I think it was Norman Augustine (author of the immortal rule, "The optimum committee has no members") who suggested that the surest way to avoid being blown up while flying was to carry a bomb aboard the plane yourself, because the odds of two people carrying bombs aboard the same flight are close to zero.
An even better way to avoid being blown up on an airplane, of course, is to take the train. An even better way -- maybe the best -- is to never leave your house. I deal with the question of danger this month in my Atlantic advice column, "What's Your Problem?":
When we first met, my husband and I went out all the time. Now all he wants to do is stay home. How do I get him to go out and experience the world again?
K. C., New York, N.Y.
Dear K. C.,
I must say, I admire your husband's lifestyle choice. The world is wildly overrated. Bad things happen in the world, such as monsoons, mudslides, bonuses to hedge-fund managers, Turkish flotillas, lightning strikes, Cake Boss, surfboard decapitations--the list is endless. It is true that many people suffer accidents in their home: 51 percent of all disabling injuries occur there, in fact. But the home is a haven. I learned this from Mario Puzo (see above), whom I got to know slightly toward the end of his life. I once asked him if I could take him out to lunch, and he invited me instead to lunch at his home. "My mother always told me that bad things happen when you go outside," he said.
I recognize, of course, that you can fall down the stairs of your house, or cut yourself while slicing a bagel; that trees can fall into your living room without warning; that unwanted house guests can park themselves permanently in your basement (this is why I'm such a stringent Third Amendment activist). Nevertheless, I continue to maintain that staying home will ultimately cause you less trouble than going outside.
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