Is It Safe?

When Sir Laurence Olivier portrayed a sadistic ex-Nazi dentist in Marathon Man, he famously asked Babe Levy (Dustin Hoffman), whom he’d drugged and strapped into a chair, “Is it safe?” Poor Babe didn’t know what he was talking about, but soon learned the old man was willing to drill into a healthy tooth to get the answer.

We’re not likely to cause pain and havoc when asking that question, but the answer can seem as elusive to us as it did to Olivier’s character in the movie. Is coffee…alcohol…sex…air…water…exercise safe? How about dieting? Child safety seats? Toys made overseas? Internet chat rooms?

Most of us, I think, use common sense around things that may…or may not…be safe. We don’t overdo it at the gym, we drink moderately, and we know, usually, which products are safe. Recalls are frequently in the news, and it’s good to know somebody is paying attention.

So I’ll admit I was totally blind-sided by popcorn. Actually, it’s the fumes that lure Elsa into the kitchen whenever my wife pops the bag out of the microwave that appear to be a potentially unsafe No-No.

You can read the news story and decide for yourself, but I can tell you: Elsa’s already made up her mind. Pass the salt, please.


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