After having breakfast with a good friend this morning, I heard the most ridiculous commercial for an attorney on a local radio station.

The Petro & Cohen law firm is now offering legal services in the area of “wear and tear” claims.

What’s a “wear and tear” claim?

Why, I’m so glad you asked.

Before you go assuming it’s for something normal like “wear and tear” on your car, pause and let the next sentence sink in:  According to the attorney on the radio, a “wear and tear” claim is for “construction workers who develop back pain… or secretaries who develop carpal tunnel syndrome.”

Attorney:  “Sir, why do you want to sue your employer?”

Construction Worker:  “Well, in spite of the fact that my employer has given me a job with a salary and benefits for more than 20 years which has kept food on my family’s table and a roof over our heads… and I get several weeks of vacation every year and I can afford to take my family on a nice trip because I actually have a job… and I have a better than average lifestyle because of all the opportunities I’ve had to work overtime… I’ve developed a bad back.  Even though I was told from the beginning that construction is strenuous work and that it requires a great deal of physical labor, I’d like to bite the hand that feeds me… uh, I mean… file a ‘wear and tear’ claim.”

What the hell is wrong with everyone?!  What ever happened to common sense and personal responsibility?

The attorney’s website claims the following:

Almost any medical condition can be considered compensable under the workers’ compensation law…. For example, if a jackhammer operator, carpenter, secretary, casino dealer, cocktail server, food server, etc., repetitively flexes/extends his/her wrist as part of his/her routine occupational duties, the development of carpal tunnel syndrome may very well be a compensable condition depending upon the proofs.

I love it!!!

Truthfully, I’m not so angry with the law firm as I am the people who are actually going to call and want to file a claim.  The law firm is trying to drum up business… and in this economy everyone is getting desperate.  The people who call with such claims are the ones I’m most angry with.  And I’m sure, as a result of that commercial someone will call.

Now, don’t get me wrong:  I understand that there are circumstances under which workers could, and should, file a claim against their employer.  There are some shitty employers out there and sometimes people get stuck in unfortunate circumstances.  But seriously, we have some of the best working conditions and laws to protect workers in this country as compared to other places in the world.  And who doesn’t know about carpal tunnel syndrome by now and what causes it?  Is everyone going to sue Facebook in ten years because we all develop carpal tunnel syndrome as a result of updating our statuses too much?

But you know what?  I’ve been thinking.  I should call the law firm.  Afterall, I’m a teacher… just think of what I could claim:

  • Psychological trauma arising from the shitty parenting I am expected to fix.
  • Lower back trauma and foot pain due to standing and walking around all day.
  • Emotional distress from having to wake up early every day, even though I’m not a morning person, and losing precious quality time with my husband at night because I’m up late doing something for work.
  • Psychological AND emotional distress arising from Teacher’s Lounge Psychosis.
  • Years of exposure to chalk dust thus eventually developing into a condition (that I’m sure medical science will discover one day) called Chronic Dusty Breath.

When you start a job or a career, in most cases, your employer will inform you of what physical demands the job will require.  In other cases, common sense kicks in.

But in case you have no common sense, or you’ve lost your common sense as a result of exposure to our screwed up culture, here are a few tips:

  • Don’t join the military if you have a problem with gunshot wounds, losing a limb, or death.
  • Don’t be a construction worker if you are opposed to physical labor, lifting heavy things, or generally using your body to do anything other than sit on a couch.
  • Don’t be a real estate agent if you have an issue with long hours, stress, lack of time with family, or constantly being in a hot sweaty mess because you’re running from appointment to appointment.
  • Don’t be an accountant if you don’t like numbers or feel you would suffer some form of trauma from dealing with them all day, or if you bore easily.
  • Don’t be a teacher if you can’t handle misbehaving children, poor pay, early mornings, or drama.
  • Don’t be a busboy or dish washer at a restaurant if you don’t want dishpan hands.
  • Don’t become a prostitute if you have a problem with contracting a sexually transmitted disease.

I think you get the idea.  There are consequences to every single profession in the world and if you’re not willing to research, learn, understand, and acknowledge the specific positives and negatives of your job, at the very least, use your brain and ask your boss for a clue!

Seriously, we all need to get a grip.