Saturday, April 4, 2009

Warning! Labels!

This afternoon, as I went out to cut up some firewood, I noticed an odd thing.

It wasn’t the fact that in the early 21st century, my family still warms itself around a wood fire. As far as I’m concerned, fire is an integral part of the human heritage. Computers and modems are all very well, but you really know you’re civilized when you can tame your own fire, I say. Now, if only I could chip a proper flint spearhead.

Nor was it the fact that I was personally cutting my own firewood. Being a Housebound Husband, there are limited opportunities to exercise my traditional male machismo. I don't drive a sports car. I don’t bring home a testosterone-enhancing paycheque. I don’t even like watching the Bathurst 1000 on the choob. But I do like to chop my own wood.

Anyway, what I noticed was the printed warning on the side of my $20 Chickenfeed axe. Wear Protective Goggles, it declared. And fair enough, I thought. It’s no fun getting woodchips in the eyes.

But then, as I was pulling the corroded elastic over my head, I thought: why am I obeying a stupid Chinese-made axe handle? Think about it. That warning doesn’t say "wear protective goggles to keep chips out of your eyes when chopping.” It just says “wear protective goggles." It’s like George Bush: either you’re with us or against us! Wear protective goggles or else! That’s what it really means. It’s not really a friendly warning at all. It’s an insidious attempt to take control of your life!

There’s a lot of this stuff around the place lately. My wine bottles try to tell me to Enjoy Wine In Moderation. Where the hell is this Moderation place anyhow? Why should the wine there be better than the wine here? Can I get frequent-flyer miles for my trip to Moderation City? If Pain Persists, See Your Doctor. Not Meant As A Life Saving Device. Use Only Under Adult Supervision. It never stops!

If there’s one thing that still raises the primitive beast in the heart of a modern man, it’s getting ordered around by a bunch of consumer goods. Bad enough that doctors and psychologists and feminists have all come up with reasons why men shouldn’t do fun stuff any more — now we’re expected to obey our groceries?

I don’t think so. I mean — I REALLY don’t think so. In fact, I say that it’s time we men got tough with uppity household accessories. Concentrate that oven cleaner and inhale like Bill Clinton at a Free Marijuana rally. Use superglue to stick your eyelids to your forehead while you drive heavy machinery under the influence of antihistamines. Don’t just use the hair dryer in the shower: move the whole bloody laundry suite in there while you microwave the cat! Rise up, my brothers! You have nothing to lose but your no-claim bonus. We’re repressed enough already. Let’s throw off the tyranny of inanimate objects and live as free men once more!

While you’re doing that, I’m just going to duck down to the doctors’ surgery to see about getting this chunk of ironbark out of my eyeball.


  1. "Bad enough that doctors and psychologists and feminists have all come up with reasons why men shouldn’t do fun stuff any more — now we’re expected to obey our groceries?"

    Very, very funny, nearly pissed myself still chuckling. Too true.

  2. Its the antibacterials that get me, ads that tell me i should wipe everything before i touch it.

  3. I should clarify that, they get me in the way i want to go outside, get some duck poo and smear it all over my hands before i eat just to prove it won't kill me

  4. Just don't go stickin' your tongue in the freezer OK babe?

  5. " Use Only Under Adult Supervision"

    FH - it appears that your very own blog now has one of these labels too - I had to promise I was an adult to gain access!

    Well done FH - you must have managed to annoy a wowser or two.

  6. FIRE ( burney stuff) WICKED.

    "FIRE", as in Shoot at or discharge weapon..BETTER STILL!.

    Fire, as a result of "FIRE", from a weapon...TOP FUCKING SHIT!.

    And, BEESO, you will love this ADD, thats on at the moment. A four wheel drive is parked out front of a supermarket early A.M. S/Mkt opens and the young fella gets sent in ( they are tradies), he grabs the HOT, Hot cross buns and returns to back of UTE. Next shot is butter tub and blokes, when one says, Pass the Cutlery please. He then receives his small brickies Trowel, wipes it on his pants and proceeds to dip it in the butter and spread in on..WICKED, and FUCK THE GERMS I SAY!.

  7. Yeah, I've been a Bad Boy. Apparently some folks don't actually take that introductory paragraph about adult language and concepts to mean, you know... adult language and concepts.

    Havock: the man with the brickies' trowel speaks to my soul.

  8. that absolutely made my day, thanks HAVOCK

  9. Havock, there couldn't possibly be any germs in concrete - its highly alkaline.

  10. Risking being belted with soft blackberries.

    I reckon it was more about the steel flaking rather than timber splinters. Particularly so if it was of Chinese manufacure.

