Friday, May 13, 2005

Warning, Do not Eat Monitor

You know, there really are a lot of stupid people out there.

Let me start by defining stupidity. I’m not talking about people who ‘don’t know stuff’. Not everyone can recite the all the world’s capitals in alphabetical order or recite Pi to 10,000 decimal places. I’m talking about those people who wander through life in a daze, usually bumping into things, then suing people for it.

For example, if you can recite a speech from Shakespeare, people assume that you’re intelligent. Not so. All reciting Shakespeare proves is that you have a good memory (and a possible fetish for men in tights).

For contrast, I can recite the whole opening crawl from Starwars (It is a period of civil war, rebel starships…etc),

However, despite the fact that this proves I have exactly the same mental faculties as someone who can quote Shakespeare (Too familiar is my son with such sweet sorrow…), people don’t think reciting Starwars proves intelligence, they just think it proves I’ve seen Starwars too many times (and have a possible Wookie fetish…which I don’t, by the way).

No, I’m talking about the people who can appear intelligent, but are capable of such mind-searing acts of stupidity that you wonder how they have survived this far…and how they manage to chew gum and walk at the same time. You know, the ones with the same IQ as a starfish…and a starfish who is called ‘Thickie Starfish McThickie’ by all his friends

Of course, these people tend to make themselves known within 5 minutes of first meeting them, usually with a stupid question. Now I’ve heard the saying that there’s no such thing as a stupid question, but if you actually believe that, you’ve never met one of these people.

For example, someone once asked me where they could get more ink for their monitor. I of course asked them if they meant their printer. No, they said, the printer is fine, it’s the monitor that’s out of ink, and can they use printer ink for their monitor?.

It turned out he had accidentally put his brightness and contrast up so far that the screen was more or less white, with the characters on screen being a very light gray. He assumed this meant the ‘ink’ was running out. This was a person who, up to that point, seemed intelligent, but actually turned out to be as thick as a submarine door. Looking back, that was a missed opportunity, I should have ‘bought’ some monitor ink, and ‘installed’ it for them for a fee. A covert adjustment of their monitor every few months could have scored me a regular income.

These are the people we need protecting from. That is why I propose the ‘stupid’ law. Or, if you want to get technical, the “Being Bloody Stupid Act of 2005”.

I’m not proposing actually arresting people for being stupid, because let’s face it, other people’s stupidity is bloody funny, like when a certain family member asked if the construction workers had to wear scuba gear when they were building the Channel Tunnel.

No, I’m talking about a common sense law that stops people from profiting from their stupidity.

Let me tell you a story.

A man bought a brand new Winnebago (a Recreational Vehicle). Apparently it was the first time he’d ever owned a vehicle with cruise control. So he pulled on to a highway, set the cruise control…and went into the back to make himself a cup of coffee! Of course, the Winnebago careened off the road.

So what happened? In a sane world, he would have been arrested for public endangerment and made to pay for all the property he destroyed.

Unfortunately, this isn’t a sane world.

What actually happened was he received a nice cash settlement and a brand new Winnebago, because apparently the manual didn’t explain what cruise control was thoroughly enough.


Under my new law this man would’ve got nothing but a fine and possible prison time for ‘Being Bloody Stupid’.

Cases like this happen all the time. Like the woman who sued a restaurant because the coffee was hot and she burned herself. Think about that. The waiter didn’t accidentally pour hot coffee on her, she didn’t slip on a wet floor and hit the coffee machine. She just sat at a table, tried to drink the coffee, and somehow missed her mouth. Now if you or I owned a restaurant, would we be wrong to expect our customers to:

a) Know coffee is hot.
b) Have sufficient motor skills to drink a cup of coffee without pouring it in their lap?

Isn’t that already covered and understood by the time you reach 3 years old?

The news is a hotbed of things like these.

A student actually managed to sue a computer company because as he was using his laptop it heated up and gave him bad burns on his penis.

Now I own a laptop, and I know that they heat up with extended use. I’ve sat writing with my laptop on my lap, and it got hot but do you know what I did? When it got slightly uncomfortable I actually moved it!!!!!

What was this guy thinking!? How can a computer get so hot it can actually burn your giggle-stick without you noticing?!? How can you even contemplate missing it?!?!?

