For some while Langley and I have been debating whether injury prevention workers should try to prevent all injuries because (as I reason) we simply cannot predict which will be severe, or, as he argues, we need only prevent those that will be serious. After some back and forth, in a recent issue of Injury Prevention Langley wrote a long letter that ended by attempting to ridicule my position. It concluded, “Accordingly, I intend to nominate him as a Patron of the about to be formed International Society for the Prevention of Paper Cuts.” Because we are such good friends, I wrote the following by way of rebuttal. Wisely, however, our editor decided ‘enough is enough’, declined to publish my response but agreed I could post it here. Enjoy!!
(PS – If you are not familiar with the poetry of Edward Lear (1812-88), especially his limericks and nonsense poems, you are missing a huge chunk of enjoyment. Make haste to your local library and read on!!!)
Response to Langley’s letter “Severity of injury can be assessed on a number of dimensions” (Injury Prevention, Inj Prev 2014;20:218)
How pleasant to know Prof Langley
Who has written such volumes of stuff.
Some think him ill-tempered and dangly
But I find him pleasant enough.
His mind is concrete and fastidious,
His nose is remarkably big;
His visage is not at all hideous,
His beard (when he has one) is a twig.
He sits in a beautiful parlour (that’s queer),
With hundreds of books on the wall,
He drinks a great deal of marsala (read ‘beer’),
But hardly gets tipsy at all.
He has many friends, lay and statistical,
Old Jack is the name of his dog;
His body is far from spherical,
And his hat resembles a log
My problem is simply stated:
I beg he explain how to tell
(Without being singularly ‘creative’)
When a fall will break, bruise, or be well!
POIS studies are flawed we are told
Because subjects are not hospitalized
This contradiction leaves me cold:
As many are long disabled or immobilized!
Langley would have us believe mostly
We need only prevent injuries severe or costly
He assures he can tell, which will be which
POIS recruitment shenanigans just a glitch
When he writes in scholarly journals,
His old editor chides him so!
Calling “He’s gone out in his nightgown,
That crazy old Kiwi, oh!”
He should weep by the side of the ocean,
He should weep on the top of the hill;
He thinks he can foresee the future,
But contradicts himself yet and still
Yet I am not swayed, ‘Patron of Paper Cut Prevention’ is fine
Over them I happily reign (pronounced ‘rine’),
But if the paper cuts an artery first grade
Would John remain quite so sanguine? (pronounced sang wine)
He reads, does not use logic, or speak Spanish,
Does not abide ginger beer, or reason till dawn;
As the days of his pilgrimage vanish,
How tough to debate Langley John!
(with apologies to Edward Lear)