In “Cast Away” Tom Hanks plays Chuck Noland, as the only actor on screen, throughout most of the movie. Somehow, he carries the movie except for a Wilson brand volleyball. He spends over 1500 days on the island alone, with “Wilson”.
During the time he is stuck on the island, he contemplates suicide many times; going as far as making a test dummy, to toss off the cliff, as he worked toward his plan to die. Wilson was his only companion, and ultimately impacted his decision to not give up.
He became so attached to Wilson that he took the volleyball with him on his ultimate escape raft. “They” fought through waves, storms and even whales. At one point, Noland falls asleep to the rocking of the waves and somehow, despite being tremendously secured to the raft, Wilson falls off the perch and begins floating away.
Noland wakes up and soon realizes that Wilson is missing. He begins to scream, “Wilson, where are you”. Soon, he sees Wilson several yards away in the ocean. Noland, without thought, jumps off the raft to rescue Wilson until he comes to the conclusion that he cannot swim to “rescue” Wilson, without losing the raft and his own life.
Yes, I admit it. At that point, I actually felt myself getting a bit choked up as Noland began to sob uncontrollably and apologize for letting Wilson down, and not getting Wilson home.
In the world of insurance and accident law, loss is evaluated and a worth or fair market value is assigned. Big Business and those that want to restrict access to the Courtroom, constantly talk about restrictions on damages and a certainty of liability and expense.
It reminds me of the memo that came out in 1973, that was known as Ford’s “Pinto Memo”. At the time, Ford management was dealing with the possible dangers of the Pinto automobile. Information became available that people were dying in crashes, as a result of cars easily rolling over, and fuel leakage/fires.
The memo dealt with the cost of modification to fix the fuel tank problem. The memo showed that the total estimated cost to fix the cars would be about $11 per car or a total of $137.5 million.
Then, the memo costed out expected litigation costs and settlement payouts, to crash victims or their families and estates if the repairs were not made.
It was deemed cheaper not to fix the Pinto; But, instead, just absorb the expense of estimated lawsuit payouts, which was an estimated $49.53 million. By not making the necessary modification, Ford expected to save about 90 Million.
Big Business is constructed to turn profits for the shareholder. However, the law allows damages that take other factors into consideration, like loss of enjoyment of life, emotional damages; and, when necessary, punishment damages.
When politicians talk about making their state friendly to business, by having caps and restrictions to the Courtroom; what they are really saying is that everything should be looked upon as a fixable expense. It is “Ford Memo” thinking.
In “Cast Away” the loss of Wilson wasn’t just the loss of a volleyball. There was a loss of companionship. It’s not always what you lose. Sometimes, maybe consideration should be given to what you are left with.