Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Stupid Is, As Stupid Does

This morning while driving to work I was almost broadsided. Does anyone know what the little red upside down triangular traffic sign with the word “Yield” on it means?

Further along my extremely short journey to work I saw a pedestrian just about run over by the woman in front of me as they were strolling across the street while staring at the steady red, open-palm, facing them. Can someone tell me what that sign means? Now let’s not always see the same hands.

Is it my imagination, or is the world populated by idiots? Weren’t we all supposed to learn as children to read signs, look both ways before crossing the street, and oh yes, cross in a crosswalk and not 15 feet back up the street from the crosswalk. How many times have you seen people darting across a very busy street with a perfectly good crosswalk, and light-controlled intersection, just a few yards away?

As an added benefit at night, these walking fence posts dress all in dark colors, just in case there might be a chance of actually seeing them. I especially like the addition of bicycles so that it enhances their speed as they plunge across unlighted streets.

Here’s a little scenario that I see frequently as well. You’re driving down the freeway, cruising along on a nice sunny day, radio blasting out some soothing rock ‘n roll, you check your mirror, everything looks normal. Suddenly, you catch movement out of the corner of your eye in the same mirror you just checked and here comes some dip-zweeby on a motorcycle going 95 MPH wearing nothing but a pair of shorts and sandals, weaving in and out of the lanes like some Mario video game. Does anyone else wonder why motorcycle riders die easier then those of us in cars?

When I was living in Colorado, I was stunned to learn that when a left-turn light turns red, that means that at least six more cars can proceed to turn left in front of the on-coming traffic. People talk about the driving in California, but in Colorado they tend to mix a little dangerous in with their fast. All the sand on the streets during the winter just adds a touch of excitement as you glide around corners like you’re driving on marbles.

Have you ever looked at warnings on various items and wondered why they sounded so dumb? The reason that warning is there is that some grey-matter lacking gonzo tried to do what they are warning you about. Here are just a few examples.

"Caution: The contents of this bottle should not be fed to fish." -- On a bottle of shampoo for dogs.

"For external use only!" -- On a curling iron.

"Warning: This product can burn eyes." -- On a curling iron.

"Do not use in shower." -- On a hair dryer.

"Do not use while sleeping." -- On a hair dryer.

"Do not drive with sunshield in place." -- On a cardboard sunshield that keeps the sun off the dashboard.

"Do not eat toner." -- On a toner cartridge for a laser printer.

"Do not use for drying pets." -- In the manual for a microwave oven.

"Do not use as ear plugs." -- On a package of silly putty.

"Warning: has been found to cause cancer in laboratory mice." -- On a box of rat poison.

"Caution: Remove infant before folding for storage." -- On a portable stroller.

"Do not iron clothes on body." -- On packaging for a Rowenta iron.

"Wearing of this garment does not enable you to fly." -- On a child sized Superman costume.

"Not for human consumption." -- On a package of dice.

"Do not dangle the mouse by its cable or throw the mouse at co-workers." -- From a manual for an SGI computer.

"This product not intended for use as a dental drill." -- On an electric rotary tool.

Well I think you get the basic idea. People are so sue happy these days that anytime some ninny does something completely unexpected, and for what the product was never intended, the manufacturer must then warn others to not attempt the same maneuver.

Personally, I say don’t warn these folks. Let’s get them out of the gene pool so that they don’t continue to breed. Sometimes it seems that attempting to save the cerebrally-challenged among us can only lead to further generations of people who just might use a garden hose internally.

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