Or, at the very least, our eyebrows and/or stomach lining.
However, at some point, that all changed. As far I can tell, it happened about the same time McDonald’s had to cough-up a McMillion dollars to the lady who didn’t realize that spilling hot coffee on yourself while behind the wheel of a car can lead to a condition commonly known as “The Open-Road Lap Dance.”
Taking a deeper look, that condition is really just an extension of the more common rule known as “cause and effect,” which states:
‘Cause I’m dumb enough to place hot coffee next to the most vulnerable spot on my entire body, I am, in effect, going to do something even dumber by spilling it there. Probably before I leave the drive-thru.
Though the woman claimed to be unfamiliar with either of these two concepts, she WAS familiar with the judicial system, and how her coffee mishap could lead to litigation and a new home in the Hamptons. That landmark decision opened the floodgates to a barrage of wrongful injury cases aimed at sending a clear message to American businesses:
We will buy your products.
We will use your products.
And, God willing, we will hurt ourselves with your products and retire early.
Because of this, manufacturers have been forced to hire consultants who do nothing but sit around trying to think up ways stupid people could hurt themselves. Recently, I was able to gain limited access to one of these brain-storming sessions (limited, of course, out of fear that I might hurt myself), and while I’m not at liberty to divulge the company’s identity, I can tell you that there are at least five ways a stupid person could fatally injure themselves with a bar of Irish Spring.
The reason for this post stems from an actual warning label my friend discovered yesterday on the handle of his son’s stroller:
Always remove child before folding.
First of all, I’d like to point out that this time-saving tip was NOT included anywhere in the instruction manual when my kids were in strollers. Had I known how much easier this makes things, I probably would’ve used it a lot more. Instead, after spending nearly an hour trying to pry my son loose from the grip of his $200 stroller, I simply stopped using it.
I’m kidding of course! I never, at any time, actually folded any of my children up in their stroller! Hahaha! Ok, just once, but not before obtaining their written consent (which, by the way, my attorney keeps on file.)
Driven by the spirit of investigative journalism, and while on our way to the kitchen for more beer, we discovered more examples of warning labels aimed at those who would otherwise be eliminated through the process of “natural selection.”
This first warning appeared on the bottom of a Band-Aids box:
For serious injuries please seek medical attention.
Good to know, at least until Band-Aid comes out with a super-absorbent “severed limb” selection, preferably in the less obvious “skin-color” tone that I can wear to work.
This next helpful tip was on a box of nails:
Warning: Do not swallow nails: May cause irritation
And that’s just on the way down. Imagine how irritable you’ll be during next morning’s bowel movement.
This final warning was on a can of primer:
Do not spray contents into face.
That’s right. If you seem to be going through a lot more paint than you expected, and your retinas are primer gray, try flipping the nozzle the opposite direction.
I hope this has been helpful.
If not, you can’t say you haven’t been warned…
(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation and is Editor-in-chief at Siuslaw News. He is the author of Humor at the Speed of Life and Pearls of Writing Wisdom: From 16 shucking years as a columnist. Both are available from Port Hole Publications, Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.)