Thursday, July 06, 2006

Hanging Up the Shingle

Well after some careful consideration I decided not to take the rescue course now but to wait until the end of the summer when I've logged a few more dives. My scuba instructor, Ryan Heaney on Staten Island is a very high energy, dedicated and competent instructor and he is all about proceeding at ones own pace so hopefully the last minute cancellation won't upset his apple cart too much. I realized on my last few dives in Florida that I was often one of the few divers on the boat not diving Nitrox. I think that would be a better certification to get before rescue.

Tonight is my going away party from Cullen and Dykman, the law firm in Brooklyn I have been working at for the last two years (almost). What an odd group of characters there. I wish them all well, although I never really felt that I fit in with the law firm mentality; maybe I'm too old or something but I found all the litigation posturing and firm culture to be kind of silly. If being a lawyer means behaving like a stuffed shirt buffoon then I'd rather do something else. Granted, the law is "adversarial" but that doesn't mean it has to be nasty. Unfortunately, the judges in Brooklyn and the structure of the Unified Court System in New York make it impossible for any real justice to be meted out. The system confuses process with results and that isn't fair to litigants or their clients, no matter what side you're on. I don't want to spend the rest of my working life running helter skelter from one emergency to another. If I wanted to do that I would have become a fireman.

Yesterday I registered a formal complaint to Adrian Benape, the head of the New York City Parks Department. Apparently you are not allowed to swim at City beaches with a mask, fins, or a snorkel because the lifeguards have trouble telling the difference between someone swimming face down and drowning. This rule smells to me like the result of a lawsuit filed because someone's kid drowned with a mask on. In typical New York City fashion, rather than doing an accident analysis and creating a well-reasoned way of dealing with the issue, the City issued a blanket rule which strips even more fun out of the beachgoing experience, not that the NYC beach-going experience is a real treat to begin with. I think if a lifeguard can't tell the difference between a swimmer and a drowning victim then perhaps the training cirriculum for lifeguards should be revisited. If and when I get a response from Parks, I'll post it here.

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