Earlier this week I took a first aid/CPR course offered through the Red Cross, because, as I bizarrely and inadequately explained to the instructor in front of the entire class, “Zombies.” It’s clearly something I should have done a long time ago, as it turns out I was woefully uneducated about the basics. For instance, I would have sworn that hitting someone on the back was an outdated, wives-tale method of helping a choking victim — you know, sort of like slathering butter on a burn. Wrong! You’re supposed to hit them! (Well, technically you’re supposed to bend them forward, use the heel of your hand to deliver five forceful back-blows between the shoulder blades, then switch to five abdominal thrusts, but maybe you can also smack them around a little if you don’t like them very much.) I also learned that my first instinct when presented with a roll of gauze is to instantly drop it on the floor and make a weird Chewbacca moan when it unravels like toilet paper tracked out of a restroom, which doesn’t seem super helpful in terms of helping someone who’s geysering blood all over the place unless the victim is at least mildly entertained by my antics in their final moments.

The part of the class that made the biggest impact on me (aside maybe from when the instructor demonstrated how if someone has something awful protruding out of their eyeball you’re supposed to cover the other eye too so the mutilated eye isn’t tempted to move around and make the injury worse and the whole time he had a pair of scissors pointing at his eye and I was like AHHHH BE CAREFUL I’M NOT GOOD WITH GAUZE) was the CPR section, because I had no idea how hard it is. I knew about the chest compressions, but I had never actually practiced them before. A CPR manikin lets you get a sense of how much physical pressure it takes to push the required two inches deep and no shit, it’s straight-up exhausting, especially since you’re supposed to do 30 of them at a rate of 100 per minute before switching to the two rescue breaths, which is like stopping a high-intensity cardio workout in order to blow up a balloon. Oh, and the instructor informed us that in real life, the compressions would likely get easier as you go on account of the rib and sternum cartilage breaking (“You’ll hear it go!” he said, cheerily) and maybe some bones to boot, but you’re not supposed to worry about that since being dead probably sucks more than having a sore chest. We did several rounds of attempting to resuscitate our vaguely porny-looking plastic torsos and afterwards I gasped “Wow, this isn’t how it looks in the movies at ALL!” which … really, brain? The zombies thing wasn’t stupid enough?

Anyway, it was all obviously very useful stuff and if you haven’t refreshed your training lately I thought the Red Cross did a great job (the course I took was called Adult and Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED, but they also have an online version that’s CPR/AED only). I suppose this is the first class I’ve ever taken where I fervently hope I am never called upon to demonstrate anything I learned, including the trainer directive to avoid reassuring a victim of any outcome you can’t know. In other words, you’re not supposed to say “You’re going to be okay.” I don’t know, I think if someone was terrified I would tell them that. They probably wouldn’t believe me, what with my gauze-fumbling and nervous Walking Dead chatter (“I am virtually certain that you, like a certain main character portrayed two weeks ago, are totally going to survive this season, despite how things look at the moment!”) and all, but I’d say it.

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You’ve come to expect the mail every day. Okay, maybe there are a few schedule anomalies: days when you get more than one delivery, or a regular delivery and then a surprise repeat visit shortly thereafter because there was an extra package, or the mail doesn’t arrive at all because the system is taking a break. But generally, there’s a schedule with some measure of predictability.

Except sometimes you know the mail is supposed to be delivered — maybe you got a special notification, or maybe the mail didn’t arrive yesterday and so you know it’s for sure on its way with more volume than usual, whether that’s a bunch of useless flyers or a big old heavy padded envelope — and yet nothing shows up, and you’re like, what the fuck? You can see the truck out there on the street, so what’s the problem? I mean it’s not like your entire life is on hold while you wait to see if the mail is going to arrive, necessarily, but it sure would be nice to get back on track. You don’t want postal entropy, because who knows where that leads? Discomfort with the quality of service, to be sure, but also lingering questions about the carrying capacity of one mailbox, and perhaps concern over unexpected future deliveries.

“I’ll be there in a minute!” the guy says from the truck, offering a cheery wave, but he doesn’t budge. Or maybe he slips, like, a single leaflet in your direction, but you know damn good and well you’ve got more than some flimsy circular addressed to “Occupant.”

Basically, what you want is an easier route from point A to point B. Something to expedite the process from truck to mailbox because who knows what’s causing the delay but clearly this entire situation needs to aim towards maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort. Deliveries should arrive in a streamlined, orderly manner, by God, and NONE of us should have to wait by the window for half the morning while some misguided resource reroutes a package for tomorrow at 7 PM. (Anything later than immediately after a 3 PM caffeine break is a hostile act and will be received with great reluctance.)

And this, my friends, is why I heartily and sincerely recommend the Squatty Potty.

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