Last Updated on 2021-10-19 by Joop Beris
A wise man once said that the sum of intelligence in the world is a constant, while the human population is growing. The more I look around and see or hear things, the more I’m convinced he may have been on to something with that statement. Everywhere you look, it seems like people are just getting dumber.
Example? Okay. I own one of those electric shavers that you are supposed to rinse under hot water after you’ve finished shaving. The manual says that you should use water which is as hot as possible. After that, in bold print, it says: “Attention! Hot water can cause severe burns“. It seems to me that if you are old enough to shave, you are old enough to know that hot water can cause burns. After all, it is hot water?
Another example since I am writing this anyway. You buy a chef’s knife, one of those 25cm long, sharp, stainless steel ones. The instructions include this sentence: “Warning! Knives are dangerous. Keep away from children.” You use this knife to cut through meat and what not. It should be obvious you don’t leave it where children can get it. People who allow their children to play with 25cm long knives aren’t parents. It seems ridiculous that nowadays, we should add warnings and labels to everything. People used to have this thing called “common sense” which meant it wasn’t necessary to add warning labels to everything. Everybody knew that hot water was dangerous. If children so much as looked at a knife, they’d be punished. My parent’s were brilliant! Without the aid of warning labels and manuals, they figured out to put detergents and other household chemicals on the top shelf, where us kids couldn’t reach them. Nobody had to explain to them in a condescending bit of writing that some things are better kept away from children. Brilliant!
Yes, of course I know that these days we are required to put warnings on everything because of lawsuits and shady lawyers eager to make a quick profit out of situations. “Look Your Honor, it wasn’t mentioned anywhere that hot water is dangerous. Burnt my entire hand, it did!“
“How am I supposed to know that children shouldn’t play with knives? Three fingers gone and it’s all the manufacturer’s fault.”
It’s just strange that people who are too dumb to realise that hot water is hot, are clever enough to hire a lawyer. What should happen to these people? I vote they be locked up, for self protection of course. If you are such a menace to yourself and others, you shouldn’t roam the streets freely. And if you start a lawsuit for burning your fingers while rinsing your shaver, you shouldn’t be rewarded with reparations. You should be fined for wasting the court’s time.
Where’s the limit?
There are products which should have warning labels, obviously. Chemicals, heavy machinery, power tools, yes. Should my keyboard have a label that says that some people believe it may be harmful to use a keyboard, though? Surely we have a crossed a line into the absurd somewhere. What’s next? A warning sticker on my car informing me that a car is potentially dangerous since it could run over people? A label on my pencil, warning me that I should not stick it into my eye? A sign above the kitchen sink stating that water causes drowning?
I propose that we remove all those common sense warnings from everything, make filing frivolous lawsuits punishable by stiff fines and let the problem sort itself out. Yes, that means a few dummies will die while attempting to put up the Christmas lights, a few more will kill themselves making toast in the bath tub and if we’re really fortunate, some will end their dim existence in such spectacular ways as to make the evening news. It’s called “evolution in action”.