Occasionally I take another step in my inevitable march toward geezerhood. You know that stage of life where you get grumpy and tell people how it used to be back in the good old days. One of the things that advances me more quickly to that stage is the attempt to make life risk free.
A group called the Michigan Law Suit Abuse Watch has an annual contest to find the stupidest product warning labels. The Wacky Warning Label Contest is in it’s eighth year and they have uncovered some beauties. They have an agenda of course. They want to point out how ridiculous and numerous lawsuits have forced product manufacturers to post warnings that are really just common sense. They don’t feel a manufacturer should have to be legally responsible for people lacking common sense.
But that hasn’t stopped the avalanche of unbelievable warning labels. Here are some winners from other years and then we reveal the current year’s crop. Remember, these warnings actually appeared on a product. The italicised comments are mine.
- A label on a baby stroller warns: Remove child before folding. This had to be a guy…now a single guy.
- A household iron warns users: “Never iron clothes while they are being worn” Major League pitcher John Smoltz allegedly burned his chest when he tried to touch up a shirt…while still in it! Again…a guy.
- A warning on an electric drill made for carpenters cautions: “This product not intended for use as a dental drill.” Let’s just pray this is just an imaginative lawyer. If you know differently please don’t tell me.
- The label on a bottle of drain cleaner warns: “If you do not understand, or cannot read, all directions, cautions and warnings, do not use this product.” If you cannot read then how in the…sigh…never mind.
- A warning on a pair of shin guards manufactured for bicyclists says: “Shin pads cannot protect any part of the body they do not cover.” The invisible force field feature was just not dependable.
- A can of self-defense pepper spray warns users: “May irritate eyes” Isn’t that the purpose of the product?
- A popular manufactured fireplace log warns: “Caution – Risk of Fire” Please see above.
Now if we could have drum-roll (warning: drumsticks are for use with percussion devices and should not be used to remove ear wax)….This year’s winners are…
Third place was the following warning on a digital thermometer that can be used to take a person’s temperature several different ways: “Once used rectally, the thermometer should not be used orally.”
The $250 second place award went to Matt Johnson of Naperville, Illinois for a label on a popular scooter for children that warns: “This product moves when used.”
And our Wackiest Warning Label for this year was found on a flushable toilet brush that warns users, “Do not use for personal hygiene”.
So as I go into my grumpy geezer mode I will point out that in my day if I folded the baby in the stroller I was just a moron and not a victim of bad instructions. If I sprayed a product designed specifically to irritate eyes into my eyes I would not be surprised to experience that discomfort. In my day we would have assumed a fireplace log had a risk of fire!
You can not post enough labels to remove the risk of life. I think one of the dangerous and maybe even deceitful things that Christians communicate is that coming to faith in Jesus will make your life trouble free. Perhaps we should have a label with every presentation of the gospel.
Caution – Jesus reports that “in this world you will have trouble”. (Read the small print in Mark and John)
Coming to faith does not remove the trouble from our lives. Jesus is not a money back guarantee for perfect health, unlimited prosperity, and non-stop giddiness. Trouble is a part of life. Problems refine or ruin us. That is where Jesus comes in.
I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world. The Message John 16
That is what I have discovered in my journey with Jesus. When life delivers the inevitable I can be assured, deeply at peace, and even unshakable. NBA star Alonzo Manning faced a career ending illness but his response was interesting. “Adversity introduces a man to himself.” I would suggest that adversity introduces a person to their faith. Does it stand up to the hard times? Real faith does. Jesus came to give us real life and to help us get through the risks that living life brings. Consider yourself warned.