Are we learning anything here?

By Steve Estes

Strictly Drivel by Steve Estes

Just some thoughts on what passes for television commercials these days.

Do you personally know anyone who would ride a grocery cart through an insurance office under any circumstances?

Do you personally know anyone who would carry an exercise bike into a bar to burn off the calories taken in by imbibing the alcohol served there?

Do you personally know anyone who would turn down a sexy lady because their phone download hadn’t yet completed?

Do you personally know anyone who would allow himself/herself to be slapped in the face just to avoid picking up a favorite snack?

Do you personally know anyone who would allow a complete stranger to sit on their couch and watch a ball game because it used to be his lucky chair?

With that out of the way….

Creative is a billboard I saw recently with a beer bottle lying sideways on a beach, inches from a lime and the heading “Separation Anxiety.”

Creative is a dog that turns its nose up at any food but the one being advertised. Unbelievable, but creative.

Creative is a traveler researching rooms in real time with hotel-installed cameras and finding more than they bargained for.

With that out of the way….

I am completely turned off by the new plethora of reality television shows. I don’t care about the love life of two over-paid celebrities.

I don’t care about the trials and tribulations of a couple of repo guys quizzing some unlucky, unemployed, down-on-his-luck guy for the chance to keep his car.

I don’t care about the latest fashions for Twiggy wannabes.

With that out of the way….

I have recently been amazed again by the ridiculous warning labels we force manufacturers to put on seemingly simple devices to keep those with the attention span of a gnat from injuring themselves from sheer stupidity.

I was helping load a rental truck recently and there was a warning label just inside the rear door that informed folks there was no hand grip on that side and serious injury could occur by trying to mount the truck on that side.

On the bottom of the door rail was a warning label that urged users to remove body parts from the path of the door before closing the door.

I saw a portable table saw the other day with a warning label that cautioned users not to turn on the saw while reaching across the blade. I don’t personally know anyone with arms that long to even try.

I saw a chain saw with a warning label not to use the device on the genitals. I don’t think I need to say more about this one.

I actually once saw a warning label on a personal watercraft, that could only be read if you were hanging off the back in an upside down position, warning users that the exhaust could cause personal injury to soft body parts. You had to have your head hanging in front of the exhaust to read the warning label. A little late for the warning at that point.

I always get a chuckle at community pools when I see the words NO DIVING etched into the concrete at a section that is two feet deep. I’m not sure what brainiac tried that one to force that particular warning, but someone had to at some point.

With that out of the way…..

I have to marvel at the planning that goes into road signs. I was traveling a rural road recently and came upon a sign warning of a sharp curve ahead. The only problem was that the sign was halfway through the aforementioned curve.

And then there are the stop signs, right here in Monroe County, that are 20 feet back from the actual intersection. We all know the ones. You must stop on the designated line, but you can’t see around the intersection because you’re so far back. You are forced to either stop twice or simply gun the gas and shoot out into traffic. Prudence would dictate the former, but there’s a reason for warning labels.

And then there’s one of my all-time favorites, the warning etched into the blade of a common kitchen knife, “Caution: Sharp object.” That was etched right next to the Made in the USA logo.

And I guess that’s where this is going….

Someone, somewhere actually did all those things to force the manufacturers or operators to place those warning labels where they are.

If there is life on other planets, and the timeline in the “Star Trek” universe is anywhere close to real, the folks watching our development have got to wonder if we’ll ever be smart enough to join the ranks of the enlightened in the galaxy.

Because when you consider the mental acuity of the developers of the television commercials with the mental acuity of the reality show developers with the mental acuity of the users of various products and services and the mental acuity of sign location planners, a truly sentient race would be hard pressed to even consider us worth the effort of first contact.

But that’s OK because somewhere some bright person is making a killing manufacturing warning labels for the mentally or attention-span challenged.

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