Thursday, September 5, 2013

WARNING: There Are Lots of Warnings in This Warning

We went to dinner the other night.
As I unloaded my gaggle of children from the car and gave instructions on not stepping directly on my purse,
I reached for my keys to lock the door with the clicker and froze for a second.

Wait....

You're not supposed to do that anymore.
You know....
Because of the men.

The ones hiding just out of sight with the decoders who can steal your car's access code and then unlock your car when you're gone and steal it.
Now you're supposed to lock it from the inside.
It's safer.
It's true.
I read it online.

So I reached inside and locked it by hand.

Even though there is not one thing to steal in my van except ground up Pita Chips and a milk cup that, should you open it, would produce milk in its solid form.
Even though you can't even open the glove box anymore because there's something jammed inside.
And believe me - I've tried.
With Tessa's Fiskars.

As I walked away from the car, I thought about all the warnings I've been seeing lately.
All the shared and re-shared facebook posts about this evil and that evil.

I thought about the conversations I've been having lately with a friend of mine about anxiety.
She's going through it right now and I'm going through it,
well,
ALWAYS.
We bounce tips for getting through the day off of each other,
and applaud each other when we've fought the crowds at Target and not ended up huddled in the handicapped stall breathing into a paper bag.

It's no wonder people have so many anxieties now a day.
The world is one big warning label.

First there was the post I read about taking your keys with you to bed each night so that if there was an intruder, you could press the panic button on your clicker causing your car alarm to go off, alerting your neighbors, and hopefully scaring the intruder away.
That one didn't make me actually take the keys to bed,
but it did leave me laying awake at nights for awhile just contemplating break-ins and what I would do if there was one.
I wondered if Justin would actually use the tomahawk he keeps under the bed to protect me, or if he'd just toss it to me and run to the coat closet.
I can now honestly say that no intruder had better come here.
Kerri's got a plan and it involves several sharp things and a noise NO ONE wants to hear.

Next came the warnings about not taking pictures with your cell phone because of the GPS tracking in them and how predators could now figure out where you were when the picture was taken and track you and your family.
I switched my GPS to "off" and thought about buying some mace.
Which, weirdly, I noticed they sell at Office Depot right by the check-stand.


Then there are the food warnings.
Don't eat too much chicken!
It has arsenic!
Rice has arsenic!
Apple juice has arsenic!

The only thing that probably doesn't have arsenic is actual aresenic,
because nothing is made up of itself anymore.
And PS, don't eat corn.
Like, EVER.
That stuff will kill you AND the horse you rode in on.

Don't even get me started on McDonald's and their Goop Nuggets.
My kids asked just this week why they can't eat that anymore and I told them,
"Because I like you better alive."

So you think maybe you'll skip McDonald's for the kids and you'll just get a hot dog or something instead?
Nope.
Causes blood cancer.
It's been proven.

Then I read an article yesterday about some kids that got third degree burns from some chemical reaction they had because they climbed a lime tree after putting on sunscreen.
Now I'm nervous of two staples of summer time - citrus fruits and sun protection.

So now you're scared to eat ANYTHING, because everything you can think of has a health warning.

You envision yourself just moving far away and living off the grid.
Well.....Maybe with at least your iPad....
Just you and some close friends and a few chickens and seed starters gingerly placed in a biodegradable egg carton.
You pack up, excited for your new hippie beginnings.
"Hey, Hon, Did you pack the crystal deodorant?"
Check.
You stop for gas.
You've almost made it,
only to see the warning on the gas pump that you need to discharge static electricity on your door-frame to reduce explosion risk. I don't want to discharge ANYTHING on my door-frame, but -
EXPLOSION RISK?!
A warning which you can barely read because you're pumping gas at night or in the early morning before the sun comes up because you
"read online somewhere that that is the only time when the gas pump amount is accurate."
All other times you need to factor in ground temperature causing evaporation or some crap so that you're not paying for air.

At least that's how you remember it going.....

Maybe you'll call your friend and ask them what the article said again just to be sure...

Well you'd better do it on speaker, because cell phones cause brain tumors if you hold them too close to your head.

Then again, it'll be hard to tell if that is from the cell phone or that water bottle you've been drinking out of that you left in your car for two weeks.
Two hot, sunny weeks.
All those leaching plastics absorbing right into your spongy organs.

Now here we go on PLASTICS.

Then we have the warnings about keeping emergency supplies on-hand all the time.
Making sure we have adequate water in case of a crisis, etc.

