BACK TO PAGE TWENTY-ONE
COFFEEHOUSE CULTURE -- Issue 2
PAGE TWENTY-ONE; FEATURE (Part One)
From the land where IQ is a short Japanese poem, we bring you
Increased self-esteem, feelings of superiority, more self-satisfaction, the selfish joy of bad things happening to other people. Yes, join us in the Smugness Zone as we pay tribute to that most wonderful of human attributes -- intelligence.
To err is human, to Doh! is Homer Simpson and to screw-up completely gets you a spot in Cunning Stunts. You just cant win.
As we scale the slopes of technological development and intellectual endeavour, as we bend and shape the laws of nature to our own design, as we demonstrate our position at the top of the evolutionary tree (by hanging on by our opposing thumbs), isn't it nice to be reminded that we are but human? It may be no more than a statement of fact but it is the best excuse we have
THE DARWIN AWARDS --
..................FOR THE DEAD SUCCESSFUL
Named after Charles Darwin, the inventor of evolution, the Darwin Awards are like no other award scheme --- ever. Known as The Tossers Oscars, the Darwin Awards are the Golden Globes of stupidity, ineptitude and sheer bad luck. Presented annually to those who made their contribution to world evolution by removing themselves from the gene pool in the most spectacularly stupid fashion, the Darwin Awards are the world's first acknowledgement of the unsuspecting pioneers of euthanasia who have led the race to top themselves before it is even legal. Although the nominees never get to see their awards -- they are, of course, awarded posthumously -- many cannot resist the lure of fame, fortune and a funeral.
...Death comes creeping, leaping, sneaking, falling on you from a high place but it comes. In the case of Philippino plane highjacker, Augusto, it was the last one that got him. Boarding a flight in Davao City heading for Manila, Augusto thought he had a cunning scam lined up. When the aircraft was in the air, he donned a ski mask and swimming goggles, produced a gun and a hand grenade and implemented his plan. He demanded that the aircraft return to Davao City but the pilots convinced him that there was insufficient fuel. Undaunted he robbed the passengers of around $25,000 worth of money and trinkets. He then demanded that the pilots take the plane down to an altitude of 6,500 feet. When the correct altitude was reached, Augusto strapped on a home-made parachute and demanded that the flight attendants open the door and depressurise the cabin. So far so good but -- oh dear -- here comes the first hitch: the wind was so strong that he could not launch himself from the open door. It took the push of an accommodating flight attendant to get him on his way. As he left, he removed the pin from the grenade and tossed it into the cabin. Ooopps! Hitch number two. With the business end of the grenade still in his hands, he could not open his parachute. As he plummeted towards the earth he had the good sense to toss the grenade but his parachute was a lost cause; he was moving too fast for it to have any effect. Augusto was one of the winners of the 2000 Awards.
...Death by air came, also, to three cheeky Brazilians. The three Brazilian men were flying in a light aircraft at low altitude when another plane approached. It appears that they decided to moon the occupants of the other plane, but lost control of their own aircraft and crashed. They were all found dead in the wreckage with their pants around their ankles.
...Drugs kill, and thats the truuuuth!. They certainly killed off a couple of other winners of the Darwin Awards in the year 2000. It was a hot night in South Carolina and Patricia and her boyfriend had been partying on marijuana and booze. Deciding they needed a little fresh air they climbed onto the roof of the inn in which they had a room. Taking pillows and blankets with them, they hopped over a guard rail and bedded down under the stars. Apparently Patricia was sound asleep when, just before dawn, she slid off the roof and fell to her death on the street below. When the police arrived, they found the boyfriend still sleeping on the roof. He lost his early morning erection when they told him the news.
