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Your Home Is Trying To Kill You

In 2008, 57,612 people were injured by their televisions.

I'm not sure exactly how, or in what manner, but according to the Statistical Abstract of the United States, nearly 58,000 people were injured enough by their televisions to require emergency medical attention.

This doesn't include the number of people who were injured, but didn't go to the ER, which means the number could be higher. Much higher.

The Statistical Abstract of the United States is a government report that looks at how the 319 million people in the United States have lived, worked, played, and injured themselves in the last several years. It includes data from the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis, and "many other Federal agencies and private organizations."

In this case, this injury data — Table 197, "Injuries Associated With Selected Consumer Products: 2008" — was compiled by the National Safety Council of Itasca, Illinois.

What's worse, according to the report, "product involvement does not necessarily mean the product caused the accident."

In other words, 58,000 people may have been injured in a TV-related accident, but not by the actual TV itself. I don't know if this includes people who suffered epileptic seizures watching My Little Pony, or had a heart attack yelling at the stupid ref who missed the stupid pass interference call during the stupid game.

In comparison, only 24,721 people were injured by computers or electronic games. But when the 2014 table comes out, I will be proud to know one of the people who was actually injured by her own computer. A couple weeks ago, my friend, Kelly, dropped her MacBook Air on her foot and may have broken it.

Her foot, not the computer.

When Kelly showed me a picture of the bruise (her foot was in one of those puffy medical boots), I said I thought the Airs just floated down like a piece of paper.

Not true. Apparently, Macbook Airs are so streamlined that they can reach terminal velocity in just 18 inches, and will race screaming to the ground, corner first, unless you try to put your foot out to break its fall. The computer was fine, it was the foot that got broken.

Irony, thou art a cruel witch.

We're also more likely to injure ourselves in our kitchens or dining rooms — there were 317,856 table-related injuries — than we are with our own construction equipment. In 2008, 91,701 people injured themselves with a saw (hand or power), but 98,456 people injured themselves with tableware and flatware.

Not knives, mind you. Tableware and flatware. Plates, saucers, spoons, and forks.

And gravy boats.

Given the weird and random nature of things that happen to people in this country, I wanted to know if someone was injured with a gravy boat, because that would be cool. After all, we all know someone who will one day put down his beer and holler "Hey y'all, watch what I can do with this gravy boat."

I checked Google to see if there were any reports of a gravy boat injury, but I had no luck. Of course, anyone actually injured this way would be too embarrassed to blog about it or mention it on Twitter.

"Holiday tip: Gravy boats suck as real boats. #IHateThanksgiving"

Of course, the risk of injuries due to flatware and tableware are all too real, especially since Table 1239 — "Adult Participation in Selected Leisure Activities by Frequency: 2009" — says that 19.5 million people entertained people in their homes at least once a month.

How many of those 19.5 million people were injured by tableware and flatware during a dinner party? How many of our country's dinner guests were rushed to the hospital because they had been stabbed with an oyster fork, or tried surfing a gravy boat down a snow-covered hill?

Surprisingly, as dangerous as knives can be (415,539 injuries), our beds are much more dangerous. In 2008, 563,922 people sought emergency medical attention because of a bed-related injury. In fact, other than stairs and steps (1,213,555) and floors (1,209,603), our beds are the third most dangerous item in our homes. I don't know how one can injure themselves with a bed — minds out of the gutter! — but it's surprising that more people have hurt themselves with a bed than with a knife.

In the end, computers are the safest things we can have in our home, which is good because I need mine to check something on WebMD.

I just hurled a gravy boat into my television and tore my rotator cuff.


The second edition of Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (affiliate link), and No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing are both available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million, or for the Kindle or Nook. My latest book, The Owned Media Doctrine is now available on Amazon.com
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