“Hmmm, my reproductive organs feel as if they may be a little bit on fire, and I think I can see smoke. What should I do? Ahhh, bugger it, I’ll do something after this game of solitaire.”

Let’s look on the bright side. At least this person may have removed himself from the gene pool.

These people are also the ones who are responsible for those warning labels you see on everything. These are the people who have forced manufacturers to spend billions per year working out every possible way for someone to hurt or kill themselves with their products and then writing specific instructions not to. Warning, electric hedge trimmer, do not put up nose. Warning Blender, do not put reproductive organs inside and turn on.

This has gone so far that warning labels now border on the surreal. The battery that came with digital camera came with the warning “Do not lick battery contacts or dampen contacts and bring into contact with body parts”. Who was it who did that?

Hmmm, I wonder how 12 volts will feel coursing through my testicles? Bzzzzt. Ah, intensely painful…let me call my lawyer.

The most surreal warning I ever saw was on a pack of ping-pong balls. It said “Warning, choking hazard, do not swallow.” That got me thinking. Who in the world is so hungry that they see a ping-pong ball as something to eat?

“Well, your honour, I asked the wife to pass me the antacids, and she accidentally passed me a pack of ping-pong balls. I thought they seemed a little big, but I thought they were just extra strength. I need a million dollars because I nearly choked.”

If I was that judge, I’d use my gavel to beat some sense into him.

My wife’s hairdryer came with 2 warnings on it…Do not use in shower and Do not use while sleeping.

Who the hell did that that?!? Everyone look for the obituary of someone who died of electrocution, and suffered from ‘sleep styling’.

However, the one that really made me shake my head and groan inwardly at the state of the human race was the warning on a stick of roll-on deodorant.

‘Do not use on eyes’.

Well that’s no good for me, my eyeballs sweat profusely! Many a date has gone sour because she got turned off by my smelly eyes!

I’m not lying here. I’m not saying this for a cheap laugh. These are real. They make me wonder what aliens would think of the human race if they were to read these things. They’d probably just drop a few million laser guns with a sign on the side saying ‘Warning, do not place next to temple and pull trigger.' Then just make contact with the people who didn’t put the gun to their heads and pull the trigger to see why.

It doesn’t even stop at warnings. There are the instructions to. These people are the reason we have to put up with all those mind-numbing instructions on such complicated devices as toothpicks. (The instructions on those say “Moisten pointed end in mouth, place in tooth space, use gentle in-out motion”) What kind of world do we live in where people need instructions for a toothpick?

I completely doubled up on my way to America when I was handed a packet of peanuts on the plane. On the side of the packet was written:

‘Directions – Open Packet. Eat nuts.’

…It’s a good job they told me, or I might have starved to death.

I’m also looking forward to the lawsuit over the instructions on shampoo bottles. “Wash, rinse, repeat.”

“I followed the instructions, your honour, I was in the shower for 3 days. I finally passed out through hunger and wasn’t discovered for a week. I need a million dollars for mental stress.”

Under my law, the Judge could point out that you need a brain to suffer from mental stress.

So these are the people we’re dealing with. These are the people who the courts throw money at for being dumb as a box of rocks. Can anyone see what’s wrong with this picture?

We’re actually rewarding these people. While you and I go to work every day, these people retire at 25 because they drank a bottle of bleach.

Support my new law. Under the ‘Being Bloody Stupid Act of 2005’, these people, rather than enjoying huge settlements, will be safely locked away in places where they can’t hurt themselves or others.

I have a dream, people.

I have a dream that one day, people can drive without having to worry about runaway Winnebagos. I have a dream that one day, people can buy a toaster without fear of an instruction manual warning them not to use it to heat bathwater. I have a dream that one day we can buy a pack of gum without instructions and illustrations of how to chew it, including the instruction to unwrap it first.

I have a dream, people, let’s make it a reality.

Warning: do not attempt to read this article while driving

Directions: Start at top of page, move eyes over words from left to right, one line at a time wile working your way down the page

Do not attempt to remove eyes from head, ‘move eyes over words’ means to look at words, not drag eyeballs across the screen.


serendipity said...

I've actually got tears running down my face after reading that! A deodorant that tells you not to use on eyes?? - the world has gone mad!!

Anonymous said...

hi paul jim here, you know the best one?
on a packet of peanuts "Warning may contain nuts"