I was looking at a pack of cigarettes the other day and noticed the warning label on the side: “This product causes cancer, heart disease, emphysema, and may complicate pregnancy.” This got me thinking about how our society is saturated with labels of this nature. Warning labels are everywhere. I opened a box from the store the other day and found the product inside wrapped in a plastic bag. On the bag was printed, “Not to be used as a crib liner.” On hairdryers there are labels that say, “Do not use in the bathtub.” It’s a wonder anyone born prior to 1960 survived childhood.
I admit I am torn on this issue. On the one hand I am annoyed by the constant chiding. I don’t like being told what to do. Also I’m not a big fan of handwringing, panty-waisted naysayers who shit their pants whenever they see someone having fun. “Don’t eat junk food,” they say, “don’t drink booze, don’t smoke, don’t take LSD, don’t drive 100 mph through a playground full of deaf kids!” Blah fucking blah.
On the other hand I completely recognize that the world is populated by idiots who would likely benefit from these warnings if they could read. We have to be able to say we tried, I suppose. We don’t want to get to the Judgment and have God (who wrote an entire book of warning labels) give the rest of us the omnipotent stink eye and condemn us to an eternity of constant confusion as payback.
With that in mind I think we should step up our efforts to protect the stupid and affix labels to everything. Even food generally considered healthy should come with helpful instructions for safe consumption. Carrot sticks should have a tiny message printed on them: “Sticking this object into your nasal cavity may cause discomfort and inhibit breathing.” Basic tools should be covered with warning stickers. For example, every nail should have a little tag that reads, “Pounding nails into your skull may cause severe pain, bewilderment, or even death.” Tall buildings should have signs posted in their lobbies that say, “Leaping from the top of this structure, while providing a brief euphoric sensation, may conclude in a sudden termination of existence. In other words, you will die, you stupid asshole.”
I know I sound like an arrogant bastard, but that simply means I’m expressing myself properly. I mean, it’s just that I feel like we’re only going halfway with all this. If we are going to have these little reminders of nanny statehood around, let’s make it entertaining. Otherwise, get rid of them all and let me take my chances.