Born to be wild


Yesterday, I attended the NEBOSH graduation ceremony at Warwick University. Even though it wasn’t the weekend, this was an opportunity for everyone to dress up in sweltering gowns fashionable only 500 years ago, have their souls captured by a camera obscura, eat things that they do not recognise and develop early signs of carpel tunnel syndrome from repeated clapping. And was it all worth it? Most emphatically yes. Call it euphoria or just entering into the spirit of it, but it is good to see so many people reaching their goal and receiving visible recognition. Special congratulations to RRC student Nicola Worley who received a prize for the best candidate in Unit D of the National Diploma. It’s right and proper to celebrate it and although I wasn’t receiving anything myself, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I wasn’t even a gate crasher, though it did occur to me that a well dressed, self-assured student with some initiative could survive quite well off these things in the Summer.

And, as if that wasn’t enough, it was a rather good lunch, congenial company and welcome air conditioning. I must admit to having slightly more wine than I had intended (well, I had intended to abstain, so that was easy and I was drinking for two in any case – a colleague had to cancel at the last minute). That could explain the general feeling of well-being and the ill-advised compulsion to peruse the University bookshop whilst waiting for the bus – I do love physics text books with their extremely dense mathematics and yet titles such as “elementary quantum mechanics”. It makes one look intelligent simply to be seen reading it.

Given the erudite surroundings and the penchant for Latin mottos on University coat of arms, I mused, inspired by the good wine, whether the safety profession might adopt a similar approach. It doesn’t have to mean anything and surely it would do wonders for our credibility. We could even keep the true meaning a secret – a sort of double, double meaning for the cogniscenti. So, in an effort to be helpful, I profer: video te care agitans asinum – forgiving the school-boy latin poor grammar, loosely translates as I see you babe, shaking that ass (or donkey). I think it could work. It could be timeless. There could be a handshake and everything. Renault automobile company, I thank you for introducing it to the nation. Looks even better in Greek: Βλεπω σε, Παιδιον, σαλευεις εκεινην την ονον. (Forgive the lack of accents, blame it on incompetence, there’s so much of it to go round…) or possibly Klingon…. Stupid phrases look great in a different language. The medical profession have been doing it for years.