HYPOTHESIS: Our society has gone from the sublime to the ridiculous.
I overheard a mother, child in tow, at a department store restroom,
“Now, Brenda, only ONE paper towel to dry your hands, honey. Remember—we want to save the trees!”
I mentally rolled my eyes and shook my head.
Global warming. Think green. Buy green. Save the planet. Save the animals. Sue the restaurants for making us fat. Sue the doctors for being human. Sue the teachers for not giving our children A’s. Sue our neighbors for disturbing us with their barking dogs. Sue the toy manufacturer for producing a toy that your child destroyed with a hammer. Sue the television station for a wrong weather forecast. Sue! Sue! Sue! What’s next—suing God?!
If you really want to get a laugh (or permanently lifted eyebrows), start reading the warning labels on common household products:
Brass fishing lure with 3-pronged hook: HARMFUL IF SWALLOWED.
Electric blender: NEVER REMOVE FOOD FROM BLADES WHILE PRODUCT IS OPERATING.
Dishwasher: DO NOT ALLOW CHILDREN TO PLAY IN APPLIANCE.
Vacuum cleaner: DO NOT USE TO PICK UP ANYTHING THAT IS BURNING.
Self-defense pepper spray: MAY IRRITATE EYES.
Hotel shower cap: FITS ONE HEAD.
Dessert fruit cup (on bottom end of container): DO NOT TURN UPSIDE DOWN.
Children’s cough syrup: DO NOT DRIVE CAR OR OPERATE MACHINERY WHILE TAKING THIS MEDICATION.
Cyclist helmet-mounted mirror: OBJECTS IN MIRROR ARE ACTUALLY BEHIND YOU.
Windshield sun shade: DO NOT DRIVE WITH SUN SHIELD IN PLACE.
Hand-held massager: DO NOT USE WHILE SLEEPING OR UNCONSCIOUS.
Rat poison: HAS BEEN FOUND TO CAUSE CANCER IN LABORATORY MICE.
Portable stroller: REMOVE INFANT BEFORE FOLDING FOR STORAGE.
6 x 10 Inflatable photo frame: NOT TO BE USED AS PERSONAL FLOTATION DEVICE.
Foaming face wash: MAY CONTAIN FOAM.
Dremel Electric Rotary Tool: NOT INTENDED FOR USE AS A DENTAL DRILL.
Hair Coloring: DO NOT USE AS AN ICE CREAM TOPPING.
Sleeping pills: MAY CAUSE DROWSINESS.
Christmas Lights: FOR INDOOR OR OUTDOOR USE ONLY.
Rain Gauge: SUITABLE FOR OUTDOOR USE.
T.V. remote control: NOT DISHWASHER SAFE.
Pine Mountain Fire Logs: CAUTION—RISK OF FIRE.
Electric Hair Dryer: DO NOT USE WHILE SLEEPING.
Iron: NEVER IRON CLOTHES WHILE ON THE BODY.
Ice Slushies: THIS ICE MAY BE COLD.
Easy cheese: FOR BEST RESULTS, REMOVE CAP.
Hershey’s almond bar: WARNING—MAY CONTAIN TRACES OF NUTS.
Chainsaw: DO NOT ATTEMPT TO STOP CHAIN WITH HANDS.
Some of these warnings parents drill into their young children’s heads (WARNING: PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS LITERALLY, AS IT MAY RESULT IN CHILD’S DEATH), not because they haven’t learned how to read the labels yet, but because they need to be educated in the school of parental guidance. But anyone capable of reading already knows this stuff. SO, why spend millions of dollars producing this nonsense, wasting paper (that kills trees, you know), and ink (yikes! Save the flowers and berries!) and material (Rescue the lambs and goats!)? Because some moron (don’t sue me for defamation of character) somewhere in the world has done something idiotic and filed a suit—the same person who is allowed to vote and bear firearms!
I picture thousands of employees whose sole purpose in life is to dream up these warning labels and signs and I realize that people have too much time on their hands. So many things are blown out of proportion. Like, let’s save energy by buying curly florescent light bulbs, but remember that if they break, they are hazardous to our health and must be disposed of by a professional because they contain mercury. I hesitate to disclose the time a thermometer broke during my childhood and my brothers and I scooped up the illusive slippery matter with our fingers. Hey, and we’re all still in good health fifty years hence! Granted, we didn’t drink the stuff (even though there was no warning on its box not to), but, come on people, if you’re nervous about it, wear plastic gloves.
And, before anyone sues me for insensitivity, I will admit that some laws that save lives are good ones: safety belts and motorcycle helmets for example (although if the aforementioned moron was not allowed to drive, those laws could be eliminated).
I will confess that I cut off the “DO NOT REMOVE UNDER PENALTY OF LAW” tags on pillows that scratch my sensitive skin and make an irritating scrunching sound, but have never been arrested or jailed.
Maybe I should have sued the manufacturer for disturbed sleep instead.
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