Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

Warning: May Contain Arrogance

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Indication number eighty-three that we inhabit a world full of mind-blowingly-idiotic people: the instructions that came with our iron included a warning not to iron clothes being worn at the time.

I can understand that you’re in a rush, mister; I fully appreciate that you find it more convenient not to remove the shirt you discovered was wrinkled only after you donned it. I, too, often discover only after putting on my jacket that it lacks a button, or the zipper doesn’t work, or there’s a huge spit-up stain still on the shoulder (or perhaps again, not still; it’s possible I got it cleaned already once the previous kid outgrew the need to share her partially digested milk, and the youngest child can claim full credit for the current mark). I, too, find it annoying to remove an already-applied garment for essential aesthetic adjustment.

But you don’t see me going to the seamstress and asking her to replace the zipper as I wear the jacket. You don’t see many people at all jumping into the dry cleaning machine with their clothes on, for some reason. You don’t see sane, intelligent adults climb into the washing machine because their clothes are dirty. Why, then, would it occur to you to apply a burning, steaming appliance to your person? Unless you’re a moron?

I could be mistaken here – and you’ll notice the subtle change of tone here, from mere shock to outright condescension, a clear indication that I feel somewhat disappointed in myself for believing, however briefly, that no one really needed to be told this – but all the humans with whom I am familiar have this thing all around the outside of their bodies called epithelial tissue that, when exposed to such high temperature, deforms, malfunctions terribly and hurts like hell.

I do know some people with surprisingly robust, tough skin. My grandmother, may she rest in peace, would determine whether the water in the kettle had boiled by touching the vessel with her bare hand. But even she would not leave her hand there for more than half a second (me, I leave my tea sitting around for a good five minutes before it’s no longer too damn hot to drink). Are you Iron Man? The Terminator? Masochistic?

I blame whichever lawyers successfully sued McDonald’s for the hot coffee that a customer so shrewdly spilled on herself, causing a bit of unpleasantness in the burn department. Somehow it became normal to expect the manufacturer of a product to anticipate the ways in which imbeciles might use that product inappropriately and come to harm. Somehow it occurred to everyone too late that the law can also be used inappropriately by imbeciles, even those with degrees in the field. Do we require lawyers to post warning signs over their doors to that effect? Must baseball cards be sold only with adequate advisories of papercut risks? Should milk cartons explicitly threaten prosecution of anyone who chucks a full one at people riding motorcycles? Should muscle car owners be required to display signs reading, “I am compensating for a certain physical shortcoming?”

Of course not. Some things are so obvious as not to need articulation. Or at least they should be. Now if you’ll excuse me, I think my toast is ready. Let me just reach up out of the bath to get it…


Written by Thag

November 7, 2010 at 10:05 pm

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