Captain of the Ship

” A phrase  begins life as a literary expression; it’s felicity leads to it’s lazy repetition; and repetition soon establishes it as a legal formula, indiscriminately used to express different and sometimes contradictory ideas.”

This  quote is from Justice Felix Frankfurter writing  in his decision regarding sponges left in a patient post surgery. It would seem that  the surgeon since he has left the room  is no longer party to the incident. Plaintiff had assumed a Captain of the Ship doctrine was in place. The law is still muddy on this one.

I have always employed this phrase passed from my Father who never  set foot on a boat apart from War transport.

We alter the phrase  a bit, sharpen it. You are the Captain  of your own Ship. It is a helpful mantra in life, better than  om. The captain is  totally in charge of his own vessel.

I have a little boat  and when you leave the dock  you really can be an  island despite what you might assume about islands and men. You have to be prepared for all sorts of things on a boat as you are on your own out there. Oh sure, I have a radio , cell  phone, but help is only so close, or there is none at all. There are many  other  things  you better have on a boat. I am pretty serious about  boating  and I only go  out to Portsmouth, Isles of Shoals, Great Bay. I have had many occasions  to render assistance. In most cases the  boat needing assistance could have avoided the situation with  planning.

Gavin Newsom,  Mayor  of San Francisco has some cogent advice for his citizens and the rest of us. This is from a Time magazine article.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom quickly decided that the shocking scenes of Katrina provided a teachable moment. Newsom unveiled a long-planned public-service advertising campaign last week that will amplify what may be Katrina’s most important take-home message: survivors of a major emergency will probably need to fend for themselves for the first few days after calamity strikes. The goal is to get as many San Franciscans as possible to assemble–and keep current–a basic emergency kit, including a flashlight, a transistor radio, spare batteries, canned goods and, above all, enough water to last at least three days. “If Hurricane Katrina didn’t prove it to you, I don’t know what will,” says Newsom. “When disaster strikes, we’re all going to be on our own for a minimum of 72 hours.”

“In the first hours and days after a major catastrophe, a city and its citizens can expect to cope with the horror alone”.

Days, it  is a stark truth  that you are on your own.

Take time once you are resettled to assess your  preparedness for the next  ice storm. Ice storm used here purely as a metaphor.

Let’s  get our Merry Merry on!






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