I’ve seen the dumbest thing on the Internet this week. According to the UK’s ITN (via Yahoo!), two groups are adding padding to light poles to see if they will reduce injuries.
Injuries from what, you may ask. From inattentive people too focused on sending text messages from their cell phones to bother looking up. One of the groups, directory-assistance provider 118 118, claims a survey showed 1 in 10 people have hurt themselves whilst gazing into their cell phones.
That’s not the dumbest thing. To me, the dumbest thing is the photo that accompanied the story. The photo appears to be posed as the camera just happens to snap the gentleman walking kerplunk into the padded lamp post. However, I might be willing to give the benefit of the doubt — if the man was unaware that a photographer was snapping pictures, he may have not noticed the post.
This whole thing has to be an elaborate hoax, an early April’s Fools Day prank or perhaps an article from The Onion‘s UK bureau. The two groups mentioned in the article seem legitimate (although there’s no mention of this initiative on their respective homepages).
Their cause seems obscure. Because, really? Ten percent of people have injured themselves while texting? Really?
Not only that, but their solution seems like total overkill. Let’s take all these lamp posts and wrap completely ludicrous and gaudy amounts of padding on them. However, let’s only put the padding on one side of the post. I guess the people on the other side of the lamp post will have to fare for themselves.
Speaking of how the padding would supposedly be deployed, take a closer look at the photo. I counted several potentially lethal objects:
- Exposed lamp post – As previously mentioned, it’s a visible menace.
- The rubbish bin – The rubbish bin (English for “trash can”) is just hanging out there at waist level, waiting to prey on some hapless traveler.
- Vehicles – There’s an entire street running alongside this sidewalk. Won’t someone think of the cars? Unless the cars come padded on the outside, I don’t know if people should walk the street.
- The sidewalk – Sure, it’s a stretch. Since we’re padding everything else, why take chances?
- The pedestrian – Unless this man is wrapped in comparable padding, he may be a risk to himself and others.
I thought of a way of implicating the cell phone in this sordid affair, but I really couldn’t. After all, it’s just a piece of technology not capable of making decisions. After seeing this story, I may start to doubt the ability of humans to make decisions at all, much less wise ones.