Monday, October 24, 2011
I’m always curious about the assumed IQ’s of those who consume certain products. If the producers thought they were dealing with a target audience that had more common sense than say….Amelia Bedelia then they wouldn’t print such ludicrous instructions on packaging.
I just opened a container of Bonta Emilliane cheese gnocchi, flipped it over to find the cooking directions and laughed out loud reading “remove from package before consuming.” Really? I shouldn’t just aggressively sink my incisors into the thick plastic that encases the dumplings? Was this an actual problem in test markets? I can imagine the dialog.
“The product seems to be well received…so well in fact, that test groups are eating it… package and all. I guess we’d better address that in the instructions so the pygmy brains won’t sue us.”
A few years ago, when James and I flew back to Georgia from California I saw a large hand-written sign above a water fountain inside Enterprise Rent-A-Car. It read “turn water lever and THEN lean into stream of water.” I wonder if people were complaining to management that they weren’t getting any water at first so they had to place instructions reminding them to turn on the water before expecting to be refreshed. Details!!!
One of my favorite idiotic instructions was on a globe I bought for my son Andrew when he first became interested in geography. In small letters floating in the middle of the Indian Ocean read “not to be used as a navigational device.” Seeing that warning made me want to pretend I was lost and take the globe into a gas station somewhere along the interstate and ask the attendant to show me how to get to I-95. But he or she probably wouldn’t get it (as with most of my humor) and explain to me in a deadpan, bored voice that you can’t use a globe as a navigational device. “See it says that right here below Sri Lanka.”
I always love it when buying a new pair of shoes or a purse, to find those miniscule packets of silica gel. I’m not sure what silica gel is, but I’m almost positive that it has nothing to do with silk or ca. But in bold letters on both sides of the packet, read the words “SILICA GEL…DO NOT EAT.” Like I’m in the habit of eating mysterious foreign objects. “Hey what’s this? I’m not sure, but I think I’ll eat it and find out.”
The only people I know who put things in their mouths to learn about them are babies (and those with oral fetishes.)
Here are a few other absurd and comical warnings/instructions I found on rinkworks.com.
- This product not intended for use as a dental drill (on an electric rotary drill). A warning for those who don’t have dental insurance, but no lack of that good old DIY spirit that American was founded on.
- Do not drive with sun shield in place. (on a cardboard windshield shade). “Why can’t I see the road?”
- Do not feed to fish. (on a bottle of dog shampoo). Why just fish? Does that mean it’s okay to feed to wombats, terrapins, guinea pigs and falcons?
- Not intended for highway use. (on a wheelbarrow). I can understand this warning on a riding lawnmower or a golf cart, but who gets the gumption to push a wheelbarrow down I-5?
- Do not eat toner. (on a toner cartridge for a laser printer) I’ve been hungry before, but never THAT hungry. Is it okay to drink it? I don’t see a warning label telling me not to.
- May irritate eyes. (on a can of pepper spray) YA THINK??!?
- Warning….may contain nuts. (on a package of peanuts) It MAY Contain nuts? Are these people sure about anything?
- Do not use orally. (on a toilet bowl brush) Just stick with your toothbrush from now on.
- For use by trained personnel only. (on can of air freshener). And just what is the training program like to become a certified air freshener sprayer? Is it difficult? Can I get in?
- Caution! Remove infant before folding for storage. (On a portable stroller) That is…unless you want to fold your infant and store him in the closet with the stroller. Sounds quite convenient.
- Warning! This product moves when used. (on a Razor Scooter)
- May cause drowsiness. (on Nytol sleeping pills) Can someone really sue for being drowsy?
To laugh at more absolutely ridiculous warning and instruction labels, visit http://www.rinkworks.com/said/warnings.shtml or http://www.forbes.com/2011/02/23/dumbest-warning-labels-entrepreneurs-sales-marketing-warning-labels_slide.html.
