Man Injured by Tomato Basil Soup, No Data Breach Occurred

During the next few weeks, people who see me will probably ask "What happened to your forehead?" It's a long embarrassing story, so I'll tell it here and refer friends, family, and customers to this blog.

Our story begins last Saturday, 22 December 2007, when I was celebrating my birthday at my mom and dad's house. Mom made my favorite dinner (Ham, mashed potatoes, and an amazing ham gravy), and gave me one of my favorite birthday presents--- a cookbook titled "Fat-free ITALIAN" by Anne Sheasby.

Sunday night, 23 December, I was in the mood to try a new recipe. Soup sounded good, so on page 44 I set out to prepare "Tomato and Fresh Basil Soup" since the recipe looked fairly simple and quick.

Let the life learning experiences begin... my father used to say "The difference between stupidity and ignorance is how many times you make the same mistake". Let me tell you about some mistakes I intend to never make again.

After cooking the onions, tomatoes, and other tasty ingredients in a big pot for about 20 minutes, the next step was to puree the soup in a blender or food processor. I own both of these kitchen gadgets, but chose the blender for its greater capacity and speed.

I carefully filled the blender about 2/3 full and put the top on. My right hand held a pot holder which covered the blender lid. My left hand pressed the button labeled "puree".

Now I've got a pretty fancy blender with about 20 speeds. There's a switch labeled "low" and "high" that is supposed to switch between speeds 1-10 and 11-20.

  • Here's mistake #1: The switch was set to "high".
  • Mistake #2: I wasn't earnestly applying pressure to the lid of the blender to keep it closed.
  • Mistake #3: I had forgotten the explosive force that boiling, steaming hot liquids can produce when agitated
The consequences of my mistakes were many!
  1. The lid blew up off the blender
  2. The blender boiling hot ingredients went flying everywhere around the kitchen - the floor, the kitchen cupboards, down the hallway... everywhere
  3. Everywhere includes having steaming hot contents spray my glasses and obscure my vision (in hindsight, wearing glasses was a blessing which protected my eyes)
  4. Everywhere also includes having some hot sauce and hot chunks of tomato splatter onto my forehead and face --- where they lingered too long while I fumbled for the OFF switch.
Slip sliding on tomato sauce as I sprinted across the kitchen to the sink, I quickly washed the tomato slop off my face and forehead as quickly as I could. Then I kept rinsing with cold water for several minutes. Then I applied ice and ice packs to my forehead.

You can imagine I was quite upset as anyone might have been. I resisted temptation to hurl nearby objects (such as my laptop) out of windows in anger. No, I didn't want to create the opportunity for yet another data breach in 2007, nor increase the magnitude of the mess and damage already done.

I took several deep breaths, bit my lower lip for a minute, then smiled at my wife and daughter and pleasantly said "It's ok, I'm ok, I am accountable, I will clean this mess up and finish the soup."

As it turns out, the soup was delicious. My soup was a bit diluted from melting ice cube water dripping into it, but it was fine all the same. I'm sure I'll make it again in the future.

I am not going to sue the author of the cookbook or the publisher for failing to caution the cook with a "WARNING: SOUP IS BOILING HOT AND INJURY MAY OCCUR, USE CAUTION WHEN PREPARING". Duh.

I am also not going to sue the blender manufacturer for making such a fine device that is capable of splattering boiling hot soup several meters in every direction. It operated according to the operator's use of the controls.

I am accountable. I cleaned up the mess. I finished preparing the soup. I (re-)learned some important cooking lessons. And right now I have some very attractive (not) burn wounds healing on my forehead and face as a reminder of my valuable lessons.

We are each individually accountable for the consequences of the actions we take, and also for the consequences of failing to act. There are plenty of sayings to exemplify this thinking: "Life is what you make of it" or "You've made your bed now sleep in it" are just two examples.

Accountability is very important to everyone on the DBI team. We are accountable to each other and to our customers. Our slogan "Accountability Starts Here" is a reminder of our accountability, and the accountability that we can help provide to our customers through software technology and services.

Brother-Thoroughbred™ helps determine who, in an organization, is accountable for (or "owns" or "is most responsible for") performance issues in a database - is it the DBA team or not? Brother-WatchDog® helps create and enforce data accountability in organizations by producing audit trails of user data activities--- without audit trails, an atmosphere of anonymity is a breeding ground for data breaches and other malfeasance.

Cheers and Happy New Year!