I have been hearing warnings my whole life. Not a day goes by when I dont hear some cautionary statement. When I was younger they were things like 'dont touch that..... it's hot' and 'look both ways before crossing the road'. All very helpful. They made sense. They still do.
As I got older and progressed into teenage/young adult-hood the warnings didnt stop, in fact, they became more pronounced. It seemed as if new warnings were revealed every day. I was then seeing things like 'dont use in the shower' on my hair dryer and 'Do not iron clothes on body'. Most of the warnings seemed fairly logical, like 'May irritate eyes' on a can of Pepper Spray. I could see where it made sense not to do those things. I remember at about that time I became aware of a whole new genre of comedic jokes cropping up because of them. I also remember that it seemed to stem from a lawsuit against a fast food chain.
As I moved on to Adult/Mother-hood I started seeing warnings that I never thought I would see. On the umbrella stroller we purchased I was urged to remove my child BEFORE folding for storage. I was also made aware that the Superman costume I got for my son DID NOT enable him to fly. Sure, I was a little disappointed by that one, but I suppose I had to see it coming.
Most recently I was packing lunch for my kids and I noticed a label on the box of fruit snacks I had selected. It said "Keep Kids Safe! To avoid choking, give fruit flavored snacks only to those children who can easily swallow chewy foods." That seemed a little obvious, but understanding that companies would rather state the obvious than be slapped with a law suit justifies the blatancy. It was the last sentence on the tiny square of warning that really caught my attention though. It seemed to go beyond the obligatory 'use your brain people' and reach into the 'hey, and while we're at it, here's some advice' category. It said, "Children should be seated and supervised while eating"
Naturally I mentally recounted all of the moments where my children were not seated while eating (I couldn't recall any time when they were not supervised, as I was not there supervising) and thought about sending myself into a spiral of guilt for letting my children wander about while eating. Then I saw my daughter rush through the kitchen with a pop tart in her mouth looking for her other sock, followed by my husband zipping past me with a bagel in hand announcing that he was late before hastening out the door. I mentally made a note to share with them the bit of advice I had gleaned from Betty Crocker so that next time they zip around with food in their mouths I can say "Don't come crying to me when you choke on your food because you were neither seated nor supervised!"
I think I might take up the practice by adding my own advice to warnings the I see from now on, kind of like how my husband tacks his own saying to the end of fortunes from cookies. So, next time I see the warning 'May cause drowsiness' I might say something like 'Sleeping should be performed in a dark, quiet space'.
4 years ago