In response to my columns on labels for idiots (Sept. 12 and Sept. 19), some readers chimed in with their own favorites:

“Now that I’ve regained my composure and caught my breath, I would like to share with you one of my favorite labels. I work in a restaurant here in Lynchburg, and we get eggs by the case; but the instructions for opening the case are printed on the inside flap. Yes, the inside flap, where you cannot read them until after the case is opened.”

William T. Biskup

Hey, William, if some of those eggs hatch during shipment, how are the chicks going to get out if there aren’t any instructions?

“Tonight I used a new cake pan my daughter bought for me, and it has a plastic lid for storage after the cake is baked. You guessed it … the label says not to bake a cake with the plastic lid on! I don’t even want to share my air with people that dumb!”

Linda Knick

Not only do you share their air, Linda, you share their congressmen.

“Several years back I installed a direct vent natural gas heater in our home. The warnings in the instructions were ridiculous. Since none of us can read anymore, they resorted to those cartoon-like drawings to show all the things not to do. The best was the one showing the heater being vented into another room inside the house – complete with people choking on the fumes! I remember showing my wife those instructions while rolling on the ground laughing.”

Greg Solands

Uh, Greg, are you sure there wasn’t some laughing gas in that heater?

“My favorite is the little picture of a necktie in a circle with a slash over it stamped on top of my cheap paper shredder.”

Leslie Hutton

I’m with you, Leslie … but why am I getting a mental image of some guy in a necktie, holding the plugged-in shredder as he bends down and squints at the little picture to figure it out?

“Am writing this from the ER. I read your article while trying to eat rocks and blow-dry my polished toenails with a propane torch while sticking my hand down the garbage disposal. All jokes aside, I worked in a hospital for a number of years, and you would be surprised at what idiots who should be recipients of the Darwin Award will do. My favorite was a woman who brought her infant to the pharmacy, complaining that the child suffered from rectal bleeding. The pharmacist asked what she had been doing with the suppositories he had given her for the infant’s fever. She had been using them, but had not removed the aluminum foil wrapping.”


Thanks, Paul. These stories always make me feel so superior.

Now I’ve dug up 10 more myself this week. Can you stand another barrage?

On the label of a bottled drink: Twist top off with hands. Throw top away. Do not put top in mouth. (But if you’re really that hungry, then please chew thoroughly before swallowing.)

On a credit card statement: Payment is due by the due date. (Demanding little twerps, aren’t they? Let’s sue them for harassment.)

On an air conditioner: Caution: Avoid dropping air conditioners out of windows. (Aw, shucks. It’s always such fun watching them fall from the 40th floor.)

Recycled Flush Water Unsafe for Drinking – sign on a toilet at a public sports facility in Ann Arbor, Mich. (Let’s see, isn’t that where they have some famous university?)

On a birthday card for a 1-year-old: Not suitable for children age 36 months or less. (Unless the little tyke is a reallly precocious reader.)

Notice on the bottom side of a Tesco Fruit Juice carton: Keep Upright. (woopsie-daisy)

On Champion Swimmer jock straps: This product is only to be prescribed by a physician and fit only by a trained technician. (Forget it. Those things always get readjusted by locker room jock-snappers anyway.)

A notice seen on various computers: Keyboard not detected. Press F1 to continue. (And keep pressing … and pressing …)

On a European camera: This camera will only work when film is inside. (Oh, darn. There’s always something.)

And finally, a label on a Japanese food processor wins the prize for no-nonsense comprehensiveness: Not to Be Used for Anything Else.

Sorry, faithful reader. I promise to find something serious for you next week. I only write on these loopy topics to keep from going crazy in this bizarre world.

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