Saturday, April 20, 2013

Ridiculous Labels

Yesterday, while I had the dogs outside for stretch, one of them rolled over on the driveway and writhed around in an effort to scratch his back. I reached to scratch his belly for him too and noticed the letter N in the form of a tattoo near the sheath of his penis. The county shelter put this tattoo on him as an indicator that he was neutered. It was a good thing that they did this too.  No one would ever have noticed that just an inch from the tattoo, his scrotum was shrunken to nothingness for lack of testicles.

Cups containing hot drinks have warnings on them to indicate that one might be scalded by the contents. Personally, I think that when you are handed a cup of hot coffee at a drive-thru window that you should be given a verbal warning also.

Think about it. Nobody makes a habit of reading their coffee cup. Even if you were handed the morning newspaper at a drive-thru window, you’re not going to read it right there.

Sooner or later, somebody is going to dance the scalded privates mamba immediately after leaving a drive-thru because they set the cup between their legs. Then an overly zealous ambulance chasing lawyer is going to try to bring another civil suit against the restaurant like was done to cause the printed labels on hot cups in the first place. Drive-thru restaurants need to be a little more proactive.

Back during my first memories of my father smoking they didn't have warning labels on cigarette packaging. I don’t think that practice started until I was a teenager. However, I didn't need a warning label to know that smoking was not a good thing to do. My father told me over and over and over while he carried on his four packs per day habit that I should never smoke.

If that wasn't enough to convince me then witnessing my father suffering the effects of smoking in his mid to late thirties should have been. I remember seeing him totally incapacitated for a few minutes at a time while he coughed his lungs inside out in an involuntary effort to rid his chest of the foreign matter from cigarette smoking.

Witnessing my father’s experience wasn't enough to deter me from the first time that I took a drag off of a cigarette as a teenager and actually inhaled. I coughed and became dizzy but that didn't stop me either. It was just lucky for me that the federal government, in all of their dubious wisdom, had mandated a label to be placed on cigarette packages to tell me that smoking might be harmful to my health. That was it! I had to quit and right now! Uh huh! Right!

I should mention that my father succumbed to lung cancer at the ripe age of 41 years. The turning point that convinced me to give up tobacco came when I was a father myself. My three-year-old was sitting on my lap while I was reading to him.

Next thing that I knew, he picked up my cigarette pack and read the newest federally mandated label. The new label made it unquestionably clear that the US Surgeon general knew, for a fact, that cigarettes caused mortal diseases. He took my cigarettes, climbed down from my lap and put them in the trash.

Actually, I fired up a cigarette and smoke got into his eyes. With that, his story reading was over. He climbed down from my lap. That was a more powerful motivation to me than all of the things that should have stopped me from ever smoking as a habit. I haven’t smoked cigarettes since then.

Here is another label that was mandated for alcoholic beverages by our federal government in 1989.
GOVERNMENT WARNING: (1) According to the Surgeon general, women should not drink alcoholic beverages during pregnancy because of the risk of birth defects. (2) Consumption of alcoholic beverages impairs your ability to drive a car or operate machinery, and may cause health problems. 
I have never been a mother and it’s not likely that I ever will be as I’m well beyond the child-bearing age. However, I have to believe that if any caring woman even remotely has the possibility of becoming pregnant (IE: She is diddling around with the opposite gender without aid of contraceptives.), then she shouldn't need a written warning if she has ever experienced an alcohol buzz or hangover in her life.

That second warning has some merit in content but needs an effective delivery. Have you ever tried to tell a drunk that he’s too drunk to drive? Good luck with that. Now what makes you think that he’s going heed the warning on a beer can label.

Besides that, he might have been drinking draft beer and they don’t put these labels on beer mugs. Leave that to congress, though. Sooner or later, they’ll pass a law. Last, if a guy is too drunk to drive then he’s probably also too drunk to read the warning labels.

Somehow I just can’t visualize a drunk, with his glasses cockeyed on his face and unable find the car keys in his hand, reading the warning label of the beer that he just finished for the road. What do expect him to do next? He’s not going to say, “Oh goodness! I’m glad for that reminder. I’d better call a cab since I’m intoxicated.”

If we’re going to be label stupid then we have a lot of other places that warning labels should be. Take a step or curb, for example. The curb or step might be painted yellow but shouldn't it also have written warning. CAUTION: Failure to safely negotiate this curb could result in you getting a busted ass.

What about the blind guy in a Hov-a-round? There should motion activated verbal warnings for them when they come to curb. CAUTION: You are approaching a curb that will put you on your nose with that Hov-a-round. Please re-evaluate your route and use the ramp for access between the sidewalk and parking lot.

You know, when you think about it, did you ever wonder why they Braille buttons on the drive-up ATM machines? They all have them. You have to wonder. Imagine getting rear-ended by a guy wearing dark glasses. His only excuse for hitting you is because he couldn't see.

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