America is the greatest melting pot on earth, welcoming people of all backgrounds and beliefs. It does not matter if you’re black or white, Christian or Jew, tall or short, young or old, wealthy or poor. And all of these groups have something in common: None of them has any shortage of idiots.
Based on my extensive research on the explosive growth of knuckleheads in our country, I’ve concluded that our great nation leads the world in idiots per capita. If you don’t believe we live in a nation of nitwits, how else can you explain some of the warning labels our manufacturers feel compelled to put on their products?
For example, there is actually a warning label on an iPod shuffle that reads, and I quote: “Do not eat iPod Shuffle.” (Honest to God.) I, for one, am so glad they added that warning because, I was just about to spread jam on mine and eat it with scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast.
In fairness, companies are only adding these product warning labels because they don’t want to get sued for millions in bogus liability lawsuits, as might happen if, say, a large gathering of people came together for an iPod Shuffle pot luck dinner party and failed to heed this important safety warning. God knows how many panicked trips to the emergency room this warning has helped to avoid over the last decade. I’m guessing zero (but I am just rounding).
The more research I’ve done on warning labels, the more I’ve become convinced that half the people in this country probably should not be allowed to use electrical appliances of any kind – or vote – or date my daughters. Here is a tiny sampling of actual warning labels for the American consumer (I swear I am not making any of this up):
On an iron: Caution: Do not iron while wearing article of clothing. I will remind my wife the next time she irons my dress shirt that she needs to do it in the nude – because I worry about her safety. (Why is my wife doing my ironing? That’s a blog for another day).
On a roof-mounted antenna set: Do not attempt to install if drunk or pregnant. Technically, it does not state not to install it if you are drunk AND pregnant. So, if you’re pregnant and thinking about climbing up on your roof to install a TV antenna, make sure you’re good and liquored up first. I think that’s the takeaway.
On a washing machine: Do not put kids or pets in this washer. Now that’s just plain sound advice. Why, just the other week, I did a load of whites, followed by a load of kittens and a schnauzer, followed by a load of colors. Thanks to this helpful warning, I won’t ever make that mistake again.
On a soft drink container: Drink, then swallow. Just as an experiment, I tried swallowing and then drinking. And I have to say, the manufacturer totally got the sequence right. Drinking before swallowing is a much more pleasant experience, and the Mountain Dew is far less likely to dribble down your chin and soil your T-shirt (which my wife will then have to wash and iron in the nude).
On a reflective cardboard sun shade for car dashboards: Do not drive with sun shield in place. Instead, might I suggest cutting two small holes into the sun shield at eye level so you can peer through it while minimizing sun glare. Alternatively you may opt to keep your sun shield in place and get leg extenders (or a few phone books) so you can safely peer out your sun roof while driving on the interstate.
On a carton of eggs: Warning: This carton may contain eggs. Mind you, it did not say this carton DOES contain eggs. Only that it MAY contain them. Maybe it contains 12 marshmallow chicks, or perhaps a dozen golf balls, or maybe even a dozen fortune cookies, dangerously high in gluten. So proceed with caution. You never know what might be inside that egg carton.
On a box of bobcat urine powder (intended to keep rodents like moles off your lawn): Not for human consumption. This is sound advice. Speaking for myself, sometimes, after a hard day of work, I get a hankering for bobcat urine powder. Have you ever tried it on top of a cheeseburger? But thanks to this valuable warning, I now know better. Perhaps something designed to kill moles is not good for my intestinal tract after all.
In the manual for a rotary drill tool: This product is not intended for use as a dental drill. Well, with the skyrocketing cost of dental care these days, who wouldn’t consider a little do-it-yourself root canal surgery? Good thing we now know that if you’re going to try to remove a cavity on your own, this is NOT the drill to do it with. Keep looking.
On the bottom of a ceramic cereal bowl: Always use this product with adult supervision. Thank God for this critically important warning. Maybe this will put an end once and for all to innocent toddlers drowning in 2 inches of Captain Crunch and milk. Breakfast is the most dangerous meal by far.
On a Superman costume at a costume rental store: Warning: This costume does not enable flight or super strength. If only my neighbor’s grandson Tony Garibaldi had read the tag on his Superman costume before attempting to break the world distance record for flight without a plane at the Delta Sigma Pi frat party, he might still be on the college track team today.
Clearly we are a nation of idiots. And it’s our right as Americans to be just that. After all, whose responsibility is it to make sure we don’t do something boneheadedly stupid? That’s right – the manufacturers’. Personal responsibility for our own safety went out of fashion around the time people started suing McDonald’s when they spilled hot coffee on themselves.
Well, that’s it for this week. It’s been a long day. I’m going to settle down for a long bath – just as soon as I can figure out where to plug in this toaster in my bathroom. I can’t wait to have some toasted iPod Shuffles with jam.
That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.
© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2015