Friday, August 13, 2004

THINGS YOU WON'T FIND ON PRODUCT LABELS

Or, "mostly harmless unless ingested, inhaled, or inflated."

Today, our lives are filled with all manner of gadgets, gizmos and convenience goods. They're usually shipped in a tamper-proof, blister-packed, shrink-wrapped state not to mention bagged, bottled, or boxed in order to guarantee our safety but rarely our sanity.

So, where are the instructions on how to open the blessed stuff without pulling one's hair out, throwing a temper tantrum while trying to assemble Humpty-Dumpty, or operating the cutting-edge widget without losing one's few remaining marbles or fingers?

Product manufacturers have tried to solve these vexing dilemmas by providing timely, relevant and easy-to-understand information to their perplexed customers. They do so to jolly along unsuspecting folk before the flipping thing either breaks down, or the universe collapses (whichever comes first).

That's why product labeling was invented. Labeling only works however when consumers want to read the bumpf, have the patience to wade through the hieroglyphics and, last but not least, feel compelled to follow the blinking instructions.

So, just to add confusion to the chaos already floating around in the universe (of all things great and small naturally), here are a few lovely lines you probably won't find on product labels any time soon.

-- Beware of killer dust-bunnies and one-eyed-one-horned-flying-purple-people eaters!

-- If all else fails, just call a Duct Tape guy to fix your mother-in-law's priceless Ming vase (now in a thousand pretty picayune porcelain pieces).

-- Pretend "it" never happened.

-- Built for life on Arkintoofle Minor* (or some other backwater part of the Galaxy).

-- Time-travelers such as seers, soothsayers and lost souls will love this frequent flyer carpet service.

-- This eat-and-run item is designed for prophets, poets, or philosophers who are completely incapable of coming up with a recipe let alone cooking for themselves.

-- Highly recommended for those who like to eat stuff off something while sitting on a rock and staring blankly into space before the game of life is over or the Trolls win.

-- This device comes with a wireless advice service. Dial 1-800-RU-CRAZY -- for help.

-- This product contains no sparkly ingredients of interest to TV shopping channel Bimbos.

-- Note: Our warranty does not cover "things that go bump in the night".

-- Please press #9 on your Personal Organizer Device (POD) keypad for the Mobile Twaddle Translation Service (MTTS) to decipher error message 514 generated by the All-Seeing-All-Knowing Windowless Operating System (ASAKWOS) pre-installed on your Personal Computer (PC) -- available from the Do-It-Depot (DID) for the unbelievably low price of (CAN) 81 cents a day, plus taxes (GST/PST) together with shipping and handling charges.

-- Our prestigious product line of rose-colored glasses comes highly recommended by short-sighted bean counters the world over.

-- Don't even ask (and avoid further aggravation).

-- Warning: Flatulators should operate this device up wind of any living organisms.

-- Besides working wonders on toilet bowls, removing rust spots on chrome car bumpers, and dissolving grease from clothing, this tasty beverage snaps, crackles and pops all by itself.

-- Should this product ooze, glop, or form a gooey mess, it's time to replace it.

-- This product is not recommended for those who cannot operate a toaster, make a sandwich, or hum quietly "Koombyah" by themselves.

-- If in doubt, just bury the whole thing.

-- The "Probability of Finding the Correct Key Wizard" is appropriate for dweebs, dingbats or dorks. Note: Ding-a-lings (a.k.a. those who can't find the "exit" key) should probably just hold onto their mouse ...maybe the Big Kahuna will take pity on them and answer their undeniably dumb questions.


__________

*The author is indebted to the late Douglas Adams for contributing this vital piece of galactic trivia found on page 1 of his fifth book (...in the increasingly inaccurately named Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy trilogy) entitled, Mostly Harmless, published in 1992 in London, England by William Heinemann Ltd.

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