We all know about the dangers of smoking. Texting while walking can be hazardous. Nobody likes a litterer. And only you can prevent forest fires.

But Maria Pestrikoff of Kodiak, Alaska, must not have paid attention to any of those cautionary messages ó an oversight she surely regrets after her recent near tragedy.

Ms. Pestrikoffís house is on a 60-foot rocky cliff overlooking the beach. On almost any day, thatís pretty wonderful.

But not on a recent day when she was texting on her cell phone and walking close to the edge of the cliff.

You think you know the story, but it gets worse. The reason she was so close to the edge was that she wanted to toss a cigarette butt to the rocks below. Thatís when she slipped on wet grass and plunged 60 feet, landing in the rocks between some boulders.

Her friend Anthony Burke heard her screams and called for help. Local fire departments used an aluminum ladder to reach her. Two firefighters rappelled down and brought her back up, just as the incoming tide reached her toes. She was flown to an Anchorage hospital where she is recovering.

Perhaps while there she can spend some time thinking about the bits of sage advice we sometimes choose to ignore. Perhaps she will become an ambassador for safety.

But if she is inspired to pass along the advice to spare others such an ordeal, she should first remind herself to sit still while sending out the cautionary text messages.