2/17/2007

When I am King: Global Warning

When I am King...

Warning labels will be attached to everything.

Some people actually think that there are too many labels as it is, but I feel that “no extreme is too extreme” when it comes to safety. Fortunately for all of us, lawyers, class-action lawsuits, and juries made up of our peers have helped create a critical infrastructure of helpful warnings.

For example, some might complain that the “Caution: beverage may be hot!” label on a coffee cup might be obvious. But what if I'd never had coffee before, and didn't know it was hot? And what if I bought a cup because I thought it might be nice to pour over my head or in my lap? Thank goodness there's a label there to prevent the ensuing scalding torture.

Or how about the label on the top steps of ladders, “Caution: Do not step here”. Some might think this was something that everyone knew already. But what if I just got home from a rousing performance by Stomp and wanted to try my hands and feet at some of their dancing shenanigans? I'd go running up the ladder and - whoops! Good thing there was a label there for me to read so that I didn't hurt myself.

Or consider the hair dryer in the bathroom. It's a good thing that it has plenty of labels that say things like “Do not immerse in water!” and “Warn children of death by electric shock!” I'm positive that if I hadn't discussed this with my four year old, she would not now be experimenting with electricity and water, learning first-hand what she should and should not do with sinks and appliances.

My personal favorite is the label on the continuous towel dispenser in public restrooms that warns installers that “Failure to follow proper installation instructions may result in serious injury or death.” I can't imagine what horrible death by strangulation they have in mind, but fortunately that warning serves as a constant reminder that certain death is just one sanitary roll away.

These labels have obviously been great for our society, and have prevented countless deaths, dismemberments, and boo-boos so far. But they haven't gone far enough. There are so many ways in which we can still get injured in this world without ever knowing until it's too late.

My administration will make sure that labels are present anywhere that danger may lurk. For example:

Trees are natural causes of harm, and should be labeled as such:
  • Warning: Setting fire to this tree and standing under it may result in full-body scarring, unpleasant odors, and death
  • Warning: Attaching plaques to this tree may result in sap leakage onto fingers, which can reduce motor coordination, resulting in delayed response time, bodily harm, and death.

Surgeons are obvious dealers in death and destruction, and patients should be warned. There will be labels on surgeon masks that read:

  • Warning: This surgeon uses sharp and dangerous instruments that may result in serious injury or death.

Babies will have their own labels:

  • Warning: Shaking or dropping may cause serious injury or death

In fact, people are probably the largest causes of death on the planet. We will all need our own labels:

  • Warning: This person may be wielding dangerous items which could result in serious injury or death

Fruit can be dangerous when eaten improperly and will be required to bear this label:

  • Warning: Swallowing this fruit whole or sticking pieces of it in your eyes or up your nose may cause serious injury or death.

Finally, all labels will be required to have their own warnings:

  • Warning: reading this label while driving, operating heavey machinery, or juggling chainsaws may cause serious injury or death.

Warning: Reading the above article may result in serious injury or death.

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