...It was January in Ohio and the mercury was way down when the Los Angeles Police Department got in touch with the state police to seek their assistance in locating a missing truck driver and his load of broccoli. When the stalled truck was found four days later with an empty gas tank, there was no sign of the driver. When the truck had been thawed out and refuelled, it was found to have no mechanical problems. But the whereabouts of the driver remained a problem. The police were particularly keen to return his personal effects to him but probably not the seven bricks of marijuana that were among them. It was only when they started to move the load of broccoli they found him. As the pallets of broccoli were removed, they revealed two feet. When the rest of the pallets were removed into the freezing Ohio winter, the drivers body was revealed. He was standing upside down like a human popsicle in middle of the truck attached to the floor by his frozen hair. Although it took a number of space heaters before he could be detached from the floor, the still frozen corpse had to be turned on its side to get it into the rescue vehicle due to a icy arm that wouldnt fit in the door. Further examination of the pallets of broccoli revealed a stash of cocaine. It seems that the driver was trying to retrieve the coke from among the pallets when he knocked himself unconscious and rapidly succumbed to hypothermia in the sub-zero temperatures.
...Although drugs might kill, as we all know (or ought to) it is guns and knives that do the real business. A gun certainly did it for our favourite Award winner of the year. It was in Houston, Texas that nineteen year-old, Rasheed, made his successful bid for a Darwin. Deciding he would impress his friends, he played Russian roulette -- with a semi-automatic pistol. He was not aware that a semi-automatic inserts a shell into the firing chamber when it is cocked.
...In Dover Township, New Jersey Andrew and his fiancée were living together with their six children when an argument erupted over chocolate cake icing. On 13 March, Andrew accused his ten-year-old son of taking the missing container, and the two became embroiled in a heated disagreement. Andrew took the boy out to the garage for a private discussion, and there the conversation became even more emotional. Then the man made his fatal mistake. He handed a five-inch kitchen knife to his angry son, and challenged the boy to stab him if he hated him so much. The boy put the knife down, but Andrew picked it up and placed it in his hand again. In the heat of the moment the outraged boy took him up on the offer and plunged the knife into his chest. Although he had offered his chest as a target, the deadly blow happened so fast that Andrew could not stop it. Pronounced dead at the Community Medical Centre, his last words were "Would you believe the kid did that?" The fourth grader, charged with manslaughter and illegal possession of a weapon, faces up to three years imprisonment. But Ocean County prosecutor E. David Millard said it was unlikely that he would serve jail time, as the boy had been provoked.
...Although guns and knives and drugs will do it, for most us it is something more prosaic that is gonna kill most of us -- work. Safety in the workplace is a fairly redundant phrase for our last two year 2000 Award winners. It is Maine in March and the owner of the Carrier Chipping Company was having problems with his largest chipping machine, affectionately known as The Hog. Designed to take logs up to 24 inches in diameter and reduce them to 3/4 chips in a matter of seconds, The Hog had had a bad day. And, with his employees working late to try to make up time lost during earlier machine malfunctions, it jammed again. Breaking all the safety rules, the owner climbed along the conveyor belt and used a rake to break up the jam in the chute. Unfortunately, he did not bother to turn off the giant machine before doing do. With the chute clear, the conveyor belt started to work and the owner was next up for chipping. After passing through the machine, the poor fellow was in such a pureed state that in order to get a positive ID they needed to test his DNA
...Probably one of the most meaningful safety videos ever was made by the owner of a machinery and equipment training school in Perth, Australia. The 52-year old trainer was filming a folklift safety video during which he violated a number of basic safety rules. Speeding over uneven terrain and not wearing his seat belt, the stunning climax of the video shows the trainer being thrown from the vehicle to his death. As safety demonstrations go, it was very successful
...Death in the workplace was one of the features of the 2001 Awards with one of the winners setting an explosive example of high level stupidity. An assistant plant manager of Blackridge Emulsions went out with a bang when he used an acetylene torch to cut a hole in a 10,000 gallon tank of asphalt emulsion to see how much was in there. His need was clearly desperate because his attention was twice drawn to the large warning on the sides of the tank stating that the contents were combustible but he chose to carry on regardless. The resulting explosion spread him (thinly) over an area 93 feet in diameter.
