Careless thinking

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Everything upholstered here in the UK seems to bear a tag proclaiming that “carelessness causes fire.”

It looks like a really defensive disclaimer:  “Hey, we tested this so if you have a fire, don’t look at us.  You must have been careless.”  However, given the ubiquity of it, I’m pretty certain they’re put there to make you think.  It makes me think the following:

If you actually want a fire, it takes much more than carelessness to cause one.  Try getting that barbeque started with carelessness.  True, once the BBQ is fired up, carelessness can really come into its own, with a diverse range of consequences.  One possibility being, admittedly, more fire.

Some things that cause fire: lightning, a squirrel chewing through electrical cabling, a magnifying glass in the sun, damp hay, a spark in a grain silo, a person with a match, a person with a lighter, a person with flint, and a person rubbing two sticks together.  Carelessness could play large or small roles in conjunction with these.

Of the above, I’d say the two dry sticks one is the least likely to involve carelessness.  To succeed at making a fire with that you have to be pretty deliberate.  A kid’s not going to accidentally start a fire if her parents leave two sticks lying around.  Unless they also leave a lighter.  Then the sticks make handy kindling.

Carelessness can cause spilt milk, car accidents, emails sent to the wrong people, red socks in the white laundry, babies, bad haircuts, arithmetic errors, overflowing bathtubs, dog poop on your shoe, typos, and accidental removal of the wrong organ during surgery.  I would imagine a relatively small percentage of carelessness-related events involve combustion.

I’m obviously on a roll with the thinking, so I’d better hurry up and finish that theory of everything I keep putting on the back burner.