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Warning: This column may cause laughter in people with I.Q.s higher than a parakeet. The surgeon general has determined that excessive laughing may cause susceptible individuals to fall off chairs and break ribs.

Rowenta irons caution you, ”Do not iron clothes on body.”

Tide boxes remind you that their product makes poor cuisine.

Sainsbury’s peanuts carry the stern notice, ”Warning: May contain nuts.”

How did we ever get to the point where utter nonsense is not only allowed, but required? I marvel in dismay at the billions of dollars wasted on whole pages of fine print required in medicine ads that nobody reads. My eyes cross as I read labels apparently required by judges who cannot understand that persons who have learned to read do not need to be subjected to such semantic bilge as:

”May irritate eyes” (found on a can of self-defense pepper spray).

”Do not use orally” (on a toilet bowl cleaning brush).

”Not intended for use as a dental drill” (on an electric rotary drill).

”Wearing of this garment does not enable you to fly” (on a Superman costume).

”Remember, objects in the mirror are actually behind you” (on a helmet-mounted rear view mirror for motorcyclists).

”Warning! This is not underwear! Do not attempt to put in pants.” (on packaging for a wristwatch, yes, a wristwatch).

You may wish to take a short break here. I suggest you take some deep breaths and walk outside to check the sky. If it’s blue, you’re still on planet Earth. But if you read the rest of this agglomeration of fasciculated insanity, you may never quite feel at home again.

Swann frozen dinners once proclaimed, ”Serving suggestion: Defrost.”

Hotel shower cap boxes still offer the no-nonsense announcement, ”Fits one head.” (Well, there go my fantasies about a big group shower).

A Swedish chain saw label gives this handy tip: ”Do not attempt to stop chain with your hands.”

Boot’s Children’s Cough Medicine offers the familiar-sounding reminder, ”Do not drive car or operate machinery.”

And this bit of brilliance is from the geniuses at Tesco’s Tiramisu Desserts: ”Do not turn upside down.” As you might guess, they printed this on the bottom of the box.

A Korean firm in dire need of a proofreader gives this precaution for its butcher knives: ”Warning : Keep out of children.”

Bottles of Nytol once warned, ”May cause drowsiness.”

The manufacturer of a TV remote control gives this notice with a straight face: ”Not Dishwasher Safe.” Moral: Teach your two-year-old how to read. Soon.

A package of bread pudding counseled, ”Product will be hot after heating.”

Somewhere in a parallel universe there must be consumers who have somehow learned to read yet remain incapable of intellectual functions higher than digesting donuts. I once had a beagle of medium intelligence, and she would not have needed any of the above warnings except maybe for the food label advice. She seldom stopped to read about any food before eating it.

At the risk of copyright infringement from my trusted sources (Ann Landers, The Washington Post, and rinkworks.com), plus certain risks to my readers’ grasp on reality, I shall wind down with these final insults to the intelligence of the human race …

”Eating rocks may lead to broken teeth” (on Popcorn Rock, a novelty rock garden set).

”May contain small parts” (on a frisbee). That explains why the darned things won’t fly straight for me. I never found those teeny control buttons.

”Do not use the heat gun as a hair dryer” (on a gizmo that blows air heated to 1,000 degrees).

”Do not place this product into any electronic equipment” (on a gift basket holding a chocolate CD).

”Shin pads cannot protect any part of the body they do not cover” (on shin guards for bicyclists).

”Do not eat toner” (on a cartridge for a laser printer).

”Not intended for highway use” (on a 13-inch wheel … on a wheelbarrow).

”Do not use if you have prostate problems” (on a box of Midol PMS tablets).

My response to all this? I feel like hunting down the extra-terrestrial beings who have invaded our court system in the disguise of judges … and getting rid of them in whatever fashion may be the most expedient. Of course, I might have to ignore the sage advice stamped on the barrel of some .22 caliber rifles: ”Warning: Misuse may cause injury or death.”

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