...Death does not have to be messy. It can be very neat and compact. Thus it was for Tennessee freshman, 19-year-old, Wesley. Hanging around a vacant library one night with seven of his friends, they thought they would liven up the evening by exiting the library via what
they thought was a laundry chute. Although library and laundry chute may start with the same letter they are very rarely found in the real world in close proximity to each other. That, however, did not occur to the students. First down was Wesley. He had a thrilling three storey slide before being crushed to death by the garbage compactor at the bottom of the chute. The other students decided not to follow him.
...One of the great rules that life has to teach us is learn from your mistakes (or, as in the case of the students above, from those of others.) It forgets, however, to add the phrase Or else at the end of the lesson. It would have been a good idea if Brandon, 21, had learnt the lesson. He was killed on his way to face charges of reckless driving, speeding and driving without a seat belt when he lost control of his vehicle. Crossing the centre reservation on Interstate 64 in Virginia, Brandons Hyundai collided with a truck pulling a flatbed trailer bearing three cars. Brandon was, once again, not wearing his seat belt and was thrown from the car to his death.
...Another poor learner was Justin of North Carolina. He had been in a coma for 18 days after a failure to wear his seat belt resulted in him being ejected from the window of his car when it crashed at 90 mph. He recovered but it was only a year later that he had a more successful attempt at doing away with himself. Travelling in a friends car, again minus seat belt, he must have had a distinct feeling of deja vu as he flew through the air for a second time. Thrown through the window when the vehicle careered off the road, this time the coma was permanent.
...More unusual in the car death arena was the demise of a California man who tried to stop his car running away down an incline on the edge of a reservoir near Fresno. Just like in the movies, he tried to stop the runaway vehicle physically, Unfortunately an irresistible force met a very moveable object. The car pushed the man ahead of it into the reservoir, pinning him beneath the water where he drowned.
...Fresnovians are not the only ones who can find their cars and themselves in deep water. When 32-year-old, Karla, fell asleep at the wheel of her BMW 328 and ended up in a canal, she didnt panic. She simply dialled 911 on her cell phone. Having explained her predicament to the operator, she was told to wind down her windows or open her door. She refused, saying: If I do that the water is going to come in! With that she hung up. It is a shame poor Karla was too arrogant to follow the advice she had been given. It would have saved her life. The first thing to do if you happen to find you and your car in water is to wind down the windows. Once the car is even slightly submerged, it becomes impossible to open the doors and the windows are the only escape route. It is important to act fast because the first thing the water hits is the cars electrical system, which powers the windows. Get there before the water does, is the first rule. Had she followed the advice, Karla, who was a strong swimmer, could have easily paddled to safety.
...Some have life-threatening situations thrust upon them and some . . . . well . . . you know. The Guinness Book of Records lists Baldwin Street in Dunedin, New Zealand as the steepest urban incline in the world. It was down this awesome slope that student Ana and a friend decided they would make their own bid for a place in the record book. And how would they do it? You guessed it -- in a two-wheeled rubbish bin. Climbing aboard their smelly vehicle, they launched themselves down the incline. Moving like a bat out of hell and making as much noise as Meatloaf (eating,) their bid for fame ended when the bin slammed into a trailer. Ana was killed instantly and her friend suffered severe head injuries. As it says in on the Darwin Awards web site: Their feat did not make it into the Guinness Book of Records as the top speed of a rubbish bin is unknown.
...And, finally, one from Egypt that had us all declaring: What the flock! Police were baffled when the body of a 20-year-old Bedouin shepherd, Mochtar, was found shot in the middle of the desert. The culprit was found to be one of his sheep and, of course, his own stupidly. He had fallen asleep with his guns safety catch off and one of his flock had trodden on the trigger. The sheep we are told, has been sentenced to ewethenasia.
BURNING BUSH --
No tribute to human intelligence would be complete without something about George Dubya Bush, President of the United States of America. Diplomat, humanitarian, peacemaker, social reformer and all round nice guy are among the many things we will not be saying about Mr Bush. He is a Texan, after all.
