By Dee Jay Gordon
As my faithful readers know by now, I have a lot of peeves. And one of them is that just when I think I've found a "pet" peeve - the most annoying thing I can think of - a new one comes along. This bugs me because I tend to be a faithful person by nature and this switching of peeves goes against the grain of my personality. I'm trying to narrow it down, though, so eventually I'll have a true "pet" peeve. I think it's important.
The peeve of the month so far (because the month's not over yet), is "instructions on the obvious". You know what I'm talking about...the little paragraph on the back of your shampoo bottle that says, "Directions: Wet hair, apply shampoo, lather, rinse, repeat as needed." Like there's some idiot in the Universe who is too stupid to know how to wash his hair, yet he'll be able to read and decipher the instructions!
Another good one is the warning on my deodorant label that says, "If rash develops, discontinue use." No kidding? On the off chance that I should get the crazy impulse to eat my hair gel, the manufacturers remind me, "For external use only." The people who make my white-out were thoughtful enough to suggest that I not swallow their product, either.
I'm certain that the reason these warnings are issued is to avoid a potential lawsuit. If you can sue McDonald's and win because you burn yourself on their coffee, I'm sure you can sue the folks at Prell because you didn't wash your hair correctly and it resulted in the "greasies", which caused you significant emotional trauma. Stupid people are litigious people. They don't realize that you shouldn't inhale gas fumes. It never occurs to them that it's not in their best interest to let their children play with lighters. They think it's normal to ingest 200 aspirins in a sitting. They must be constantly reminded not to drink Jack Daniels while pregnant.
Notice, though, that the really difficult products in life don't come with an instruction label? My son bawled from the day he was born until he was 9 months old. I was a 19-year-old knothead who didn't know one end of the baby from the other and, unfortunately, my mother was half the continent away from me. How nice it would have been to have had a little sticker on his behind that said, "1. Nurse for 10 minutes. 2. Whack three times on back. Child will burp loudly. 3. Whack twice more. Child will burp loudly again. 4. Place in crib, face down. Child will then ralph on sheets. 5. Change sheets. Child will begin to cry loudly. Repeat steps 1 through 5 until you are completely insane." I was convinced that either my baby was a demon spawn, sent by my mother as payback, or the "Baby Care" books were written by cruel pranksters. But, hey! I still managed to wash my hair all by myself!
And the funniest part is that these people who need instructions to keep them from doing the Beer Barrel Polka on a live electrical wire can have all the kids they want, and do with them whatever they please. Does the McDonaldland burn victim have kids at home? If so, how did they ever survive with a parent who doesn't realize that coffee is hot? Bathtime must have been particularly traumatic!
WARNING: The column may cause drowsiness. Do not read while operating a motor vehicle. And chew your food before you swallow it.
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