People.
I hardly have positively edible items to pack in ONE kid's lunch every day, let alone 400 gallons of water just stacked waiting in my garage.
Even if I had 400 gallons, I wouldn't have room to put them.
I can barely pull the van in without scratching the sides on various used baby gear and a pyramid of half-full paint cans.

Or what about the pharmaceutical commercials for medications treating things like itchy scalp or dry skin that go on for three solid minutes because of the need to warn that they may cause stroke
or uncontrolled bleeding
or anal leakage
or personality disorders with thoughts of suicide.
Good grief!
I'll just scratch my head with a pencil, Thank you very much.

There is no hangnail that can justify oily discharge.

And as if the warnings are enough to give you a stress induced seizure, other PEOPLE are.

The other day I mentioned to a friend that Justin had had a headache for two days.
They asked me how his blood pressure was.
"It's great," I said.
"He has the blood pressure of a toddler."
"That's good," they said.
"Because I had a friend who had a bad headache and the next day they were dead of a brain aneurysm."

*blink* *blink*

Um....Thanks?
I'll keep an eye on his pulse.

*blink*

You think all these warnings are insane?
That we've gone overboard?
Well, apparently there are people out there who actually need
every
single
thing
written out for them in black and white.
They need the pillow tags.
After all, "They're there for a reason."

Without the warnings, these people would just go bumping into walls and walking into traffic.
They'd lick batteries.
They'd blow dry their hair while bathing thinking they'd be saving time.

As we speak, our mall's parking garage meter arm audibly states in a VERY loud manner,
"DO NOT WALK UNDER GATE ARM. DO NOT WALK UNDER GATE ARM."
All because some idiot walked under it one day, even though there was a 60 foot clearance on either side, as it was descending and got clocked in the head and later sued the mall because "they didn't know not to walk under it. No one had told them."

Let's see.....It's a 200 pound piece of moving metal.....

Seems pretty cut and dry, but maybe that's just me.

There was even an article about it in the paper.


And my daughter Chloe,
at almost seven years of age, has JUST gotten over her fear of escalators.
Why was she scared of escalators, you ask?
Because of this warning that is on elevators.
She thought the picture meant there would be fire on something that looked like stairs so you'd better run and run FAST.
Taking her to any place with a second story has been a nightmare for years.
Most of the family goes one way, and The Keeper of Chloe goes another.
We have to make plans for where to meet.

All of this has prompted me to make my own set of signs.
I think I'm going to post them all over town.
They will simply say,
"Use Your Brain. It's That Thing That Keeps Your Ears From Touching."

I'm going to put them everywhere.
At every four-way stop, at the very least.

It's no wonder our blood pressures are soaring and our pulses are racing.
Look what we have to contend with.

If the food's not killing us, the stress alone is.

I just wanted to watch a show and rotate my tight ankles while they were propped on the couch!
I didn't want to be panic dialing an on-call physician because that commercial convinced me I have liver disease.

I just wanted to take a trip to the mall where I could eat a flipping chicken bowl for lunch and browse at Sephora!
Now I'm probably dying of arsenic poisoning and absorbing toxic plastics through my skin from a Chanel sample.

I just wanted to not get bludgeoned in the night!
Now I have to trek back up the stairs to get my blasted keys that I forgot on my night stand, and I'm already late, and I HATE going back upstairs.

I just want to live in peace.
I want some occasional silence.
I want to sometimes smell the pages of an actual book.
I want to take pictures of my kids and not be worried I'm going to have to jack a foo' with a shiv later.
And mostly,
I want to not have to think about EVERY SINGLE MOVE I MAKE ALL THE TIME.

It's exhausting.

So how about another sign?
A STOP sign.

We have enough to worry about.

Let's all just take a lesson from Under the Tuscan Sun.
Let's ride a bike with a basket in the sun and buy some flowers we weren't planning on buying.
Let's lovingly dust something off while we do a wistful half-smile at nothing.
And let's all just STOP FREAKING OUT.

When I was younger, there was an old bum that used to sing "Que Sera Sera" at the local coffee shop's open mic every single week.
Only that.
One song, then he was done.
My friends and I made fun.
Now I see that maybe he was on to something.

Whatever will be will be.

EXHALE

Fear is not nearly as powerful as Living, so why is Living letting Fear win?

In summary:

More pictures of your cat,
Fewer links to Danger and Woe.







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