...Although some may regard George Dubya Bush as an imbecile and general dingbat we believe that the reverse is true. His intelligence is at such a high level that it is beyond our understanding. That so much of what he says seems to illiterate, inarticulate, uneducated, ill-informed, unknowledgeable, garbled or just plain stupid, is merely a ruse to lull us into a false sense of insecurity. So subtle is his game that few can see through it. And almost no one can see through it sufficiently to appreciate the wit, wisdom and wacky humour that underwrites his declarations. George Dubya Bush is no less than a cunning Moriarty who is lulling us into a false sense of paranoia by playing the fool.
...What we will be doing is giving credit where it is due. We shall certainly be giving him all the credit that is due to him for his massive contribution to the English language. Few have made a contribution in the field of creative language use as George Dubya. Few have taken the language further (into oblivion.) We will also be paying tribute to his fine and penetrating mind, his incisive wit and intellectual focus and his manful manipulation of the confusion factor. With a couple of pictures of Mr Bush at his best, we will wind-up this unrestrained tribute with a pictorial essay showing the contribution he has made in the field of primate research.
...It is quite hard to separate Mr Bushs wonderful use of language from his incredible ability not only to confuse but to appear confused himself. What is clear is the great contribution he has made to language in not only giving it some of its most alluring new words but also by using it in a creative and poetic fashion. Amazingly, until Mr Bush, such words as misunderestimated, uninalienable, embetterment, nuanced, subliminable, hopefuller and hispanically did not exist.
|."They misunderestimated me." Bentonville, Ark., Nov. 6, 2000
..."We hold dear what our Declaration of Independence says, that all have got uninalienable rights, endowed by a Creator." May 24, 2002, to community and religious leaders in.Moscow
..."The federal government and the state government must not fear programs who change lives, but must welcome those faith-based programs for the embetterment of mankind" .Stockton, Calif., Aug. 23, 2002
...You saw the president yesterday. I thought he was very forward-leaning, as they say in ...diplomatic nuanced circles." July 23, 2001, referring to his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin
..."I don't think we need to be subliminable about the differences .between our views on prescription drugs." Orlando, Fla., Sept. 12, 2000
..."The idea of putting subliminable messages into ads is ridiculous." Sept. 2000
..."I want it to be said that the Bush administration was a results.oriented administration, because I believe the results of focusing our attention and energy on teaching children to read and having an education system that's responsive to the child and to the parents, as opposed to mired in a system that refuses to change, will make America what we want it to be a more literate country and a hopefuller country." Jan. 11, 2001
..."A lot of times in the rhetoric, people forget the facts. And the facts .are that thousands of small businesses Hispanically owned or otherwise pay taxes at the highest marginal rate." March 19, 2001, speaking to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
.....While he has given us some new words he has taken away some from other languages: As Bush told UK Premier, Tony Blah, when they were discussing the decline of the French economy: The problem with the French is that they don't have a word for entrepreneur.
...It is, however, in his beautifully poetic use of existing words and in his consummate word play that G. Dubya really shines. Here are some examples:
|...."What I am against is quotas. I am against hard quotas, quotas they basically delineate based upon whatever. However they delineate, quotas, I think vulcanize society. So I don't know how that fits into what everybody else is saying, their relative positions, but that's my position.'' as quoted by Molly Ivins, the San Francisco Chronicle, Jan. 21, 2000
..."I thought how proud I am to be standing up beside my dad. Never did it occur to me that he would become the gist for cartoonists." Newsweek, Feb. 28, 2000
..."Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream." LaCrosse, Wis., Oct. 18, 2000
