Taking responsibility

I’ve just had a thought. My column seems to promote the consumption of vodka. Seems to promote? Does promote, more like. Well, yes, I do endorse it. Indeed, if any vodka company is interested in sponsoring my forays into the night, equipped only with my wit and a skinful of the stuff, then they are quite welcome to get in touch. Until then I shall refrain from mentioning any vodka brands, like Stolchinaya, which happens to be my favourite.

This then is simply a disclaimer to shrug responsibility and avoid the unlikely possibility of a lawsuit. And if you think I am being over cautious, just think how many impressionable adults you know. Then try to imagine the number that must exist in the entire world if you know that many. And remember, the entire world has access to this, a world where litigation is a vastly popular source of income for stupid people who cannot take responsibility for their own actions. It’s growing in popularity here too, in soon-to-be-as-bad Britain.

Haven’t you seen those adverts on TV by companies that offer to follow up your claims and only take a vast percentage of any compensation payout? Also recall the woman who sued a hamburger chain for selling her a coffee at a drive-thru, which she placed between her legs and subsequently scalded herself. See, I have to be careful. We all do.

Where will it end? Companies increasingly have to protect themselves against their products being put to any obscure and unlikely use for which they will be held responsible. Will microwaves come with warning labels dissuading people from drying their pets in them? When will we see stickers in cars telling a passenger that exiting the vehicle while it is in motion is a bad idea? What about a much-needed caution to gardeners not to be tempted to cut their child’s hair with the Fly-Mo?

I even suspect that Liv4now.com’s lawyers have made sure that written somewhere on this site is a declaration that the company distances itself from the writings and opinions of its contributors. I could not afford to be sued for encouraging appalling behaviour or self-abuse. I could only offer to buy someone drink to make amends, but I doubt if that would go down too well.

The British, in general, have always been rather naïve or perhaps normal when it comes to this sort of thing. If someone accidentally bumps into me in the street, I usually apologise (and then curse myself for having done so). How terribly polite we are. The last thing we think of is turning a simple human error into a lawsuit. We leave the dirty work for our insurance companies. These days they tell us to never accept liability or blame for a car accident at the scene. I’m sorry, but if it is clearly my fault – and it never is – then why shouldn’t I own up? If I crash into someone who was simply driving along quite innocently, then not only is it expected of me to get out, ask if they are alright and apologise profusely, mumbling something about having had to swerve violently into their path to avoid a small child, but it will be a natural reaction. I pay insurance so that I am covered. The insurance company will have to cough up. They will put my premiums up, yes, but that’s life. I should have kept my eyes on the road and not messed about with the stereo.

On a recent trip abroad I dropped and damaged my camera. Reading aloud the report I had just written to claim on the insurance and cover the cost of repairs, my friend sternly objected to my stating that a friend had accidentally bumped me and caused it to fall from my shoulder.
“You haven’t given my name have you?” She almost screamed.
“No. Why?”
“‘Cause your insurance company will sue mine!”

It wasn’t her who had knocked me and I can only assume that she thought she may have because she is such a clumsy person naturally. The point is that it hadn’t even crossed my mind that my insurance company would do such a thing for a relatively measly amount of money. It seemed ridiculous and I told her to shut up.

In the light of such things however I hereby claim in plain English, as spoken by Her Royal Highness the Queen of England and all who sail in her, that any use of the content provided herein is the sole responsibility of the reader. This column is for those of legal drinking age and I endorse sensible intake for pleasure only. Furthermore, I do not guarantee that application of the information provided here will not pose any harm to the user; in fact, excessive consumption of alcohol, or probably anything for that matter, will probably cause irreparable harm to your body.

I continue. If you choose to do as I say and not leave it to a professional then please do not drive while under the influence of alcohol. You may injure or kill yourself and I need all the readers I can get. Get a cab, basically.

I may as well take this opportunity try to make vodka-clear my vague motives with regard to the Vodka Diaries, or VD, as it’s known lovingly in certain (private) parts. Don’t worry; this isn’t a manifesto but merely the brief concept behind it. Oh yes, there is thinking behind this believe it or not.

The Vodka Diaries is about a certain lifestyle that seems to sit casually alongside vodka (perhaps on a black leather Italian sofa?) It is not meant to be pornography for vodka-philes or a connoisseur’s dry academic journal. It is about life and the observations on the city in general; glimpses of the urban experience and its vast possibilities; an intended celebration of life; a subliminal advertising campaign to boost vodka consumption among the 18-35 age group and, through use of a code, a way to transmit information to a criminal network that operates out of Cirencester.

It’s about an attitude, and a good one at that. So while we’re not hurting anyone, no one’s suing and there’s liquid in that bottle, let’s party – liquidation rather litigation as it were. I’ll drink to that.com