The Instructions of Life

Signs, labels, instructions. Everywhere you look, there are signs of some description, telling you what you can and cannot do. They are on the streets telling us where we can and cannot park, and for how long, when to stop and give way and the speed limit, although for some people these are just suggestions.

They are on our food. Warnings about the contents, directions on how to cook. They are on our clothes telling us how to clean them. And they are in booklets instructions of how to put something together or how to use something that you have just bought.

And anyone who has tried to put a flat pack object together knows it’s less stress to just pay someone to do it. It seems like a good idea at the time. Get it, put it together, it’s quick and easy…Not.

First you have to make sure that you have all the parts and haven’t lost any. The you have to translate the instructions from English into some sort of intelligible English. Sometimes you have to reverse the instructions given, in order to complete the task. And then you have to allow way more time than you think because it will take longer than what is said in the instructions. Yep, way easier to get someone else to do it.

And the Do’s and Dont’s in instruction booklets and on clothes. The thing is when warnings are given, when the instruction booklet says ‘Don’t’ that is because someone, somewhere has, in all probability, done exactly that and probably been hurt in the process. And so the manufacturer has included it in the warnings.

But some of the instructions leave me shaking my head. I read it and then read it again because I’m sure I’ve misread it. But no what I’ve read is correct. I get that we need warnings and some of it is or should be common-sense.

People should know that water and electricity don’t mix so don’t spill liquids on to the power board. But there are some things where you just say to yourself – Really, who would do that? And then you realise that someone, somewhere, must have, because some of the instructions are so bizarre.

Take the warning on a baby’s jumpsuit. Take baby out of clothing before washing…. Who would not take the baby out of the jumpsuit, or any form of clothing, before throwing the clothes in to be washed. I would’ve thought that was common-sense but apparently not.

At a holiday home one of the instructions said…. Do not encourage the chickens. Anyone else have a visual of people giving the chickens a pep talk, some motivation so they don’t get too depressed. No… no one else sees chickens with self confidence issuesit must be just me.

Another said… The owners take no responsibility for the disruption of the holiday caused by flora and fauna. I get the fauna especially in Australia, our wildlife will try to kill you. That look of cuteness is just a ruse. But the flora.. short of walking through a field of stinging nettles or to close to a rose bush, what can a flower do. It’s not like it’s going to invade your cabin.

But how about the instructions found

On an iron…Do not iron clothes on body.

On superman costume…Wearing of this garment does not enable you to fly.

On a chain saw…Do not attempt to stop chain with your hands or genitals…and I’m leaving that one well alone, but really, who? what? really!!

In a microwave manual…Do not dry pet in microwave.

On a toilet brush…do not use orally. Ok, who tried to do that. Is your mouth really that big?

On a blow torch…Not used for drying hair

The list goes on and on and on. There are so many that I have to wonder have humans really become that stupid. Whatever happened to common-sense? I have no idea but apparently we need to be protected against our own stupidity.


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