..."I am mindful not only of preserving executive powers for myself, but for my predecessors as well." Washington, D.C., Jan. 29, 2001
..."Well, I think if you say you're going to do something and don't do it, that's trustworthiness." in a CNN online chat, Aug. 30, 2000
..."It was just inebriating what Midland was all about then." reflecting in 1994 about growing up in Midland, Texas
..."There's no question that the minute I got elected, the storm clouds on the horizon were getting nearly directly overhead." May 11, 2001
..."Will the highwayson the Internet become more few?" Concord, N.H., Jan. 29, 2000
..."If the terriers and bariffs are torn down, this economy will grow." Jan. 2000
..."Our priorities is our faith." Greensboro, N.C., Oct. 10, 2000
..."I promise you I will listen to what has been said here, even though I wasn't here." speaking at the President's Economic Forum in Waco, Texas, Aug. 13, 2002
..."The fact that he relies on facts says things that are not factual .are going to undermine his campaign." speaking about Al Gore, .New York Times, March 4, 2000
..."Unfairly but truthfully, our party has been tagged as being against things. Anti-immigrant, for example. And we're not a party of anti-immigrants. Quite the opposite. We're a party that welcomes people." Cleveland, July 1, 2000
..."Laura and I are proud to call John and Michelle Engler our friends. I know you're proud to call him governor. What a good man the Englers are." Nov. 2000
..."The law I sign today directs new funds and new focus to the task of collecting vital intelligence on terrorist threats and on weapons of mass production." Washington, D.C., Nov. 27, 2002
..."One of the common denominators I have found is that expectations rise above that which is expected." Los Angeles, Sept. 27, 2000
..."There's no cave deep enough for America, or dark enough to hide." Oklahoma City, Aug. 29, 2002
...Redefining the role of the United States from enablers to keep the peace to enablers to keep the peace from peacekeepers is going to be an assignment." Jan. 14, 2001
...When Iraq is liberated, you will be treated, tried and persecuted as a war criminal." Washington, D.C., Jan. 22, 2003
..."I think we agree, the past is over." on his meeting with John McCain, Dallas Morning News, May 10, 2000
..."See, we love we love freedom. That's what they didn't understand. They hate things; we love things. They act out of hatred; we don't seek revenge, we seek justice out of love." Oklahoma City, Aug. 29, 2000
..As we said earlier, it is difficult to separate the wit from the wisdom and the confused from the confusion. The sparkling gem-like quality of G. Dubyas incisive and satiric wit sometimes gets muddied in what appears to be confusion or even stupidity. But do not be fooled, behind the bumbling and the stumbling it is a true fool that is doing the fooling.
|...."I couldn't imagine somebody like Osama bin Laden understanding the joy of Hanukkah." at a White House Menorah lighting ceremony, Washington, D.C., Dec. 10, 2001
..."You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test.'' Feb. 21, 2001
..."The most important job is not to be governor, or first lady in my case." Pella, Iowa, as quoted by the San Antonio Express-News, Jan. 30, 2000
..."It's clearly a budget. It's got a lot of numbers in it.".Reuters, May 5, 2000
..."I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully." Saginaw, Mich., Sept. 29, 2000
..."I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family." Greate Nashua, N.H. Chamber of Commerce, Jan. 27, 2000
..."They want the federal government controlling Social Security like it's some kind of federal program." Nov. 2, 2000
..."I was proud the other day when both Republicans and Democrats stood with me in the Rose Garden to announce their support for a clear statement of purpose: you disarm, or we will." speaking about Saddam Hussein, Manchester, N.H., Oct. 5, 2002
.....And that final pithy one-liner:
|....."It is white." when asked by a child in Britain what the White House was like, July 19, 2001
....Concentrating on the fun side of Mr Bush is all very well. It would, however, be remiss to ignore the more serious side of this world leader, senior statesman and (as he would probably say himself) roll model. As he steers the course of world affairs, it is vital that he is totally informed about international matters, has a complete grasp of the dynamics involved and has his fig biscuit on the pulse of national and world reaction.
