Current Occupation: freelance writer
Former Occupation: military
Contact Information: Ron Riekki's books include U.P.: a novel (Sewanee Writers Series and Great Michigan Read nominated), The Way North: Collected Upper Peninsula New Works (2014 Michigan Notable Book from the Library of Michigan and finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book Award/Grand Prize shortlist, Midwest Book Award, Foreword Book of the Year, and Next Generation Indie Book Award), Here: Women Writing on Michigan's Upper Peninsula (2016 IPPY/Independent Publisher Book Award Gold Medal Great Lakes—Best Regional Fiction and Next Generation Indie Book Award—Short Story finalist), and And Here: 100 Years of Upper Peninsula Writing, 1917-2017 (Michigan State University Press, 2017).
Ten Thousand Infants
I went to teach at a CPR company to see if I’d be a good fit. The owner of the company told me I did not need to do the infant portion of CPR. I asked why and he said, “It just doesn’t happen that often.” I knew that the success rates with infants in need of CPR is only 4%. 96% die. I told him this. He said to not tell the class that statistic, that it was too morbid. I told him I wanted to motivate them to do CPR, to help save lives. He said, “There’s only ten thousand infants who go into cardiac arrest per year. That’s nothing.” That averages out to one every hour, every day, all year, which is pretty much the opposite of nothing. He said that babies stay at home, that parents should be trained, that the hospital trains them on CPR before they’re sent home with the baby, which isn’t always true. And one-year-olds are everywhere, in restaurants, in parks, on planes, on buses, in schools, at amusement parks, but he said that the clients don’t want to learn infant CPR. They want to save adults. He didn’t even have any child mannequins at all, just adult mannequins and infant mannequins. I told him that the problem with such terrible infant CPR success rates is that people don’t know what to do so they never start CPR. The whole purpose of training people on CPR is so that they’ll know what to do.
I started the class, saying I was going to include the infant portion of CPR. At one point, I put an infant mannequin next to an adult mannequin with the intent of showing that the differences are not major, that people should not be intimidated to do CPR no matter the person’s age. He came over and took the baby off the floor. He put it sitting up, saying he doesn’t like the baby mannequins to be on the ground, even to demonstrate a point. I had some of the infant mannequins nearby in a pile and he put them so they were all sitting up, one at a time, posing them so that they were looking at the class with their plastic eyes. “I like for the baby mannequins to look cute at all times,” he said to me later, “For the class. It’s important.”