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Cam Marston on An Abundance of Caution

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A woman stopped me at church Sunday. Said, “I can’t wait to hear how it turns out.” She was referring to last week’s commentary and the impending confrontation that was certain to happen between my landlord and me about my office roof that has leaked for a year.

Well, here’s the update. The inevitable confrontation never happened. I was prepared. Had my ducks in a row. Had the office lease printed and I had highlighted the places where my landlord’s commitments weren’t being met. I had spoken to my attorney - who my landlord refers to as the Prince of Darkness – and he gave me language to use to articulate my case. But all throughout the week my landlord was never in his office, and I never had a chance to step in and have our talk. I was ready. I really was. I was proud of how ready I was.

Then, just now, as I sat down to write this week’s commentary, he emailed saying the contract for the new roof has been signed and work should begin in two weeks. My pending and inevitable confrontation has vanished.

Why is it that so many times the things we forecast as inevitable never happen? That we think are absolutely certain never come to pass. As last week’s commentary was airing, my kids weren’t in school due to the certainty of the ice, sleet, and freezing rain that would cover the roads and creating driving conditions too dangerous for us in the deep south to manage. And what happened? Nothing. It maybe rained a few drops. Hardly more than that. No ice. No snow. No freezing rain.

Everything was cancelled “out of an abundance of caution.” That phrase was in countless emails and TV announcements about last week’s cancellations. I’m pretty sure you can put “out of an abundance of caution” before any phrase you want and you can get out of anything, even if it doesn’t make sense. Whoever you’re talking to has to agree that your bias towards safety is of the utmost importance. They won’t even argue. And not just any caution or even a little caution. It has to be an abundance of it.

Out of an abundance of caution I’m not going to run that 10k I’ve been saying I would run. Truth is I’ve not been training but they don’t need to know that. Out of an abundance of caution I’m not going to arm wrestle my teen aged sons. They’d probably beat me, but they think my shoulder’s hurt. Out of an abundance of caution I’m going to buy a new suit because well, you know, they might stop making suits someday soon, so I’d better get one.

However, out of an abundance of caution I am going to keep my highlighted office lease on my desk with my notes from the Prince of Darkness attached. I won’t believe the new roof is coming until I see it.

I’m Cam Marston and I’m just trying to Keep it Real.

Edited by Braylan Hurst

Cam Marston is the Keepin' It Real host for Alabama Public Radio.