|"Do you have blacks, too?" to Brazilian President Fernando Cardoso, Nov. 8, 2001
..."My trip to Asia begins here in Japan for an important reason. It begins here because for a century and a half now, America and Japan have formed one of the great and enduring alliances of modern times. (Except for during World War II) From that alliance has come an era of peace in the Pacific." (But not during World War II) Tokyo, Feb. 18, 2002
..."We spent a lot of time talking about Africa, as we should. Africa is a nation that suffers from incredible disease." at a news conference in Europe, June 14, 2001
..."I do remain confident in Linda. She'll make a fine labor secretary. From what I've read in the press accounts, she's perfectly qualified." commenting on Linda Chavez, Jan. 8, 2001
..."My administration has been calling upon all the leaders in the in the Middle East to do everything they can to stop the violence, to tell the different parties involved that peace will never happen." Crawford, Texas, Aug, 13, 2001
..."I understand that the unrest in the Middle East creates unrest throughout the region." Washington, D.C., March 13, 2002
...And where, you might ask, does this intellectual dynamo get his information -- apart from through the auspices of the US Intelligence Service?
|..."One of the great things about books is sometimes there are some fantastic pictures."
......Finally in this fulsome tribute, we must honour G. Dubyas greatest skill -- his ability to confuse. As you read the quotes below, it might seem like he is the one who is confused. Think again. It is you who is the confused one. Isnt it?
|"That's a chapter, the last chapter of the 20th, 20th, the 21st century that most of us would rather forget. The last chapter of the 20th century. This is the first chapter of the 21st century. "on the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Arlington Heights, Ill., Oct. 24, 2000
..."And so, in my State of the my State of the Union or state my speech to the nation, whatever you want to call it, speech to the nation I asked Americans to give 4,000 years 4,000 hours over the next the rest of your life of service to America. That's what I asked 4,000 hours." ...Bridgeport, Conn., April 9, 2002
..."I think the American people I hope the American I don't think, let me I hope the ...American people trust me." Washington, D.C., Dec. 18, 2002
..."I'm a patient man. And when I say I'm a patient man, I mean I'm a patient man. Nothing he [Saddam Hussein] has done has convinced me I'm confident the Secretary of Defense that he is the kind of fellow that is willing to forgo weapons of mass destruction, is willing to be a peaceful neighbour, that is will honour the people the Iraqi people of all stripes, will values human life. He hasn't convinced me, nor has he convinced my administration." Crawford, Texas, Aug. 21, 2002
...There's a lot of people in the Middle East who are desirous to get into the Mitchell process. And but first things first. The these terrorist acts and, you know, the responses have got to end in order for us to get the framework the groundwork not framework, the groundwork to discuss a framework for peace, to lay the all right." referring to former Sen. George Mitchell's report on Middle East peace, Crawford, Texas, Aug. 13, 2001
..."We are fully committed to working with both sides to bring the level of terror down to an acceptable level for both." after a meeting with congressional leaders, Washington, D.C., Oct. 2, 2001
..."Well, it's an unimaginable honour to be the president during the Fourth of July of this country. It means what these words say, for starters. The great inalienable rights of our country. We're blessed with such values in America. And I it's I'm a proud man to be the nation based upon such wonderful values." visiting the Jefferson Memorial, Washington, D.C., July 2, 2001
..."But the true threats to stability and peace are these nations that are not very transparent, that hide behind thethat don't let people in to take a look and see what they're up to. They're very kind of authoritarian regimes. The true threat is whether or not one of these people.decide, .peak.of anger,.try to hold us hostage, ourselves; the Israelis, for example, to whom we'll defend, offer our defenses; the South Koreans." in a media roundtable discussion, March 13, 2001
..."If a person doesn't have the capacity that we all want that person to have, suspect hope is in the far distant future, if at all." May 22, 2001
.....What a man! What a giant of intellect. What a colossus of wit. What a master of confusion. But wait, hold hard and stop. What is behind the great statesmans Machiavellian manipulation of the world psyche? Is there a serious purpose behind his joshing and jokes, behind ...the confusion and tomfoolery? We can only conjecture. But even the cleverest mask must occasionally slip. Let us offer you, therefore, one last quote:
|...."If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier so...long as I'm the dictator." Dec 19, 2000
THE MIND OF MARKETING --
......................YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED
It is hard to know whether it is that marketing men are stupid and inept or have a highly developed -- if somewhat cynical -- sense of humour. Or maybe, and most probably, it is that, as with politicians, we get what we deserve. We are surrounded by communications from the wonderful world of marketing -- from the cornflakes boxes that we read over breakfast, to the posters in the bus shelter, to the ads that surround us everywhere, to a quiet night in watching TV -- we are constantly bombarded by the wit and wisdom of the marketing literati. Maybe that is why we love them so much.