    Bangar should step in here but I'll have a go.
    An effective Quality Assurance process in metalurgy is very difficult & thus expensive. In order to maintain a consistant crystaline structure & alloy composition requires state of the art smelting kit the PRC just doesn't bother with for exported mass consumer market gear.
    It's much much easier for them to make it your problem to wear eye protection, than it is for them to make quality gear.
    If you want some pleasant sugarplum nighty-night stories - ask the Good Dr Flint about the proceedure for digging steel splinters out of eyes. Wire wheels on angle grinders are #1 culprit. urgh!

    Oh and I'm with you - I'd like a weekend at moderation, seems like a fun spot.

  11. Its linked to the decline in good sense of the average person.

    Like you refer to above the hair dryer in our change room also carries the warning - "do not use in shower or bath" I had hoped this was a spark (pardon the pun) of humor by some factory working in some nameless prison labor camp but I fear that it is becasue some one tried to use it in while in close proximty to water.

    The more pertinet question is why are we trying to prevent people of this level sense from killing themselves?

    I want to see warnings that frankly encourge the sort of person who obeys a stupid direction unthinkingly. A sign near a steep, unsteady rock face " Feel free to climb, nothing bad will happen"

    At an industrial site "if you wear protective gear you must be a wuss"

    or an announcement "please ignore the evactuation alarm, its probably just a drill"

    other suggestions welcome.

  12. If you like that Barnes you'll love this.

    Getting the rich to breed - In france rather than rewarding everyone with a plasma bonus to breed, the french work it this way. Take your household income, divide by occupants of that house, then tax that ammount. If you are on the dole that doesn't work out so good, but if you are earning 200K as a household with 3 kids, you get taxed on 68odd grand. Sweet as.

  13. Ah, they're all just there to avoid you suing them when you get hurt. If it makes you feel better they don't really care whether you get injured.

  14. Bit like claymores with the old "point towards enemy" logo, well you're not going to aim it at your own troops are you?

    Thansk mate you and Jenn have made my monday morning much more liveable

  15. Yeah, chopping wood is cool.

  16. N-Bob: that bit about getting steel out of eyes? Mme Flinthart has a couple of very high-power magnets, specially ordered off the Internet. They're amazingly strong. We use the spare to keep stuff firmly stuck to the fridge, but she's got one at work. Apparently it is Da Bomb when it comes to getting little bits of ferrous metal out of gooey eyeballish stuff.

  17. "Apparently it is Da Bomb when it comes to getting little bits of ferrous metal out of gooey eyeballish stuff.

    ...the temptation to stand on the otherside of someone holding the magent when it comes to removing said piece of metal would be almost overwhelming.
    Are these neodymium iron boron magnets made famous on the James Bond Myhtbusters special. Each magent capable of lifting about 150Kgs

  18. Don't think they're quite at that grade, Mr B. But pretty damned strong. They're cylindrical, about as long and thick as my little finger, and they'll heft 10kg easily.

    Speaking of Warning Signs For The Fucking Stupid: two from the US of A, courtesy of my crossing with Tom and Mick. The first was on the edge of the Grand Canyon, where the weathered, crumbling sandstone covered in fine, gritty pea gravel gives way to a 200m vertical drop and the erratic gusts of wind from all direction can easily top 50kph... "Do Not Approach The Edge".

    I didn't need that one, I assure you. Nor did I need the one in Yellowstone that said "Do Not Pat The Bison". Bison are fucknormous masses of muscular, angry, motile beef with attitude. Why the FUCK would I want to try to pat one? And why, oh why, even when sodding awful drunk, would I ever need a warning sign to keep me clear of the things?

    I'm with you, Barnes. Should be a sign at the gate to both parks: "The Natural World Contains A Number Of Hazards. Enter At Your Own Risk, Dickhead."

  19. Our clear favorite warning label is on a cheap inflatable drink holder for the pool. One that's clearly designed to take 4 stubbies with space for ice in the middle. It tells us to "Use only under competent supervision". Now, given this device is a frequent accomplice in our becoming somewhat incompetent, in the pool, we've often wondered aloud how we might achieve compliance on that count.

  20. The one in Yellowstone is there because some intrepid tourists from Australia said, "Aww, look at the big furry cow, that couldn't possibly be as dangerous as a box jellyfish now, can it mateAHHHHHHH RUN AWAY RUN AWAY RUN AWAY!" was a Japanese tourist who wanted a photo with one. It's also the Japanese tourists that fall into the Grand Canyon on a daily basis, trying to get a better picture.

    And I'm being completely serious.