Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Release of Sanity

My grandfather left home to go out on his own at fourteen years old. Those were obviously different times, but now that I’m a father, I think that was very considerate of him. Son Number One will turn fourteen in a couple months, and he shows absolutely no signs of wanting to move out. Rude!

And it doesn’t end there. I just know that if he hangs around, his two younger brothers will follow his lead, continuing to live here and eat our food throughout high school.

Do you know what that means? Do you even realize the implications?

It means I have at least eight more years of filling out liability and medical release forms!

Over the past thirteen-plus years, I have filled out approximately two bazillion forms related to our three boys, and almost six-fifths of them were liability and medical release forms.

Can we just talk about liability release forms for a minute? I’m really hoping that after this discussion we can just be done with them, OK America? Great!

Liability release forms are useless. When I bring my kids to your trampoline fun park, you insist that I sign a document saying that anything that happens to my child under your roof, in your parking lot, or in greater North America is not your fault. I scoff at that idea, but I sign that document anyway, because if I don’t, I can’t leave my kids at your trampoline fun park and sneak away to have twenty stinkin’ minutes with no one yelling to me about how much of a giant butthole their brother is.

You and I both know that document means absolutely nothing if my child gets hurt because of, let’s say, your lack of trampoline maintenance and poor decision making with regard to reptile enclosure placement.

“Your honor, it’s simply not our fault that this man’s son was mauled when our obviously well-past-the-end-of-its-useful-life trampoline ripped and he fell through into our pet alligator’s tank that we placed underneath the trampoline so it would be out of everyone’s way. I mean, they signed the liability release, for crying out loud!”

If I brought my own form stating that you would hold us harmless if my son intentionally burned down your trampoline fun park because he loves barbecued alligator, would you sign it? Of course not. The only reason we parents sign these things is because we all know they won’t hold up in court if your business does something stupid, and we can’t get away from our children unless you take them.

And don’t even get me started on medical release forms. I mean, at least they serve an actual purpose – to communicate any medical concerns to the folks who will be watching our children – but they are still annoying, and here’s why: We are constantly filling out medical release forms for every single activity that our children do, but every organization’s form is “unique,” and they all ask the same exact set of idiotic questions.

We should be able to provide any child caregiver with our own pre-printed medical release form. Ours would be a business card that read:
This is Son Number Three. He is allergic to nothing. You already have my name and phone number or I wouldn’t have given you my kid.

Instead, roughly half my existence on this planet has consisted of filling out the same information on each special medical release form that I am given:

Doctor’s Name:
Doctor’s Address:
Doctor’s Phone Number:
Health Insurance Provider:
Health Insurance Plan Number:

Literally no one within a ten-mile radius of this field trip will ever use any of that information. I have never once been able to actually speak to my sons’ doctor on the phone, yet you want his number? And what on earth are you planning to do with his insurance information?

“Oh, no! That boy has fallen and seems to have broken his arm and he’s bleeding from his ears. Get me his medical release form so we can schedule his next six-month wellness check and hopefully get a flu shot in the same visit.”

It’s time to stop the madness, America. If we all band together and stay strong, we can do it. From now on, when we fill out the medical release forms, over the entire doctor and insurance information section, we’ll just write three numbers with a big black Sharpie marker – 911.

See you soon,


Copyright © 2018 Marc Schmatjen

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