Ah, timing. I was just chatting my Dear Husband about how soft young people seem to be these days (we do this a lot), and this pops up across my Facebook: Dechocker

And now I'm depressed.

Don't people learn first aid anymore? Haven't we heard of the Heimlich manoeuvre? I don't have particularly good memories of school, but one good thing I learned there was how to perform it. We practiced it on each other until we got it. We made each other gag and giggle a lot, but we got it. So much so that I once saved someone who had chocked on a piece of meat. Tried it too timidly and rather unsuccessfully at first, and - seeing as things were getting dramatic - I did it again but much more decidedly and out came that piece of meat, flying half-way across the room and landing with a wet thud. I believe I was 16 or 17 when I saved that person. I have never done it again but I am reasonably confident I remember how to.

I dislike relying on gadgets too much because gadgets fail sometimes. They're also not always right where you need it. Batteries die. Sometimes you left the gizmo in the car. Sometimes, in a panic, you can't make it work right. Human skills that rely on human intelligence and reflexes are much more reliable, provided the human in question isn't a flake who folds at the first sign of trouble. That's why raising kids in bubble wrap is so damn dangerous. You are taking away their ability to react well in a crisis. And one day this might just kill them. And kill them stupidly at that. (Don't bubble-wrap your kids! Teach them to deal with danger instead.)

I'm not in favour of anyone choking, but for crying out loud humans have choked for as long as they've breathed, and most of us so far have managed to cope with the danger (you can even do the Heimlich to yourself by ramming something hard and sharp up your solar plexus).

Be competent. Learn to deal with danger, learn to assess situations quickly, and learn basic first-aid and survival skills. Can it fail? Sure. Very few people are thoroughly prepared for everything. But I'd rather rely on my skills than on some gadget. That's too soft for me.

And I don't like soft.