Death by insouciance

red-flagI’d like to raise a red flag.

The French word for carefree – insouciant – literally means no worries. To live the carefree life. Free and easy. Sans soucis.

The French are inherently insouciant. Cool and easygoing. Especially in the summer. They don’t like to live by the rules. And at the height of the carefree summer mood, I am at my most uncool. Because I am just one of those people who worries. And it seems that in France, there is reason to worry.

One in five people in France doesn’t know how to swim. But when you go on a boat there is no sign of life-jackets.

It is not cool to be the one who worries about such things. But it’s also not cool to live the carefree life to the point where you jeopardize your own. And others. By ignoring the rules. Driving too fast. Not wearing a seat-belt. Cycling without a helmet. Passing when you can’t see what’s coming.

It is not cool to defy the health warnings by refusing to wear sunscreen. And it’s especially uncool to expose your infant child to the sun on the beach at noon.

It is not cool to ignore the danger signs and go swimming when the red flag is flying.

It is not cool to drown, as 91 people in France have so far this summer.

It is so uncool to be cool.

So please pay attention to the red flags.

Merci.

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