Oh, you've seen them.
You take home your brand new purchase and, like any responsible consumer, you read the instructions and warnings before using. But that one warning is just so incredibly bizarre that you lose all focus and wonder what incident could possibly have caused the manufacturer to add that.
Apparently, there are human beings walking the Earth (and voting and parenting) who don't realize that coffee is too hot to splash on the crotch; that Odor Eaters are not to be eaten; or that ironing clothes that are on still on your body will only make you the most kempt patient in the Emergency Room.
But these labels got me thinking.
Wouldn't it be great if life came with little warnings along the way? Just a few hints that we could actually use to help us navigate around the rapids that we encounter as we paddle down the river of life.
Warnings like these (seen here in chronological order):
WARNING: Do not judge all edible items by this jar of strained peas. Food will get better as you get older. There are excellent reasons that there are no 5-star restaurants named Gerber's or Beech-Nut.
CAUTION: Potty-training is strongly recommended. Although it may seem simpler now, the changing of your diaper puts you in what you will soon discover is a very embarrassing position.
DANGER: Candy bars found in the sandbox may not be candy bars.
WARNING: “Because I said so” is adult talk for “I don't know why, but you'd just better do it.”
CAUTION: When pole is frozen, avoid contact with tongue. (See A Christmas Story for details.)
DANGER: People will only stand for a limited amount of “I know you are, but what am I?” before smacking occurs.
WARNING: Knowledge of math will be a necessity throughout your life; the capital of New Hampshire and the dates of Napoleon's reign, not so much.
CAUTION: “Puppy love” heartbreak can hurt just as much as big dog heartbreak.
DANGER: Jumping from high places to impress friends may result in nicknames with words like “crazy,” “stumpy” or “special” in them.
WARNING: Parents can devise punishments that your still-forming mind cannot begin to fathom.
CAUTION: No one will believe that the big kids made you drink beer and stay out past curfew.
DANGER: Stories that seem to be funny in the locker room may not seem to be funny at grandmom's birthday party.
WARNING: Objects of your affection may appear sweeter, smarter and more loving than they actually are.
CAUTION: The phrase “Give me your honest opinion” seldom calls for your honest opinion.
WARNING: Believing something does not make it true.
WARNING: Bad kids come from somewhere. Please check yours for shenanigans on a regular basis.
CAUTION: The job interview is not the preferred forum for airing your views on religion, politics or alien encounters.
WARNING: People can see you while you're driving. Eating, make-up application and nose-picking should be avoided during this activity.
WARNING: 96 percent of all toupees are noticeable.
CAUTION: Your stories of the old days may induce sluggishness in others.
DANGER: Demonstrations of former athletic prowess may result in humiliation, lost wagers and/or painful and expensive bone breaks.
And finally, this one is my father's favorite:
WARNING: Remember to be good to your children, because they will choose your nursing home.