My doctor told me "Wear a helmet. A helmet will blah blah blah." I tuned her out once she launched into her tirade about the benefits of wearing a helmet and how my kids will refuse to wear helmets when they see I don't wear one. That last bit is not at all true because I am not like some other touch-feely parents who let their children treat them like shit and then turn around and ask for a second helping. I was raised in the south where good manners are expected. Step out of line and it's a "switch" (a small tree branch) to your backside. I am not even kidding.
I am not quite as iron-fisted as my elders were with me but my children know that mom rules the roost and when you cross mom, then nobody, not even Dad, can save your ass. So they wear their helmets because I said so. And it doesn't matter that I don't wear one.
But I am a little freaked out about the death of Natasha Richardson's. The media is focusing on her helmetless head and using this opportunity to reinforce the importance of helmets. But I wonder: How the f*ck did that happen? I have fallen harder and on much steeper slopes than Natasha Richardson and I have bonked my head a time or two. Hell, I got hit by a truck when I was a kid and thrown twenty feet into the air before hitting the pavement. I was sans helmet then, too.
I am of the mindset that a helmet - especially on a ski slope - doesn't help much; helmets don't keep people from crashing and one study shows helmets have not reduced skiing fatalities.
Sure, I may be tempting The Reaper just a little bit but freak accidents happen and wearing a helmet is not going to protect me if it's my time. Natasha Richardson's fall and subsequent death was a freak accident - it could have happened to anyone - but I don't think it's a sign that I should wear a helmet when I ski. I think it's a reminder that I should live every day the way I want to live it even if that way is neurotic and helmet free.