packaged goods or some such nonsense. The question was how we could trust the products we buy. My answer was because you can’t live in fear on the off-chance your Tylenol has been poisoned by a madman.
Believe it or not, this is a post about why I’m ok with posting my vacations on social media. Bear with me.
On the whole, us humans are terrible at evaluating risk. We tend to underestimate common risks and overestimate the very unlikely. I just wrote a post about the possibility of human annihilation from an asteroid strike: unlikely, but fun to ponder.
We’re more likely to die in a car crash than a plane crash. To be murdered by an ex-lover than a gang member. Kids are far more likely to be kidnapped by a non-custodial parent than a stranger. Our lungs are more likely to be damaged by poor indoor air quality, including second-hand smoke, than car exhaust.
I’m far more likely to be burgled by the wrong kind of person gaining entry to my building at the wrong time, maybe even a neighbour who has seen me coming and going often enough to realize I work during the day, maybe knows the car I drive so knows what its absence means.
Far less likely is the scenario that the wrong person stumbles across a tweet hinting I’m away for the weekend, who also knows where I live, assumes no one else is here when I’m gone (not a safe assumption with someone who has pets), and assumes I have something worth stealing to make it all worth the effort (I’m quite fond of my cats but they’re more of a money drain than a bonanza).
For some people, the obvious solution is not to post vacations on social media. For me, the obvious solution is to build a bunker and never leave. But then that poor indoor air quality would probably kill me.