...The late great philosopher (as we call comedians in this publication), Bill Hicks, used to stroll onto the stage, squint through the smoke of his cigarette into the audience and ask: Are there any marketing men in today? Almost invariably there would be one or two Yeah-hahs! from the audience. Go kill yourselves, Bill would say. The line always got a round of applause. Such is the high regard in which we hold those wonderful people in marketing. I mean, havent they given us so much? Where would the world be without them? Why our supermarkets would become mere shops rather than the psychological minefield of marketing techniques they have become. Yes, without marketing, we would have no pointless over-consumption, no wasting of the world resources, no mind-bending pocket-stretching advertising. Hmmm! A world without hype? How boring.
...This article, appearing as it does in Coffeehouse Cultures tribute to human intelligence, Cunning Stunts, is our tribute to the intelligence of both marketing men and those they serve. Clearly the marketing world, itself, has a very high regard for human intelligence. If you dont believe it you have only to pay a visit to the freezer cabinets in your local supermarket. Just take a look at any frozen food item. See those words: Serving suggestion? just under the picture on the packet. What the hell does that mean? Put it on a plate with a sprig of parsley? Gosh, never thought of that. No, no, silly, it doesnt mean that. It means that the plate and the sprig of parsley are not included in the packet.
...Packaging gives us so much understanding of the way in which the minds of marketing people work, it is creepy. And those user instructions can be a scream (or if from Ikea can provoke a scream.)
...The label on a gallon container of disinfectant for laboratory use called Hibitane reads Avoid contact with brain. Trepanning? Better to use Dettol.
...Some interesting instructions come with the Forever Friends cuddly bear, marketed in the UK: Please remove all clothing before giving this item to a child under 36 months. Is that bare? Or bear?
...It is never a bad thing to be explicit when offering user instructions to kids. Which is why the Kenner Toy Company, who produce a Batman Returns costume, state: Caution -- for play only. Cape does not enable user to fly. Aw shucks! We hear they are thinking about producing a batman Doesnt Return costume -- theyll just leave out the warning.
...Not just children, either. A PVC airbed by the Sevylor company is marketed with a warning slip stating: This item is not to be eaten. The question is: Why? Why is this bizarre warning included with this product? Surely, someone didnt . . . .
...Particularly impressive are the instructions included with a strange product called Candle Sand. This consists of wax granules that can be placed in a container with a wick inserted and acts like . . . . well . . . a candle.
...Candle Sand is a candle, the instructions say, therefore:
...1) It is not at all a suitable thing for a child to play with.
...2) It should not be used in a flammable container, this includes plastic.
...3) It gets hot (after it has been lit).
...4) Although it floats on top of liquid, this liquid should not be flammable. You should not for instance light Candle Sand while it is floating in a glass of petrol even if you do want your dinner party to go with a bang.
...5) It should not be mixed with such substances as gunpowder.
...Oh, and finally, just in case you wondered, this product is not edible -- even when unlit.
...What is this thing with people wanting to put stuff in their mouths all the time, anyway? Okay, okay, we know. But was it really necessary for Woolworths to include a warning with their potted basil plants saying: Only eat the leaves and stems of this plant. Do not eat the roots or soil? That, however, is only the thin edge of the wedge (although cake shaped, wedges are not for human consumption.) The fact that my kids bubble bath Mr Bubbles had a notice on it saying Not intended for human consumption always bemused me a little but that is because I never encountered the lava lamp bearing the legend: 'Do not ingest.' Nor shopped at the US D-I-Y store, Home Depot, where their treated lumber is signed: Do not consume. Strangest of all, however, is the Do not eat on the Claymore Anti-Personnel Mine. Pie-shaped, or what?
...Stating what to most of us would seem to be obvious is one of the things that marketing does so well.
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