WARNING! Reading Ahead!

When did it happen I wonder?  Was it the first time someone sued another person over something frivolous?  Or was it perhaps the thousandth time?   When did we feel the need to have a sign for everything?  Something to cover every possible scenario.  I remember these buckets we used to use years ago, they had stickers on them.  What  pray tell did those stickers say?  Why they warned you not to put babies in the buckets, of course.  What with the fact the babies could drowned if the bucket were filled with liquid.   I wonder if that ever saved a baby’s life?  I wonder if anyone was ever in the midst of setting their baby in one of those buckets, when some passerby saw that sticker and shouted out, “Hey! You can’t put that baby in that bucket! Didn’t you read the sign?”. Do we need someone to tell us not to put our babies in buckets? What does it say about us if we do? Whatever it is, I feel confident in saying it can’t be good.

They are on everything now, those little legal disclaimers saying that you shouldn’t use their product for something that it obviously wasn’t meant to be used for.  Things like toilet brushes with stickers that say, “Do not use for personal hygiene”, scooters that say “this product moves when in use”, really?  You needed to tell everyone that?  I mean I saw the wheels on it…….and I’ve seen people use them before, but I thought they were just using it wrong or something.  If ever there was a necessary warning it was this one, “Once used rectally, the thermometer should not be used orally”.  Surely that saved somebody from an unpleasant experience with their thermometer, right?

Of course, some of these disclaimers aren’t for things that you shouldn’t use their product for, they are just to inform you of something you may not know about it.  Like, did you know that when you buy a container of peanuts that it may in fact contain traces of peanuts?  Whew, that was close.  Everyone has seen the coffee cups that say that the coffee in the cup may be hot.  To which I would say, I hope so.  I wonder how long before someone sues them for their coffee not being hot?

Driving home the other day I noticed something.  There were road signs everywhere, which is fairly common I suppose but, I live in the country not the city.  The main street consists of a bank, a library, a hair salon, a post office and a couple variety stores, one of which is a variety/liquor/beer store all in one.  You don’t find that in the city, at least not around here.  So there I was about 5 minutes outside of our bustling downtown and there were signs as far as the eye could see.  In a span of about a minute, I passed what must have been 50 signs along the side of the road.  Things like no parking, no stopping, intersection ahead, which lets face it, if you can’t pay enough attention to notice the intersection coming up you probably aren’t going to notice a little sign.  Hidden driveway, the speed limit, no passing, overhead wires, slippery when wet.  Whoa!  Stop right there.  “Slippery When Wet”,  Really?  I think it would make more sense to have a sign for everything that isn’t slippery when wet than it does to have a sign to tell you that something is slippery when wet.  Don’t you?

It’s not enough to have a stop sign anymore.  Now you must have a sign to tell you that there is going to be a stop sign ahead.  The same goes for Yield signs and stop lights.  How about the “Pass With Care” sign?  Is there any other way to pass?  If you are on a road that doesn’t have one of those signs, does that mean they’re saying you can pass without a care in the world?  Once you start down the slippery slope of warning and explaining everything, where does it end?  Frankly it wouldn’t surprise me if there was a “Traffic Signs Ahead” sign out there somewhere.  Let me know if you’ve seen it, I’m sure it’s just a matter of time.

I’m sure a t some point, probably a very long time ago, signs were there to help people, to make things easier. I’m pretty certain that’s no longer the case for most of them now though. Now they seem to be around for the sole purpose of protecting the people who put the signs up. Signs have become legal protection more than anything and someone needs to put a stop to it before it goes too far. Assuming of course that it hasn’t gone too far already.

