CMS Expert/Programming Guru Reuven Lerner on the Inconveniences of living in America (He’s from Israel).
And indeed, we have been in many situations over the last two years when common sense was overruled by “the rules,” often having to do with insurance companies and a fear of lawsuits. No one in a professional context is willing to speak their mind, for fear of being caught, or showing personality, or going beyond what has been approved by lawyers. When we rented a car with car seats, we were told that the rental agency couldn’t tell us (let alone show us) how to install the seats, because then they would be liable in the case of an accident. And of course, they didn’t have the booklet describing the installation procedure, either. A cafeteria worker at school told us not to walk behind him, next to a grill — not because it’s dangerous, but because the insurance rules forbid it. When someone carefully took a few bites out of a sandwitch on a public bus, the bus driver pulled over to the side of the road, demanding that she put it away, because eating is prohibited on the bus. Israelis love to quote rules, but that is almost always an invitation to negotiate, rather than a way of closing off discussion.
Reuven writes the great At the Forge tutorials at Linux Journal.