An axe tumbled through the air and hit its target with a thud before clattering to the ground. Oops. So began an evening of axe throwing, a birthday celebration for a friend. It didn’t actually start there. Before axes could fly, we had to sign a waiver releasing the business of any liability—good idea, considering whose hands they were putting axes into.
I had to read the waiver out loud because my husband didn’t bring his glasses. Glasses certainly aren’t necessary to throw axes but are needed for reading the small print of a two-page waiver. The public reading of the waiver was so entertaining, even the employees were listening and laughing. Perhaps they had never read it themselves. I asked them if I could keep a copy—knowing immediately it was blog-worthy material. So here we are.
I will focus on just one paragraph and break it down for you. It starts: “I acknowledge that risks and dangers exist in my use of axe throwing equipment and my participation in axe throwing activities.” I knew this before we even arrived, which is why I had told the organizer of the activity that I would come but wouldn’t be throwing axes. I know my limitations. My friend, Nedra, who also shouldn’t be given an axe to throw, and I would be the cheerleaders for the evening.
“My participation in such activities and/or use of such equipment may result in my injury or illness or the injury or illness of my family, heirs, executors, administrators, and friends,” Hold on. I believe I could injure myself and maybe those with me (or worst-case scenario, the axe throwers in the adjoining cage), but my “family, heirs, executors, administrators, and friends?” My heirs? I hate to think about how that could be possible, but I’m afraid I might know what they are saying. If that’s not enough to make you walk out the door, I don’t know what is. I don’t even know who my administrators are, so I don’t see how my axe throwing can be responsible for injuries to them.
Then they get more specific about how my axe throwing could impact myself and everyone else, “including but not limited to bodily injury, disease from viruses, bacteria, parasites, fractures, partial and/or total paralysis, eye injury, blindness, heat stroke, heart attack, death or other ailments that could cause serious or permanent disability” I’d like to think that there would have to be a major incident or maybe a combination of axe catastrophes for these perils to come about. But when we’re talking about me, it could happen leaning over to pick up the axe. Let’s face it, I’m a mess.
“and may cause severe social or economic losses due to not only my own actions, inaction, or negligence, but also to the action, inaction, or negligence of others or conditions of the premises or of any equipment used.” Apparently, my axe throwing could result in lawsuits. No kidding. As I already stated, no worries, because I wasn’t going to be touching an axe. Nedra made pom-poms and cheers for us to do at a safe distance from the axes. There would be no attempt at cartwheels or lifts, so we were safe, along with our heirs, executors, and administrators.
That concludes one of fourteen paragraphs of all that could go wrong and releasing the business of any liability, even if death occurs. All of that for just a few hours of innocent fun.
Life is full of dangers. There are no waivers to sign, even though not one of us will be able to avoid death. It’s the only way out of this life. No matter how death comes about, even a crazy axe throwing incident, it’s not a waiver that will save me, but faith in the one who holds the keys to life and death. Because Jesus has already died in my place, I do not fear death. It will just be the first day of life without pain, without fighting sin, without tears, without worry, without illness, including diseases, parasites, blindness, heat stroke, paralysis, or heart attack, and without dodging axes. I hope my family, heirs, executors, administrators, and friends will join me there.
“but it [grace] has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:10 NIV).