Monday, October 10, 2011
My friend Savannah is extremely pregnant. 38 weeks to be exact. She’s at that stage where her belly enters the room a full 10 seconds before the rest of her. Savannah looks sort of like she swallowed the overly caffeinated planet Neptune with eight limbs and a penchant for martial arts. (I mean this in the most loving way possible. If they gave out awards for cute prego chicks, she’d win first place).
I was thoroughly entertained sitting across from Savannah and her husband Drew today, watching her mid section shift right then left, upward then southward on its own accord. On several occasions, I fully expected to see Baby Ava’s foot break through her mom’s stomach Jackie Chan style. I’m convinced that someone has secretly switched Savannah’s amniotic fluids with Folger’s crystals. That kid is off the chain.
As a person who’s carried two babies to term, I know what Savannah’s going through. She wants to have this baby. NOW. I remember distinctly that feeling of desperation. The 30 pounds I’d gained felt like 17 tons. I was tired, achy, short of breath, had acid reflux, cried at the least of offenses, could no longer fit into small spaces and needed to urinate every 90 seconds. The high point was having to be physically extracted from the restroom of a United Airlines 737.
Savannah is trying everything she can to induce labor naturally. She’s been walking, jogging, jumping up and down, stomping, eating spicy foods, praying, threatening and shaking her fist stomachward.
So, what can a girl who’s ready to pop to do to remove the 800 pound gorilla from her loins? Well, according to websites that collect data on the most effective ways to induce labor, there’s a vast agglomeration of exercises, spells, meditations and self torture that Savannah can try. Here are a few of the more outlandish methods.
1) Pineapple: According to smart, inventive and desperate researchers, pineapple contains an enzyme called Bromelain, which works like a prostaglandin, which softens a woman’s cervix (which happens to be constructed of steel, concrete and rebar). Okay, who writes the phrase “works like a prostaglandin?” Like we’re supposed to know how prostaglandins work, like I happen to have a prostaglandin lying around in my toolbox and upon reading this go “aha, it works like my trusty old prostaglandin.” I hope Bromelain doesn’t work too quickly or else you’ll be shopping at Walmart and suddenly drop a baby into the bottom of your cart.
2) Galloping: Playing horsey! According to two obviously Midwestern late third term pregnant chicks, galloping, as opposed to trotting, prancing or Tennessee walking, can cause your baby to spontaneously exit your womb and run away as fast as she can from the total embarrassment her mother is causing her. Don’t wait until they’re teenagers, go ahead and ruin your kids’ lives in utero.
3) Black and Blue Cohosh: Found only in the pantries of witches named Brunhilda and Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz, Cohosh, (not to be confused with Quahog, home of Peter Griffin) when combined with other unheard of, ridiculously named herbs such as Dong Quai, Squawvine and Butcher’s Broom (I’m not making this up), is very effective at inducing labor. The article points out that in addition to “bringing home baby,” Cohosh is notorious for causing infant heart attacks. I suppose if you’ve absolutely GOT to get that kid out of there and don’t consider congestive heart failure an inconvenience, then go for it. You’ll probably also let him play with loaded guns and drive his tricycle on the interstate.
4) Castor Oil: Widely known as a laxative used by people who’s only other option is to call RotoRooter, castor oil can make a person evacuate their bowels to the point of ridding themselves of everything inside their body cavities. ( think Flat Stanley). This method is used by women who’ve long given up on their cervixes opening and are now hoping to remove their baby out the backdoor via doing Number Two. The article I read emphasizes that castor oil tastes like a combination of Valvoline 10W30 and feces. So you may want to mix it up in a chocolate shake or chase it with antifreeze.
5) Visualization: Every website I’ve visited has suggested visualizing your cervix opening like a flower and if you think long and hard enough about this, your cervix will finally say “hey, I see what you’re doing, I guess I’ll go along with this charade and dilate.” I personally have never seen or spoken to my cervix and have no idea what kind of flower it’d resemble. But I’m betting against dandelions and spider lilies. If you’ve ever tried visualization, then you’ll know that it works about as well as the wand in your old Fisher Price magic kit.
I would list more methods, but the rest of them are just plain silly. Best of luck, Savannah. Maybe Ava’s just not done cooking yet.