[WARNING AHEAD] It’s not just that all of these signs are ridiculous and obviously overkill.  They also [WARNING! FAKE WORD AHEAD] uglify our roads.  You aren’t driving down the street looking at the trees, enjoying the fields and beautiful homes along the way.  You’re looking at road signs, billboards advertising cheep beer and fold up signs telling you about new homes for sale.  Maybe it bothers me more than most because I’m a wee bit addicted to reading.  When I drive I tend to read, or at least scan everything from street names, to billboards, to advertisements.  I can’t help myself I guess, I blame ADD……..somebody needs to do it.  Lord help me when I drive in Toronto on the Gardner Expressway and they have, shudder, huge digital advertisements with constantly changing content, every time I finish reading it the sign changes and I have to look back at it and start all over again.  Frankly it’s a little dangerous and it’s getting more dangerous all the time.  I can’t help but laugh when I see those highway signs telling you to “Drive now, talk later”.  What about drive now, read later?  All this time I spend reading signs is time that I’m not spending looking where I’m going, which worries me a little.  It’s a good thing I tend to focus a lot when I drive.  Don’t try having a conversation with me because all you’re going to get is a stream of “ahaaa…….yep……..oh yeah……no way”, and more than likely I won’t have any idea what you’re talking about either.  It’s safer that way.

I’m this way not only when I drive though, I’ve probably read everything that’s written on every item in my house.  I mean, do I need to know the ingredients in my toothpaste, or shampoo?  Do I really care?  No I don’t, but then again if I don’t read them I might not know that to prevent swallowing you should use a pea-sized amount.  Or that you aren’t supposed to put your toothpaste in your eyes.  Then where would I be?  I’ll tell you, I’d probably be blind and then I wouldn’t be able to read and who knows what signs I’d miss then.  Yet oddly, when it comes to instructions for things, I rarely read them unless it’s instructions on how to put something together.  Now I’ll admit I probably read more of the instructions than most men, I did say I like to read after all.  But I mean, what’s more important, reading the instructions for how to use your oven or reading how many times you’re supposed to rinse and repeat?

Oh, I almost forgot.  I was driving today and I looked out to my right and running just off the shoulder of the road were a couple of deer.  They were running the opposite direction I was driving so I only got to see them for a minute but, obviously they could see that there was no “Deer Crossing” sign because they stayed on that side of the road.  I wonder how far they had to run before they found a spot they were allowed to cross?

The only sign I’d be happy to see at this point is the one that says, “No Signs Ahead”, but what are the odds of seeing that?


8 thoughts on “WARNING! Reading Ahead!

  1. Funny, funny, sad, funny, true, sad, funny…..Just my kind of post, my lad.

    The only sign I like to see is “Beer and Burgers Ahead.” 8)

    Great Job, JM!!!

  2. Aaaahhh….great post. Yeah, I think I am so used to seeing signs that it never even dawned on me, but you’re right! I actually hate the new billboards we have here that are electronic and change every 30 seconds or so telling you which new movie is coming out, then what TV show is on tonight that you MUST see and then some advertistement for some legal office — it’s so distracting and you find yourself waiting for the next AD to come up — how ARE YOU SUPPOSED to watch the road when there’s basically a TV infront of you?

    No MORE signs!

  3. I can’t get that picture out of my head – the one accident that happened right before some manufacturer decided that they needed to put the warning “don’t put the baby in the bucket”. Some enterprising mother (or dad) decided it would be fun to carry junior in that model of bucket. Only to have the kid flip out and onto the ground. Or to have the handle disconnect.

    So a can of nuts “may contain nuts” huh? Makes you wonder what else it “may” contain. And did you know that it’s legal for fast food chains to put the notice “100 % beef” on their hamburger wrappings, but it doesn’t necessarily means it *only* contains beef right? It just means what beef is there is 100%. Some signs are meaningless and redundant, while others are purely legal protection notices, hiding some pretty nefarious stuff.

    1. I hadn’t heard the “100%” beef one before, although that doesn’t surprise me. It’s kind of like gum, “Sugarless” gum doesn’t mean it doesn’t have sugar, it just means it has less sugar than some other gum.

  4. Ya, that stretch of ‘televised’ ADS along the Gardner is a nightmare in reality for ADD people. We should all get together and file a class action suit! LOL

    Good post. Made me chuckle on a rainy Monday morning.

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